It's been some months now, and I'm comfortable writing this post about Notion.

I've been always a productivity geek and a "one-tool-fixes-all" dreamer, but I learned that in tech (and business), that's not usually what happens. Lots of companies and software tools are bought by bigger fish or ran out of cash.

Around 9 years ago, I started using Evernote for my notes. It evolved to use it to store business contacts, and finally for document scans (using the amazing app Scannable).

For different reasons which I'm not going to detail, Evernote has a great set of features but the apps simply don't expose them in a clean and clear way. The UI has stayed clumsy and it was very difficult to relate data I had in notes or notebooks.

I began trying out new apps in 2019 and some were quite promising. One Note, Bear, Notion and Dropbox Paper.

I was very impressed by Notion, but didn't understand all its concepts and especially what a page was.

Page in Notion, is something you can turn into a small quick note or a wiki for your team. Simply as that.

New page in Notion. 

It's a very powerful concept and at the same way very flexible. A page can also hold blocks of content. These can be a paragraph, a board (like a Trello board), a calendar o a to-do list.

From this, you can start with a simple setup and can evolve into a relational structure and full content dump of information from an informal meeting, up to formal processes from a company.

I've been using Notion for 9 months now, and I happily pay for it. It has become an important tool for planning and store information about the books and podcasts I consume, personal projects and even travel planning 🛫.

I've been happy with my setup but some months ago, I started digging into more for this tool. I realized there was a screencast every Friday with some Notion pro user, exposing personal setups for this tool. If anyone wants to see some real and serious usage, please watch them.

Another great resource that made my setup improved, was to start reading and knowing more about PARA. Even though this a more abstract system to organize digital information, it made total sense once applying it to Notion.

The improvement it created, is to avoid creating multiple notebooks or pages in this case. In Evernote, I often had the issue of creating more and more folders but the criteria for previously created ones didn't fit entirely my new content.

Another great thing was to attend a Notion meetup here in Vancouver. There were two great presenters, who shared their setup with attendees. I was shocked by how these two women were demoing the structure of their information. I came back fully motivated to give my space a facelift and keep improving how I dump thoughts and information (thanks Marie and Maria).

Learning more stuff about Notion.

My takeaways so far

  1. Notion feels like a simpler approach for taking notes and organizing data. Its UI is clean, light and simple. Overall, I feel there are fewer walls to get the most out of this tool.
  2. Notion is very powerful. You can use it for note-taking, create a wiki for your team, track progress and also share progress from project with a client.
  3. Notion has a free tier for 1,000 blocks of content. The paid tier for teams, provides a powerful member and external guest access to content.
  4. Notion still needs lots of improvement. We need offline notes, API for better integrations and so much more. I'm still a happy customer and will keep rooting for this tool.
  5. I've been starting to use Notion at TTT Studios with the team. So far so good. We're documenting meetings, informal decision-taking in projects, and documentation for clients. I can't get into conclusions now, but I'll share my experience once I get some learnings.