Notion. You may have heard the name from a friend or around social media. The productivity software is certainly a hot topic among professionals and habit enthusiasts alike. But if you’re not in the loop, it can be challenging to understand its benefits.
If your curiosity is piqued, and you want to know why it seems like everyone is using Notion, keep reading.
1. People Use Notion Because It’s Versatile
Notion is both a project management and note-taking software. The ability to write and add elements anywhere makes it one of the closest things to sketching your own to-do lists and trackers on paper.
Whether it’s for business or personal use, Notion’s limitless customization allows you to create pretty much any layout you want. But, unlike sketching your own system on paper, you can drag and drop to rearrange items on a page. Plus, you can easily add databases and database properties to your layouts, making them functional.
The name makes them seem kind of complex, but databases are simply layouts like tables and timelines. And database properties in Notion are simply roles you assign to empty fields within them. These properties help you establish the kinds of information you’d like to organize. They also keep your input consistent.
For instance, you want to use Notion as a budget tracker to keep tabs on your spending habits. To do so, you create a table database with the following database properties:
- Name—a default property. This is a text field that also creates a subpage for supporting notes. You'd use this to give the transaction a title, then click into it to add any memos.
- Number—a property formatted for numbers. You'd use this to mark the cost of each transaction. You can use the Calculate tab at the bottom of the table to show the total.
- Select—this property allows you to create a list of custom options to display one quick answer. You could use this for your spending categories, allowing you to filter them later.
In addition to these properties, Notion offers many more, such as:
- Status—to give you a quick overview of your overall workload.
- Multi-select—if you want a list of options with more than one answer—excellent for tagging.
- Text—to display quick or important notes on your database.
- Date—to set due dates and Notion reminders.
- Person—to assign tasks to others or note who to report to.
- Files and media—to share supporting documents or files.
- Contact information—for easy access to emails and phone numbers, especially handy if you’re using Notion as a CRM.
- Formulas—much like those you find in spreadsheet software like Sheets and Excel.
- Creation notes—automatic updates to show who created or edited an item in the database and when.
- Relations and rollups—these help you connect databases and share information between them.
2. People Use Notion Because It’s Robust
Whether you’re a big-picture thinker, you love organizing and analyzing the details, or both, Notion has you covered. Thanks to its high level of customization, you can make your layouts as minimal or robust as you’d like. Plus, you can include a variety of unique databases on the same page without changes to one reflecting another.
For example, when creating your spending tracker, you might want to include a layout to help you stay on top of your bills. That will look totally different, but it doesn’t mean you need to create a new page or link a bunch of them together in a dashboard.
All you need to do is select a blank area above or below your spending tracker and create a new database however you see fit. This makes the software easier to use because you can keep all related items on the same page without making unwanted changes to the rest.
Additionally, if you need a simple page with a single checklist or a place to collect and organize your notes in Notion, you can do that too.
You'll want to go in with a plan to avoid overwhelm with any project management software. Take a look at your current projects and processes to help determine your needs ahead of time—rather than getting lost in the software.
3. People Use Notion Because It’s Low or No Cost
You can basically do anything with Notion’s Free plan as long as you don’t intend on:
- Collaborating with more than ten people.
- Asking search engines to crawl your public pages.
- Using links that expire.
- Needing a ton of control over team spaces.
There are a few other limitations that Notion goes over in its pricing breakdown, but if you’re sticking to the software for personal use, you should be good to stay with the Free plan. That doesn’t mean you can’t use your free account to outline a workflow with your coworkers in Notion or create a project board. It simply means sticking with the same ten folks throughout your workspace.
Still, if you’re a highly collaborative user, and you find the limits put a damper on your teamwork, Notion offers two smaller plans between the Free personal account and the vast Enterprise account. The Plus account is an excellent solution for smaller groups to plan and work together without paying for a ton of extras you’re not likely to use.
4. People Use Notion Because It’s Pretty
Whether you favor dark mode or light, Notion’s minimal interface and color scheme is sleek and focused. Plus, no matter your skill level, it makes your layouts look tidy and organized as well.
What’s more, it offers everything you need to organize information and take notes, including:
- Simple text formatting.
- Icons and emojis.
- Media and embed blocks.
- Links and bookmarks.
- Databases include table, card, calendar, list, gallery, and timeline layouts.
- Background colors, quotes, and callouts.
There are many ways to color code and organize your work, and Notion does a lot of the work keeping things tidy for you.
Give Notion a Try
There are many reasons a lot of people are using Notion. It’s highly customizable, able to handle both big and small details, available at low or no cost, and helps you keep a clean and organized workspace. It’s also quick to learn and get the hang of.
The best way to get started is to dive right in. Find a tutorial for a page you’d like to build and get going.