Notion is one of those productivity tools that kept coming up. Over the past year or so, I have had a dozen or more people rave about how much they love using it, how they feel more productive and organized, and how their lives would no longer be the same without it. Felt a touch dramatic to me…recently, I felt like I was running into a wall with my workday organization, collecting my thoughts into a single platform and finding them without the frustration of remembering where a specific note was. Roughly 3 months ago, I decided to try it, and nearly as soon as I began using it, I felt more productive. Maybe, not so dramatic?
There are a million different platforms for organizing notes, collaborating on projects, tracking tasks, etc. For one reason or another, I have always given up on them. Either because they felt too complex or they did not have all of the features I was looking for, leading me to create a patch job of multiple platforms. But thus far, my experience with Notion has been the opposite. I want to spend more time in the system, learn more about optimizing my workflow within its set of tools, and genuinely enjoy the tools it provides - not the least of which are the new AI tools, which are incredibly useful. Notion may not be the perfect solution, but it has become the platform I use the most throughout my day. If you are looking for a new way to organize your thoughts and optimize your workflow, here are some examples of how I use Notion.
Easy to get started
The Free version is wildly powerful
Once you use up your 20 credits the AI features will run you $10 p/m
The paid account, which offers more integration and collaborative features will run you. $10 per user p/m
Organization is easy and intuitive
Notion offers a bundle of great templates to help you get started, no matter what you are working on
The native AI integration is easy to access and incredibly useful
Just one more system to learn
Not really a knock on Notion, but let’s be honest there are a million system we all have to learn at this point and with all the latest innovations, this is just one more.
AI is still a bit unreliable
Again, not really on Notion. While AI is super useful, it can still give you whacky or just wrong answers. Always check the work before sharing.
Some of the more advanced and useful features, like creating project management pages can take a bit of time on Youtube to really get a grasp of. Good news, the offer a ton of templates and there are a number of content creators doing great work in this space.
⬇️In each section below, you will find links to videos with more detail ⬇️
AI Tools 👩💻
Notion's AI tools include the ability to categorize and tag content and suggest related content automatically. Here are some ways individuals can use these tools:
Automatically categorize notes and tasks: When creating notes or tasks, Notion's AI can automatically categorize them based on their content, making it easier to find and organize them later.
Suggest related content: Notion's AI can suggest related content based on the notes or tasks you're currently working on. This can help you find new resources or ideas you may not have considered.
Summarize: Notion does a fantastic job summarizing your notes or any other item you drop onto the page, including web links - this one was a revelation.
Essential Notion AI Features
Folder Structure 🗂️
Notion's file structure is highly customizable, allowing you to create pages and databases that fit your needs. Here are some ways individuals can use this feature:
Create a personal knowledge base: Use Notion to create a base with all the information you need to complete your work. This can include notes, resources, and other relevant information.
The big thing here is the folder structure. You can create an endless number of sub-folders. This translates to (in one use-case) a client folder. Underneath that, you will find the names of each client, and then project-specific pages under that. It sounds daunting, but the layout here makes it accessible and wildly practical.
Best Practices for an organized workspace in Notion
Other Elements 🖇️
Other elements of Notion can help increase productivity:
Code: Notion allows you to input and format your code according to whichever language you use. Sure, Github is the go-to for this, but keeping some code related to a specific project in the same location as your notes or other documents can be really helpful.
Collaboration: Notion's collaboration features make working with others on projects easy. Use the commenting feature to give feedback and discuss ideas with your colleagues.
Admittedly, this is a feature that we have not begun to utilize yet (for the most part). As any business person will know, it is frustrating to be asked to learn a new system constantly. For PATHe, we try to minimize any new systems until it gets to a point where it becomes necessary. This reduces frustration and friction. Will we eventually move to Notion as a company? Maybe. But I believe it is essential to factor in how each works. We try to give each individual the freedom to use the platform that works best for them (in some cases). At the moment, we use Asana for project management, both internal and external. We use Slack for communication and Google Workspaces for file storage, document creation, and collaboration.
Integrations: I have yet to push this. Whenever I am learning a new system or platform, I try to focus on whatever the task at hand is. Once I get the basics down, I will set aside time to dive deeper into the additional features and integrations that a platform offers. I have only just begun to scratch the surface of the many integrations that Notion has to offer (they can be a bit overwhelming at first glance).
7 Notion Integrations and Add-Ons
At the end of the day, any platform is just a tool to solve a problem or optimize your performance. Ask yourself, what problem are you trying to solve? What issues are you having with your current system? If the answer is nothing. Well, as they say, if it ain't broke,
don't fix it. But, if you are looking for a new solution to optimize your workflow, organize your notes and directly integrate AI tools into your daily processes, Notion is a great place to start.