There’s nothing worse than getting lost in the maze of folders and subfolders that come with trying to keep your work organized. Are those graphics under “social media,” or are they buried deep within “projects”? Didn’t you already look over the applications folder? Or does this one have the same name? In very little time, you get turned around, confused, and lost down dead-ends. Your client names are in one folder, questions are in another, and contact information is in a third. You end up having so many tabs open that your computer’s fan is starting to sound like a jet-engine.
It doesn’t have to be this way, though! You don’t have to get lost in the maze. Apps like Notion offer a better way—a place to store the majority of your workflow, and navigate it all easily.
Used by brands as serious as the Wall Street Journal, as fun as Pixar, and as fast-working as McDonalds, Notion wants to help you transform your workflow. Can it really do all it claims? Let’s find out in this review of Notion!
What is Notion?
Notion is an all-in-one workspace for your notes, tasks, wikis, and databases. Based out of San Francisco, it was built to “empower every team.” With a massive array of customization, it allows you to see the timeline of different projects, store those meeting notes, or create onboarding processes (videos included!) for new hires. You can customize it to your needs—and have separate spaces for different parts of your team. Notion also links with over 500 other apps, so you can integrate all of your life into one place.
How Does Notion Work?
To sign up, all you need is an email address—though you can log in with your Google account or Apple account too. You’ll get a code sent to your inbox (always a combination of some unique and funny words), and you’re ready to go.
As you sign up, Notion wants to set you up for success—so they’ll ask you about the size of your business, and what department you are from. Their starter personal plan is always free, but they also offer a free trial of their business plan. As you start on the business plan, Notion will also give you a link, that you can easily email to the rest of your team, to let them automatically join you.
When you first see your dashboard, Notion offers a variety of custom-made templates for your department. You can jump right in using their job board, onboarding page, meeting notes page, and even home page. But Notion also offers an onboarding process for you to work through too.
Everything is organized into Workspaces. These are the largest folders—you can have separate ones for each department— that are shared with all your team, or private ones for your eyes only. Within those workspaces are individual pages. These can be in many different forms: from lists to timelines to calendars to more.
Lists are your default set-up of pages. You can click anywhere within them to start typing, and hit enter for a new line. Hit “/”, and a whole world of options open up. You can add text, or a sub-page, or a to-do list. You can format your page—adding headers, quotes, or changing colors and sizes of text. You can mention people almost anywhere (and they will get a notification when you do so), allowing you to assign tasks to people, or ask for advice and input. You can add references to other pages—so it’s always easy to find the information that you need.
While there are many checklist and to-do list apps out there, from Any.Do to Todoist, the amount of customization tools available for lists in Notion can set this app apart. Each item on these lists can be a page in and of itself. Within these pages, you then have another world of customization. You can indicate what department a task belongs to, start dates of tasks, include photos, or include statuses like “complete” or “in process.” You can also include more detailed information. You can add emails or phone numbers to a task, so it’s simple to make that connection, or include URLs to specific pages. You can make checklists within a task, to see everything that needs to be finished with it. You can even have more complicated customizations—using formulas (for budgeting or feedback trends), or having built-in connections to other pages that this one references.
List pages already have so much customization—but you have several other views at your disposal too. Timelines allow you to see the start and end of each task. You can drag and drop items to reschedule them—or drag one end of a task to lengthen or shorten its time. Each entry will open to its own page.
Calendars are another useful view. You can see exactly when things are due, or when you have appointments. Each entry on the calendar opens to its own page. Making a new entry is simple—just hover over a day, hit “+” and start typing out your tasks. Rescheduling is as simple as dragging and dropping to a new date.
Gallery is another fun view as well—it allows you to see images, along with some information. These are great for mood boards to inspire your team, or as a board for your branding standards.
But working together is all about working with your team. You can mention someone by using @theirname in almost any spot, from within a list to in a calendar. There are spaces to comment on every task, so you don’t have to dig through emails to find the relevant information. Notion also allows you to insert Google maps, docs, and other apps right into a page, so you can integrate even more things.
Is Notion Worth the Price?
Is Notion free? It can be—depending on your plan. Their basic personal plan is free—and gives you unlimited pages and blocks. You can even have up to five guests on it, and have 5MB of file storage. Their Personal Pro plan costs $5, and gives you unlimited guests, and file access. Their Business plan costs $8 a month, and gives you unlimited members, collaborative workspaces, and special admin tools as well.
But there’s lots of way to save money on Notion as well! If you’re a student with a school email address, use that to sign up, and you get access to Notion’s Personal Pro plan for free indefinitely.
Notion also lets you earn credit, that goes toward your plan’s price. It’s nothing hard—all you have to do is login for the first time, download the web app, log in on your device, or use the web clipper—and you get $5 credit for each. Each is automatically credited to your account. In this way, it takes minutes to earn 3-4 months for free.
Is Notion Safe?
“Is it secure?” is always an important question for any business. While Notion does have some encryption and security, it’s not end-to-end. This doesn’t affect much of your day-to-day activities—but you likely shouldn’t store payment information, or clients’ confidential information, on these boards. But Notion is good for what its built for—helping you organize your workflow within your team.
Conclusion: Can Notion Help You Stay Organized?
Notion is cheap, and infinitely customizable. For as much as a good hamburger, you can build timelines, onboarding processes, keep track of client needs, and collaborate with your team. That’s a good trade! While it does take a little time to see all that you can do with the platform, if you explore and play as you go along, you’ll be a pro in no time. Notion is great for a small business, for a student, or for your day-to-day life. Their free option is great for the individual, and their business plans can be adapted for marketing, construction businesses, or law firms.