Notion is the Best Among Note Taking Apps…
Why I’m Not Turning Back (Sorry, Evernote)
A few weeks ago, I complained on Instagram about how I was endlessly bouncing between note taking apps. After that post, I really wanted to nail down my answer. My favourite note taking app (of those I have tried) is Notion.
Google Docs, OneNote, Evernote, Google Keep, Trello — The list goes on. I was trying anything I came across. My college life was Google Docs based, my professional life is Microsoft Office focused. My InTakeCreate work, including upcoming work alongside work that will never see daylight, was spread around with a little bit everywhere.
While bouncing between note taking apps – and becoming unrealistically focused on productivity – I came across Thomas Frank on YouTube. In his videos, and on his blog, he promoted Notion as a productivity superpower of sorts. Further in my Watch Later playlist, Ali Abdaal was also pushing Notion. Sponsored or not, I’ll try a note taking app when I see a note taking app.
After working with it for a while, it is fairly easy to say…
Notion is the End All Be All of Note Taking Apps
It’s more than note taking, it is a database of notes, with endless possibilities, and deeply customizable setups.
A Database of Notes
I like writing poetry. By that, I mean I like thinking of one or two neat lines and starting a new Google Doc. I used a messy combination of Google Keep Notes and Google Docs for keeping track of scattered ideas and lonely poetry lines. The result of this is 0 published poems (outside of my own website), and an almost full Google Drive.
Oh, and a Google Keep page that is a complete disaster that I can barely look at without being overwhelmed with unfinished projects.
With Notion, you can link pieces and pages through various attributes. The closest way to explain it easily is a Database of Documents. Each one can be given tags, attributes, and values that can be filtered, sorted, and linked together.When you learn how to use these tools intertwined, and routinely, it becomes the super powered productivity tool that Thomas Frank told me about.
The elephant in the room here is that I love nerdy sorting tools, which is a huge head start for my judgement. Unfortunately for my wife, I am the first guy in the group to say “I can start a spreadsheet.”
“I haven’t felt like this since I learned Excel formulas.”
The Possibilities Are Endless
Notion makes me feel like a nerd again. Doing mighty tasks with ease, and feeling like you have tricks up your sleeve. Each ‘trick’ feels like unlocking another level of possibilities.
However, I almost gave up on Notion, thinking I was just spending too much time organizing it. While this could still be true, I think it is starting to become worth it. I have a clear path of tasks ahead of me each time I get an inkling of an idea.
It is very easy for me to be sucked away from my content, and into adding new sorting tricks to my Databases. The possible combination of tools is so intense that you have to continually refine your skill with it.
The possibilities scale with your skill.
How I Use Notion
I use Notion in 3 main ways. One for my job, one for InTakeCreate (and related, upcoming projects), and one for daily journals (aka brain dumps).
Sometime in the morning, I start a daily Journal entry. These are simple, time stamped passages entered as they come. Short bursts about literally anything in my brain. In the mornings, it can be a to-do list to ease my stress of the day. In the afternoon, it could be a dumb passage – that later turns into a Tweet, keeping me off of social medias.
On a rare occasion, these dumb entries can contain a golden nugget. If I brain dump a thought I want to expand on later, I create a new page under my InTakeCreate database. This page becomes a draft, where I dig into and rip apart the idea. If it passes my own judgement, it becomes linked to a “Project” entry under InTakeCreate.
For my job, I’ve created a quasi-ticketing system for IT Problems. It has a long way to go, but has already saved me in being able to look back to past occurrences of tech problems.
Notion is overpowered, and I learn something about its potential each time I use it. If I set myself to it, it can help me achieve peak productive output. Until then, I’ll pump out articles in a night when I feel slightly inspired.
Thank you for reading.