I had never heard of the productivity app Notion before this week but a video with an enthustiastic user appeared on my YouTube timeline so I thought I would look into it a bit further.
What is it?
For my perspective, it looks like an all-in-one productiving app to replace many others that are on the market. It has calenders, wiki’s, databases, tables, task management, and a growing range of templates you can use on your pages. It is set up in a similar way to a website, I guess, you have your front page and create other pages that drill down to tools that are various aspects of your personal and working life. It’s like a GTD (Getting Things Done) app on acid.
Why are people raving about it?
The community that are on Notion are extremely exicted about this app, they share their setup on videos and screen dumps around the internet. They are like kinds in a candy store, that have never tasted chocolate before.
I suspect people love it because it is an all-in-one solution of tools they already use but in this case you can integrate your work from section to section. For example, in one section you can have a database of books you want to read but in another section a calendar bring in one of the fields, say title, to record that you have read it on a particular day.
What stage am I with it?
I am at the AARRRGGGHHH stage with it as it’s quite consuming when first getting into it.
- Created an account
- Installed Mac Desktop application
- Installed iPad version
- Setup some pages and structure
What are the negatives?
I am finding the following:
- When you create an account you basically have a blank sheet and don’t really know where to go from there. I hear it takes some people literally months to get to a place where they want to be with it.
- There isn’t much integration with external tools, and I mean APIs.
- There is a free account that has some limitations and most users will need to be on a subscription. The ‘personal subscription’ is only USD4.00 a month, not bad for what you get. However, I ask myself whether I want to get into another subscription, most people have enough of them already.
- Where my data is stored is extremely important. I have 2 cloud services and a web hosting provider all of whom I feel confident with. The data on Notion is placed on their server with no backup to your own cloud. I understand they use Amazon Web Services. You can export each page, one at a time, into PDF or csv format, but haven’t found a feature that can back up all your dataset.
- There are a couple of things in their Privacy Statement that made me a little bit nervous.
- There is always a chance that people will become bored of Notion when the next toy comes along. So, what is the longevitity of the company/app? Once your data has been input I don’t think I want to re-enter it somewhere else.
- I’m not that keen on the iPad app mainly due to responsive design, it has scalled down to look more like how the iPhone size screen might behave.
- Can it compete with the other tools I have? I use a CRM all the time, I love it, it’s structured and disciplined as I am. The CRM is on my web host and I control it’s development plus look/feel. As I test Notion out that is what I will most likely be comparing it to.
The best resources I found are YouTube videos of champions of the product.