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Notion.io is my new favorite

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Posted by nathanb
Nov 1, 2018 at 11:13 PM

 

>Can someone tell me something that would encourage me to continue trying
>to master Notion? Is there a good set of tutorial videos somewhere on
>the web? I didn’t find any on the Notion website.
>

‘https://notionpages.com is the only Notion community I’m aware of.  It hasn’t been around very long but does seem to have good action.  It links to a facebook community page that is actually pretty lively.  I hate fb but find myself logging in once a week or so to scan that group’s posts and always pick up good tips. 

Notion themselves put out a pretty good twitter thread on how their database roll-up works https://twitter.com/NotionHQ/status/1042842519845781504 

This dude has put out a lot of solid videos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zti4m-cZuKo&feature=youtu.be .  Though he’s doing it to peddle a skilshare course (which may be quite worthwhile).  Also his stuff is a good overview of how pretty and organized you can make the pages look and gives good ideas on how different setups might look.  But he’s not doing anything creative at all (as far as I can tell) with the database functionality.  In fact there’s a few things he demonstrates as ‘dumb layouts’ that could have easily been cross-linked ‘smart layouts’ within notion. 

I remember seeing a really strong demonstration of someone using it the right way for project management but of course can’t find that link right now.  He made several dashboards showing filtered views of databases within a page which is the kind of thing notion is uniquely suited for.

A good example of how it offers a unique spin on things is including views of tables within a page of other stuff.  For example, I’ve always wanted to perfect some sort of unified ‘today’ list which includes stuff from task/project lists flagged scheduled for today, but also show daily checklist/routines/habits etc I’m trying to track and remind myself of.  With notion you can build a really slick daily/weekly control template with static areas of dumb checklists and stuff but also show a filtered view of one or several task/project databases which is a ‘live’ dashboard of a real database.

It’s great for reading notes since you can build a metadata-filled index of books/articles, but have unlimited deep notes capabilities to contain a reading log for each item.  You can then include a view of your reading/learning list that is flagged as ‘currently doing’ as a filtered view within a larger ‘life dashboard’.   

You can build a favorite quotes database.  Then you can embed those individual quotes (because they are a page AND a database item) within your reading notes. The one thing about this process that I think is holding notion back is that there isn’t an automatic ‘what links to here’ view.  The database item/page itself won’t tell you ‘hey I’m mentioned in all these places’.  You can make workarounds of course, like create a field to contain links to pages that mention that item.  But that is a manual process. 

Obviously this isn’t nearly as powerful as dedicated qda software.  I wouldn’t try to write a thesis with it.  It’s great for personal reading lists and any other ‘light database’ capability that can be embedded willy-nilly within a solid cross-platform note taker. 

My wife and I are house hunting right now and sharing a notion table for that is working really well. That way I can add a level of geekiness to it (it quantifies several subjective ranking categories in addition to other metadata) that she would normally be annoyed by because it usually requires a much clunkier interface.  But she has no issues adding items to this database or dealing with any part of it. Since you can add attachments, it can make for a pretty good special-purpose repository for things like receipts and manuals.  I wouldn’t use it as a general file repository since it’s too clunky for that.  I think it’d be great for shared shopping lists and as a recipe database. 

One big thing it’s missing on mobile is shortcuts to pages or any sort of ‘quick entry’ like you can do with most the task managers and evernote/onenote.  You mentioned some other ways that it’s ‘I/O’ is somewhat lacking and that is definitely a drawback.  That’s the main reason I’m not using it as my daily task manager right now.

BTW, I’ve read your connected text articles and they really helped me learn what can be done with knowledge-management software in the right hands.  By making several attempts, I have learned that I’m either too dumb or too undisciplined to be able to properly take advantage of the really geeky stuff.  So you are coming at this with much deeper skill-set.  I am curious if you’ll find a clever use for it that you aren’t already doing with something else. 

 


Posted by Mark
Nov 1, 2018 at 11:16 PM

 

I’ve been playing around with it the last few days too and haven’t formed a definitive opinion myself, but re printing: Did you try printing using the browser’s print functions? Worked for me. You don’t have to print to PDF.

 


Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Nov 2, 2018 at 06:09 PM

 

Nathan,

Thank you for the encouragement and suggestions for tutorials. I’ve found a couple of good resources for Notion tutorial videos (perhaps who you were referring to):

https://www.youtube.com/user/rebannford

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnYP1nUFONc8N6aemW-INdQ

I found these two presenters easier to follow than the guy you referred to. He seems to assume that viewers have a higher Notion IQ than I have.

Steve Z.

 


Posted by Reder
Nov 3, 2018 at 03:10 AM

 

Notion.so is the product I wanted to like but eventually decided not to use it. I found I spent too much time “organize” or “structure” the notes instead of focusing on note itself.

 


Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Nov 3, 2018 at 01:42 PM

 

Yes. I can see that.

I really want to like Notion. I admire the feature set, and the ambition of the developers.

But.

It is easier to build pages than it is to take notes. Also, getting information out of Notion in a useable format seems a real challenge.

I have found small annoyances, too. For example, I wanted to add a simple table to a page, with two columns: Date and Record. But Notion requires a “Title” column, which I have no need of.

The small issues will probably be ironed out, I imagine. But I also fear that Notion is doomed to fail. It is too complex for most people. I can’t imagine the difficulty of getting the whole company workforce comfortable using it. I’ve tried to get people on my board of directors to use collaboration software that is much easier than Notion, and had to abandon the effort.

I hope I am wrong about this. As I said, I admire the developers for coming up with a new paradigm. I do hope they succeed.

Steve Z.

Reder wrote:
Notion.so is the product I wanted to like but eventually decided not to
>use it. I found I spent too much time “organize” or
>“structure” the notes instead of focusing on note itself.

 


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