This review goes over what you need to know before using Notion and how it can streamline your work process. Learn more from our Notion review below.
Coordinating your team with an endless list of software systems is tedious. It wastes time and increases the likelihood of employees working in silos. So, using a tool like Notion makes sense. You can share knowledge, collaborate with team members, and track projects from one screen. This review covers everything you need to know about Notion. I’ll talk about my experiences with the tool, how it can empower your life, and if it’s worth your time.
What Is Notion?
Notion is a project management tool that places emphasis on collaboration. Founded by Ivan Zhao in 2012 while living in San Francisco, he noticed that it was almost impossible for teams to work towards goals together because it required several platforms and hours of management per day. This often led to siloed information, especially after a key employee left.
So, he founded Notion with the goal of making project and team management straightforward. A decade later, it’s safe to say he reached his goal because Notion offers everything you need for effective project management and knowledge sharing. Companies like Pixar, Spotify, Headspace, and Cornershop even use Notion to manage tasks. It’s available on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android devices.
Notion offers four pricing plans:
- The free personal plan
- Personal Pro costs $5 per month or $48 per year
- Team costs $10 per month or $96 per year
- Enterprise costs depend on your business needs
The free version is perfect for individuals looking to try Notion without spending money. Unlike other project planning software, Notion offers many features on their free plan. This includes:
- Unlimited pages and blocks
- Share projects and sprints with up to five guests
- Sync across unlimited devices
- Advanced application programming interface or API
- Real-time collaboration
If you’re a writer who’s looking to structure workflow over the next few days or weeks, you can do this with a free Notion plan.
If you need something more advanced, consider the Personal Pro plan. It’s similar to the free one, but it offers unlimited guests, file uploads, and 30-day version history.
But if you’re managing a team, sign up for the Notion Team plan. It offers the same features as the previous plans, but it makes management easy. You’ll find additional features like:
- Admin tools
- Permission groups
- Collaborative workspace
- Unlimited team members and docs
If you need controls and support to help manage a larger company, try the Enterprise plan. You won’t find a price on the Notion website. But if you contact the sales team, they’ll help develop a plan around your needs. It offers features like:
- SAML SSO
- Advanced security and control
- Early access to new features
- Custom contracts and invoicing
- Dedicated success management
- Bulk PDF export
This makes managing a company easier. You can track all projects on the collaborative dashboard and never miss a deadline again.
Who Is Notion For?
After using Notion to track my writing projects, I noticed it can benefit the lives of:
- Freelance writers
- Large businesses
Structuring your week is essential if you want to become a successful freelance writer. It allows you to complete client projects while marketing your writing services.
Doing this without a project management tool is tedious. But with Notion, you can create a few blocks for different projects. This way, you know what you must do for the day and approximately how long it’ll take.
Notion is designed for teams because it emphasizes collaboration. This is essential since knowledge sharing improves productivity and prevents siloed information. If you’re managing a team, Notion can help streamline work processes.
Invite all members so everyone can collaborate. Simply create sprints that help you reach a larger goal and track employees’ progress.
Team members can share any problems they face while helping each other find solutions. You’ll also gain insight into your team’s productivity and if you might need to hire additional employees.
A significant problem most businesses face when using project management software is scalability. Fortunately, Zhao created this platform to grow with your business. You can invite unlimited users and complete endless tasks. This makes tracking your team’s progress super easy, even if there are hundreds of team members.
Notion also understands that employees in large businesses sometimes struggle to find essential information. That’s why it offers a team wiki, allowing you to set up a centralized repository that your business can refer to.
If you’re using other apps, simply link them to your wiki because Notion is compatible with over 500 platforms.
How Does Notion Work?
Using Notion is straightforward. First, you’ll need to sign up for a free account. To do this, head over to Notion.so and sign up by email, Apple, or Google.
From here, Notion will ask a few questions that’ll help tailor your dashboard to your business needs.
Next, Notion walks you through a quick tutorial that’ll help you understand the platform. I suggest creating pages you’ll need. This could be:
- To-do list
- Content planner
- Monthly goals
- Habit tracker
Click the “New Page” icon in the bottom left-hand corner to create a page. You’ll find a list of different page types like table, board, list, gallery, and calendar. You’ll also need to give it a heading and choose an icon to make it easier to find later.
Now let’s look at some features that made my life easier.
Easy Note Taking
Notion works as a distraction-free writing tool. To take notes, click the “New Page” button in the bottom left corner and opt for a blank page. From here, record any creative ideas you’d like to share with others. Use the drag and drop feature to add video, picture, audio, and programming code.
For example, if you have a few new ideas for potential blog posts, jot down your ideas in Notion, and your content strategist will be able to see it. They can conduct SERP analysis and keyword research to see if it’s a practical topic idea.
Notion is also available on mobile and since it syncs across devices, you can take notes on your phone, and it’ll appear on your desktop.
Check out our Craft review.
Cross-Platform Task Management
With the cross-platform task manager, different departments can share knowledge with a click of a button which helps prevent siloed information.
But you can also create separate projects and folders for individual departments. This makes managing different teams and projects straightforward because you can track the progress of assignees.
Table View Database
Notion’s calendar view offers an efficient interface to store and format information. For example, if you have a content creation calendar, you can create different articles with deadlines and assign writers to each project.
Click on a row, and it’ll open as its own page, allowing you to edit deadlines, links, media, assignees, and status.
If you click the three buttons in the top right-hand corner, you’ll be able to hide or show specific properties. This is helpful if you have a lot of information on your table but only want to focus on some. For example, if you only want to view article titles, status, deadlines, and assignees, then all you have to do is disable the other properties.
Although Notion is a valuable tool for teams, businesses, and writers, there are a few areas I’d like to see Notion improve.
Areas For Improvement
Here are some areas for improvement I noticed when using Notion:
- It can be confusing for new users
- The mobile app is slow
It Can Be Confusing For New Users
When I first signed up for a free Notion account, I was confused and a little intimidated because I didn’t know where to start. Even with the help of a tutorial, there were so many options and features. There are icons for templates, sharing options, pages, tables, and tracking features on the left.
Although I started getting familiar with the interface soon after, it’s a bit advanced for new users. I’d like Notion to initially offer fewer options and features on their dashboard to help users get the hang of managing projects.
Once the user has the basics down, Notion can then start introducing more advanced features. If you’re looking for a simpler productivity app, consider Trello or Airtable.
The Mobile App Is Slow
The mobile app is helpful when I’m on the go and trying to jot down creative ideas. However, it isn’t fast. When you’re typing long walls of text or managing many sprints, the app tends to freeze. Sometimes the app randomly closes, and you’ll have to open it again. Luckily, you won’t face these problems with the web or desktop app.
I’d like to see Notion develop its mobile app to avoid lagging or crashing. This is annoying when you’re engaging with your team on iPad or iPhone. If you’re looking for a tool with a more responsive app that allows you to take notes, consider Evernote or Onenote.
Read our Evernote review.
Notion Review Criteria
When testing and reviewing Notion to see if it’s a valuable project management tool, I used the following criteria:
- Ease of use
- Valuable features
After using Notion to track my writing and editing projects, I feel it meets all these criteria.
Once you get through the initial learning curve, you’ll find it’s easy to use because all the features you need for project and knowledge management are on your dashboard. It’s also flexible since you can use it on all devices while accessing features like a team wiki and advanced workflows.
But the best part is, if you want to give it a try, you won’t have to pay anything. The free plan allows you to manage projects while inviting team members.
Why You Can Trust Me
As a freelance writer, I’m always experimenting with tools that help manage writing projects while improving productivity. What I liked about Notion when first signing up is that it offers everything I need to manage projects.
This includes templates, sharing features, advanced integrations with other tools, and quick knowledge sharing capabilities. These features help me manage future writing and editing projects so I never miss deadlines.
Since I also use other tools like Google Keep, Kanban Board, Asana, Google Docs, and Markdown, I found Notion super convenient because it integrates with all of them. I’ll definitely keep using Notion. Currently I’m not managing a team, but when I need editors and writers to help with projects in the future, I can simply send an invite via email and management becomes easier.
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Notion Review: The Bottom Line
If you’re a freelance writer looking for a free tool that allows you to manage writing projects from one screen, Notion is a must-have. It offers templates and management features that a lot of paid software from other brands don’t have, You’ll also find that Notion integrates with almost all your current tools, so you can collaborate across platforms.
- The collaboration tools save time and money
- It integrates with over 500 platforms
- You have endless Notion templates to choose from
- It’s easy to set up a knowledge base within notes
- You access many advanced features on the free plan
- It’s confusing for new users
- The mobile app is slow
- Notion’s offline mode is impractical