Have you ever wondered how to use Notion? While many apps aim to help us organize our time and boost productivity, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the number of apps available! What if we told you that there was one app that is able to streamline your tasks, notes, calendars, spreadsheets, and databases?
Notion was created to write simple text documents, take lecture notes, keep large knowledge bases, and even build Kanbans to help you manage complex projects. Understandably, Notion’s versatility makes it difficult to define its exact purpose in a few sentences.
To describe why this powerful planning and organizational platform is useful to so many people, this article outlines how to use Notion, productivity tips, setup recommendations, and much more!
Related: Discover the best Mac apps of 2023
What to Use Notion For
It’s a powerful all-in-one app that can help you organize your time, ideas, and notes in one place. You can also use use Notion to track your progress, organize projects to track your progress, organize projects, and even create mood boards for pitching ideas.
One of the first steps in this tutorial is designing your Notion app purpose. For better clarity, we divided its functions into three categories: Notion for personal use, students, and work.
Related: Already have Notion but not sure where to start? Check out Udemy’s Notion courses that increase productivity and organization!
How to Use Notion for Personal Life
You can use Notion to organize your personal life. Even if you’re not used to writing your daily tasks in planners, this app can help you track your schedule(s) and get a better understanding of your daily priorities.
Notion’s building blocks are especially useful here as they can help you:
- Track expenses
- Practice journaling
- Organize thoughts and ideas
- Create to-do lists
- Take notes when you’re on the go
How to Use Notion as a Student
As a student, you already know how important it is to organize your lessons and manage deadlines. Here are a few ways you can increase Notion’s productivity:
- Take detailed notes
- Set reminders
- Track progress on school projects
- Manage busy class schedules
- Create your own directories of links and lessons
How to Use Notion for Work
Using Notion for work can be super helpful as it helps you keep track of all the tasks that need to be completed. With Notion, you can catalog your work according to your specific needs. Here are a few easy ways to use Notion for work:
- Manage large projects
- Track goals
- Manage content created for work
- Create design systems that fit your current workflow
Why Does Notion Feel So Overwhelming?
Notion is a complex app that offers a wide range of possibilities for organizing tasks. However, when you visit Notion for the first time, all you can see is a blank page. It’s up to you to set up all of those mood boards, trackers, and pages — and that can feel like a major undertaking!
Before you start organizing your time and tasks, make a list of your main goals and visit the Notion template gallery to see how the app might help you achieve them.
How to Set up Notion
While Notion is quite easy to use, it’s a complex and versatile platform that might be difficult to master. That’s why we created this step-by-step guide to help you set it up properly from scratch.
1. Create an Account
You may do so on Notion’s website or sign up with the Google account saved on your device.
2. Download the App to Your Phone
Besides the web page, you can also use the Notion app from your mobile device besides the web page.
3. Install the Web Clipper Add-on
This add-on allows you to save internet content directly to your Notion pages.
4. Start Managing Tasks
Once you’ve logged in to the Notion app, you’ll see the home screen. This is where your task management and organization begins.
How to Use Notion in 2023
To use Notion to the fullest, you’ll need to learn about the many features that can help you manage complex tasks.
The sidebar (on the left side) contains the main pages of your workspace. The first time you open it, you’ll see a Notion template that assists new members in learning more about the platform.
In the sidebar, you’ll find Updates, Settings & Members, the Quick Finder, Updates, Trash, Import (for uploading files from your computer), and more. You can use the sidebar to navigate between the pages.
Notion is composed of blocks, which can be a text paragraph, image, calendar, or even a Kanban chart! This app allows you to add over 50 types of blocks that allow customization with color-coding, bolding, and underlining. There are also more block types being added all the time, including inserting Figma files, Google Maps, Framer prototypes, and even embedded files stored on OneDrive.
For every type of block, there are also properties that can be applied in order to distinguish them from your other blocks. For example, a text block can be bolded, underlined, italicized, colored, or highlighted.
The main Notion blocks used by most people include:
- Toggle lists
- To-do lists
- Embedded files (e.g., maps, videos, and audio)
Blocks can turn into pages and pages can turn into blocks. This makes Notion incredibly flexible and allows you to create a workspace out of thin air.
Every page on Notion has the same properties: titles, icons, and cover images. You can customize each of these properties to make navigation easier or turn each page into something else. For example, you can transform an item into a directory, table, or list. Notion also allows you to create a page within a page (also known as a subpage).
Note: Notion pages aren’t as flexible as blocks.
You can also create a database in Notion. In a nutshell, the database is a collection of pages where you can edit each item and store subpages. Thanks to a database’s customizable properties, it can be viewed in multiple ways:
- Table: This database layout allows you to see the items in the form of rows and columns.
- Timeline: Your items are sorted based on the date properties. Items can be seen by scrolling left to right.
- Board: Otherwise known as Kanban view, the board groups your Notion items based according to property. Move between the groups depending on the progress.
- List: This is one of the simplest layouts in Notion database views. It shows your items in the form of a long list that can be further customized using different properties.
- Gallery: If you have lots of images, this is the database view for you. The best thing about it is that it shows your items in the form of larger cards.
- Calendar: This layout showcases your items based on the date properties. View them in the form of a traditional calendar.
Notion keeps adding new features — expect the databases to keep getting better.
Notion’s hierarchical file system differentiates itself from other productivity apps. Notion’s file system has the power to create hyperlinks (that automatically adjust when pages are moved) and provides users with flexibility when it comes to task management. You can create folders out of files on Notion that can be completely independent.
One of the best things about Notion’s files? They can be turned into several folders that are completely independent of each other.
In Notion, you can also build wikis, an interactive knowledge base page where multiple users collaborate and create content. That means you might use Notion to create knowledge base tools for your users or even entire FAQ sections. While you could make a wiki from scratch, you can always download a template like the Product Wiki (above).
This is a relatively new option on Notion. In its simplest form, a toggle is a customizable block that houses other blocks. It can be compared to how dropdown menus work on regular web pages.
The are two types of modes on the toggle lists: active and inactive. Inactive toggle lists are hidden. Once you click on the list to activate it, it will appear again. This feature is especially useful for keeping a clean workspace and hiding certain things that you don’t need.
Tables are one of the best features of Notion, as they allow you to add different characteristics and properties, depending on what you need.
You can add multiple columns to the tables and different types of content, including:
- Multi- and single-selected tags
Manage tables using filters and sort buttons that help you control what you see on each table created in Notion.
Views present different ways to look at tables. Here, you can check out the data you’ve got in Notion in different ways, depending on what you need.
For now, the available view options in Notion are:
How Much Does Notion Cost?
A free Notion plan offers users a collaborative workspace (you can even invite up to 10 guests), useful integrations (e.g., Slack, GitHub), and basic page analytics.
The cheapest paid plan starts at $8 per user per month. It allows you unlimited blocks and file uploads for your teams (you can invite up to 100 guests!).
The next paid plan is $15 per month (per user) and offers a lot, including:
- Private team spaces
- Bulk PDF exports
- Advanced page analytics
- Up to 250 collaborating guests
- SAML SSO
Considering the fact that Notion integrates all of these features, these plans are much cheaper instead of paying each of them separately. For example, collaborative workspaces such as Trello cost around $17 for 250 users, and that doesn’t include page analytics, useful integrations, and PDF exports that Notion offers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Notion Worth Learning?
Whether you’re a content creator, entrepreneur, or student, learning Notion is one of the best ways to organize your time and tasks. With its forever-free plan, the app has so many different features that can help you manage your projects.
Is Notion Difficult to Use?
Notion is easy-to-use but complex to master, thanks to its many features. It’s just not simple to grasp all the possibilities at once.
The Bottom Line
Now you know how to set up Notion. It will take time to learn all of its features, but don’t worry: Learning how to use Notion pays off by helping you create the interface necessary for task management. From journaling to keeping to-do lists in one place, Notion is one of the best project management apps in 2023.
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Tamara is the social media manager and a writer for Productivity Spot. Her main areas of expertise include writing in-depth how-to articles, developing email campaigns, and social media management in the tech industry. She is also the social media manager for Spreadsheet Point, Hackr.io, and VentureKite, among others.