You’d think a service designed to improve your efficiency would be delightfully easy to embrace.

That is absolutely not the case with Notion. Notion, which bills itself as an “all-in-one workspace,” is about as overwhelming as can be at first glance. The app just does so many things that it’s damn-near impossible to know where to begin. And that makes it all too tempting to simply give up and walk away.

I should know: I’ve done that myself — a few times, in fact. I danced around the, erm, notion of using Notion for months before I ever actually dove in. Every time, I’d poke around a little, find myself nodding and making thoughtful “hm!” sounds with every intriguing new possibility I encountered (as one does), and then realizing I had no earthly idea what to do next.

Eventually, I figured something out: The key to getting started with Notion is forcing yourself to ignore all the different ways the service can be used — at least at first — and instead allowing yourself to focus on just one or two specific feats the app might be able to help you accomplish. If you do that, you’re bound to discover a spectacular new system for organizing info and keeping your team (or even just yourself!) on track. I know I did, and Notion has now evolved into an indispensable part of my professional toolbox.

So consider this your guide — not to the infinite-seeming intricacies Notion possesses but to a handful of worthwhile ways to wrap your head around the service and start putting it to good use.

(Notion is available on the web as well as in a native app form for both Windows and MacOS on the desktop and Android and iOS on mobile. The service is free for personal use, with an optional $4-a-month Pro plan upgrade, and $8 per user per month for teams.)

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