The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Notion — Keep Productive (2023)

The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Notion — Keep Productive (1)

Notion is one of the fastest growing productivity applications right now, with users. It has amassed over 4M users at last count and this constantly grows each day, thanks to the flexible nature of Notion’s powerful databases, easy to use pages and speed improvements.

This is a guide to Notion and a full beginner’s overview of what you need to know.

Before we get started, quick resources that might help:

🎯 Discover Notion - here

Our Beginner Course - Notion Made Simple Course: ($39)

🏔 All Easlo Templates - find them all here (Free & Paid)

👩🏻‍💻 Advanced Notion Learning with Marie Poulin's Notion Mastery here

⚡️ Bulletproof 2 - Template: (use KEEPPRODUCTIVE for $50 off)

*Please note above links include affiliates.

✅ What is Notion?

  • Notion is an all-in-one workspace where you can write, plan, collaborate and get organized - it allows you to take notes, add tasks, manage projects & more.

  • Imagine a lego structure.

  • Notion provides the building blocks and you can create your own layouts and toolkit to get work done. Many people refer to Notion as an “internal wiki” allowing teams and individuals to plan their projects, work and goals.

This workspace allows you to write in a beautiful clean space, build your own personal wiki (with endless layers of content), plan using a kanban view, a calendar or a simple list view and last, but not least, to capture your workflows and record everything creating spreadsheets and databases. Notion works across all platforms including on Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, Web.

Notion offers team functionality for real-time collaboration and provides the ability for teams to share, comment and assign tasks and reminders. So as much as individuals and professionals can use Notion, so can teams.

✨ How does Notion work?

The official tagline reads "The all-in-one workspace for your notes, tasks, wikis, and databases." and it's totally true! Not surprisingly, people are comparing it to a mash-up of Google Docs, Evernote, Trello and Todoist.

  • Being able to do all these things using only one app is clearly a dream come true.

  • Notion works with blocks and they can be whatever you want: text, image, checklist, bullet points, code, you name it. You can easily write a sentence and then transform it in a stand-alone page or an entire database, the possibilities are (almost) endless.

The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Notion — Keep Productive (3)

If you're still not sure of what I'm talking about, just visit their homepage and test it live in the embedded demo page (no subscription required).

Think of Notion as similar to a box of Lego: you’ve got everything you need to make something — you just need to decide what it is you’ll create. You can either follow the example on the box, or create something for yourself.

(Source: Owen Williams)

⚡️ How to Use Notion

Notion has a multitude of blocks to use.

As we said, Notion is incredibly versatile and can be used for whatever you want, but the best way to get an idea of that is to see some examples of how people are using it.

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The first one is from my own account and it's a database I use to keep track of the episode show notes I write for the Tools They Use podcast. I love that, along with this spreadsheet view, I can also change it and filter it by year, for example, or easily change it to a calendar view, and so on.

Notion itself provides you with a lot of pre-made templates for different areas of your life, from meeting notes to personal goals. Also, the ability to share pages using a unique link makes the app usable even for those who don't have an account.

👩🏻‍💻 How Does Notion Works in Real Life?

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The following examples will show you how people use Notion in their day-to-day life. Twitter is the perfect platform to bring all of the amazing, wonderful ways to use Notion across their work and personal life.

I've just about moved my *entire* life into @NotionHQ.

— Ben Lang (@benln) August 28, 2018

This is a great example from Ben about how to apply Notion to personal and work based goals. A lot of his set-up is like a web-page, allowing him to see his planning stages, goals and daily routine items.

It works very well. I use it for rules, character sheets, session logs and just about everything. Players have access to whatever I share, and it pipes updates to a Slack channel we set up.

— Dave Snider (@enemykite) March 26, 2018

I'm aiming to finish my entire master's thesis on @NotionHQ - honestly so far it's been WAY easier for me to visualise my train of thoughts and organise my research. 💚

— 👋 Simone Wong (@simonewym) April 7, 2018

I've started taking some meeting notes in a @NotionHQ calendar view and it's basically the best thing ever. So much better than searching email threads for meeting notes/agendas/etc.

— Dave Rupert (@davatron5000) June 1, 2018

Look ma, @NotionHQ is helping me out with my wedding planning. 😍

— Rahul Chowdhury (@chowdhuryrahul) June 3, 2018

Here's a quick look at the video research/writing/production workflow I created in @NotionHQ yesterday:

The combination of a stellar templating engine + databases with multiple views (calendar, kanban, table) + Markdown is POWERFUL.

— Thomas Frank (@TomFrankly) June 10, 2018

at some point i'm going to be That Person™ and write a medium post about my ~personal productivity tricks~ with @NotionHQ because it's so damn good

— Jackie Luo (@jackiehluo) March 16, 2018

How Much is Notion Priced at?

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For more info on the plans and to compare all the features, be sure to visit their pricing page.

💸 Should I upgrade to Notion Paid?

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Notion offer both monthly and yearly pricing. At $4 per month, yearly is cheaper. But how do you know that you’re committed to Notion? Using the monthly $5 pricing might be best to get started with. These are some helpful tips for upgrading to Notion plans.

  • Is my Notion account static month to month?

Do you use Notion as a way to create internal wikis or checklists and rarely add to it on a monthly basis? Or when you do, it is very minor? If so, you might not need the paid plans. You could go on with the Free Plan until you see fit to upgrade.

  • How many blocks am I adding per month?

Getting a judge of how many blocks you add per month is the best way around using Notion. Maybe you add roughly 50 new blocks per month and have used 500 already. Then you’ll be out of blocks within a (too early for maths)… 12 months slot. This might give you time to explore and judge Notion.

  • Which tools does Notion replace?

Are you paying $5 per month for Trello, $5 for Pipeline, and $7.99 a month for Evernote? And does Notion replace one or both of these? You can look to pause both of those subscriptions, temporarily, to explore whether Notion’s paid plans are more suitable.

🔗 How to Connect Notion to External Apps

As of May 2021, Notion have released the Notion API in Public Beta allowing to connect to tools like Zapier, and services that have taken advantage of the Notion API - bringing all your data to databases, pages and more.

We’ve created a handy video with William Nutt to help you learn the Notion API in 2021.

[PLAYLIST] NOTION - The Fast Rising Workspace Software

Thank you to Alice for putting this together, she helped bring together a fantastic round-up of how Notion works here.

Francesco D'Alessio


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