August 29, 2019

The new cool project management tool: Notion review

The new cool project management tool: Notion review

This review originally appeared in the August 29, 2019 issue of The Content Technologist with the email subject line "Do content marketers buy tech?" and an essay on content marketer software purchasing behavior at national content conferences.

Speaking of not having the budget/time to look into new tech: Several readers have said they would love to use some of the tools I review, but they don’t have the budget or ability right now. So! Here’s some freemium goodness for you: the hella hyped Notion, with its $800M valuation and shabby chic interface.

Like collaboration app Slack, Notion is out to revolutionize how we work. They’ve even included a story about how their mission fits into the history of technology, which is… honestly a little precious, reductive and Great Man Theory of Silicon Valley for my liking, but I think about technology for a living. And the illos are cute!

At a glance: Notion

Notion is a project management app with note-taking abilities. It combines the drag-and-drop utility of Trello with Evernote’s scratchpad and a healthy dose of every other project management app you’ve ever used. It’s like a pastiche of features, from the Airtable templates to the Slack-like shortcuts. That doesn’t make it bad.

I’ve been using it for two weeks to manage my aforementioned hustle. At first I couldn’t see the difference between Notion and Evernote and was annoyed by the starter templates. I have eight task list apps. Seriously, I don’t have time or inclination to fill a detailed spreadsheet-like reading list or travel itinerary. But then…

I clicked through to the full template list and saw the promise! That content calendar! The roadmap! What a mood board! And a CRM! It’s like a database remixed with a notebook remixed with… well, the internet. It has art. It has craft. People who don’t understand software might not understand why it’s good, but that’s what makes it good.

If you’re in a place to try a new project management or organizational system, I’d recommend spending some time with Notion. It takes time to learn, but the shortcuts are sweet and the connections are deep.

Like a new Kendrick Lamar record, I know Notion is good. Really good. I want to keep spending time with it. And there’s more there with every listen.

I mean, it could be a flash in the pan. Microsoft may pick it up and ruin it. But for the moment Notion is worth a shot.


Project management


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