Is Notion any good? My thoughts after six months as a user.

It’s been about half a year since I wrote about the task-management, wiki, note-taking, life-management, all-in-one app Notion. At the time I was using it mainly for my numerous blogs and YouTube videos. At the time I was singing the praises of Notion.

But, as with any of my other reviews, I can only ever recommend a product if it passes the test of time. In this article I will be discussing my last six months as a user of Notion.

My love-hate relationship with Notion

In my time using it, I have developed what could be called a love-hate relationship with Notion. On the one hand, I use it almost daily to organize all of my blog posts and YouTube videos. It’s so much better and more efficient than using spreadsheets. Plus, this might not be important for you, but it is for me, I actually enjoy using Notion.

A kanban board for YouTube videos in Notion
One of my many Kanban boards in Notion

Every article and video gets a carefully crafted entry in one of my many databases and travels along the columns of one of the many Kanban boards as it develops from an idea to a finished product. I use Notion as a notebook to quickly jot down ideas, and I will later start fleshing them out in Notion itself. I will add links, quotes, images, you name it. It’s fair to say that I love actively using Notion. So, why would I say I hate some aspects of it?

Grow up, Notion

To say it in as few words as possible: Notion isn’t mature enough. My biggest bugbear is one which I share with many other power users. There is no offline functionality at all. Even though I barely work offline that does mean that my data would disappear were the company behind Notion to go bust. Notion desperately needs native apps and a fully working offline mode on all platforms.

Recently, every Notion user experiences an outage and at that point I think that every user came to realize how detrimental the online-only functionality can. As a Notion user, you’re currently far too reliant on Notion being a success and their servers being able to stay online.

For that reason alone, I would never recommend that any companies, no matter how large or small, use Notion. My work isn’t critical. Even if all my Notion data were to disappear I could pick things up again in a relatively short amount of time. But I would never even think of storing any important documents in Notion. It could potentially be gone instantly.

Notion data is Notion data

You can’t back up your Notion data, and it wouldn’t be possible to export Notion’s database and open it in an external application. Notion is its own thing, and you wouldn’t be able to recreate any of the databases without actually using the Notion application or web app.

Notion is buggy

Then there are the usual bugs and quirks which you will often find in young software. Sometimes the dialogue to upload an image to a Notion page won’t appear or a template just won’t load for no reason. There are many little annoyances when it comes to working in Notion. I can live with it but again, it does give me pause for though before giving it my full recommendation.

Basic features are missing in Notion

Finally, there’s the fact that Notion overcomplicates so many things. You can accomplish really complex things in Notion, which is great, but sometimes you might just want to create a table and not a full database.

I get the impression that those testing Notion are the same people who developed it. I’m not a gifted programmer and use Notion for rather simple things. And when I need to note down the times for when to insert b-roll into a video, a simple table with two or three columns would do.

My verdict after using Notion for six months

This article pretty much sums up my stance on Notion. Would I recommend it to anyone? Definitely not. You need to know what you’re letting yourself in to. I’m going to mention it once more: Never use Notion for anything you couldn’t live without. At the very least, keep backups of everything you plan on storing in Notion.

But if you’re like me and just really enjoy working with it, then sure, give it a go. Just don’t make yourself too reliant on it. Many start-ups fail or don’t find a buyer, and the same could happen to Notion at some point.

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