Databases and the digital mind

For nearly a decade, Evernote has been the standard platform for note-taking, journalling, task management, and generally being your “second brain.” While it remains a very powerful application, the last few years have seen the arrival of competitors that put their own spin and dynamism on the same concept. Notion is one of the best.

Notion is genuinely difficult to describe, because it can do so many different things. At it’s most basic, Notion is a note-taking and journaling app. Its design is simple and intuitive, making it very easy to take good notes and have them all stored in an easy to navigate and well-organized set of pages. When you first create an account, there are a number of preset pages on the sidebar with tutorials and inspiration, although you can delete these at any time.

The pages are incredibly customizable, with a lot of options for blocks and embedded links. A page can be as simple as a reading list for articles (get the Notion extension for Chrome to save articles to Notion with just one click) or as complicated as a vast network of interconnected databases.

Any page can be set as a database, which is essentially an excel spreadsheet with more advanced and user friendly functionality. You can input a ton of information, from dates to team members to tags and other properties. These can then be viewed as a simple spreadsheet or as a kanban board, a gallery, or a calendar.

One property that makes Notions particularly unique, is that you can set up relationships between your different databases. Each entry on your databases, from the tag to the date, is its own individual page. If you select a date, it will link you to all the other pages that are tied to that date. You can even put databases as subpages within pages. The flexibility and depth of Notion makes it possible to create task managers, project managers, CRMS, and other tools all within one app. Which is awesome.

Notion has recently come out with a free option. The free version has most of the features as the premium, lacking only the team and collaboration functions. If you’re just looking to get more productive and organized, the free version works great.

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