When I tried to explain the Notion application to a friend, I had a hard time defining it.
Basically, it can do almost anything you can think of. — is what I told him.
Anything to do with tracking, web-clipping, knowledge management, project management… the list goes on. You can even make a website in Notion. The best part is that everything is intuitive, due to the “no code” style of the system. What you can do in Notion is only limited to your imagination. I think the best feature of Notion is its note-taking. Some may argue for other applications like Roam and Obsidian whose primary focus is on note-taking.
But I think Notion can match them for one simple reason: You don’t have to start with an empty page.
The biggest problem I have when writing is starting with an empty page. There is something daunting and intimidating to me about an empty page. Notion can solve this problem by allowing you to create your own templates.
I have my New Notes button set up in a way so that when I create a new note I am immediately presented with formatting options. I can choose between a 2x2 Matrix, 3x3 Matrix, the Cornell Method (two versions), the Outline Method, and the Q/E/C method. I can even add different combinations of formats to one page. Unfortunately, Notion is not the best for mind mapping or creating flow charts, however, you can embed such mind maps and flow charts that you’ve made in Whimsical.
This template forces me to immediately think about the structure of what I want to write about. It’s a good way to get things going. It makes the first step of getting into the flow easier.
In addition to formatting options, I have an “Add Tools” button which creates a toggle with a bunch of web embedded tools in it.
I have 4 different calculators (simple, scientific, advanced scientific and a graphing calculator). Which I can add to the page with one simple click. This tool is great if you are solving maths problems. It allows you to have everything you need in one place without having to whip out your calculator or open up a separate app. The best part is that I can add as many of these calculators as I like. For each problem, I can just add a new calculator, instead of having to rewrite or copy the answer from my calculator each time.
Aside from the calculators I have 3 other tools embedded:
- A Pomodoro timer — great, if I want to focus on one thing.
- A table maker — This allows me to make beautiful clean tables in KaTex.
- A whiteboard — This is great if I want to sketch a simple graph or make illustrations in my notes.
If you would like to implement my Notion template into your own Notion note-taking system you can duplicate it at this link. Let me know if you find it useful. Do you have any special templates that you use in your notes?