#189: Notion for Personal & Public Use

Programming - Mar 31, 2024

This is the last video in our little series on using Notion. We’ve covered how Notion is great for working on web development teams. But another thing that makes Notion great is that it’s useful for yourself too.

Consolidate tools is usually a good thing. It focuses your skills. Imagine having five sites and having five different analytics software running on all of them. You just won’t get as good as using any one of them than if you used the same software on all five sites. That’s what I’m getting at here. Because I use Notion across teams and across my work/life boundary, I feel like I know Notion extra-well and can get the most out of it.

Here’s my notes from the video.

  • “Notion is everywhere.”
    • I do most Notion work using the desktop app.
    • But most people I know use it as a web app (meaning anyone can use it).
    • Notion also has native mobile apps, and I’m not sure I’d be such a big fan if it wasn’t for that.
  • “Notion is sharing.”
    • The permissions system in Notion is amazing, because it is intuitive and works well.
    • Like everything in Notion, permissions are nested.
    • You’ll keep most documents in the workspace, meaning everyone has access.
    • You can make groups, which makes it easy to share documents within specific people people. Example: an in-progress design brief the design team is preparing to share with everyone later.
    • You can adjust the permissions of any document, meaning you could make a private document and share it with just one person, or a couple of people. Example: a “Founders and Employee” document.
    • You can invite people outside the company/workspace entirely (by invite). Example: a “Founders and Investors” area.
    • You can do audits of people and documents quite easily to make sure people don’t have lingering access.
    • You can make totally public-facing documents. Example: a job opening.
  • “Notion is opinionated.”
    • In a good way! It ensures you never have a mess, like say a team member with questionable taste who makes documents in Papyrus and neon. Not happening in Notion.
    • There is a cohesiveness to documents this way.
    • Documents have limited design options. You can’t really screw it up.
      • One emoji represents the document. Fonts are all set by the document style, and there are only three options. There are only a dozen colors or so. Headers are all the same size and encourage a certain abstractness.
    • Documents are block-based, which gives them a certain feel with consistent spacing that works.
  • “Notion is unopinionated.”
    • You can use it any way you like. I made a document explaining how to use our snowblower for my wife. I made a checklist for camping. I use it for informal meeting notes, like a scratchpad on a phone call.
    • “Don’t be afraid to be sloppy at first.” Written down is better than not. Most of my documents are fairly sloppy, but are still useful.
    • Ownership can happen explicitly or naturally
      • There is literal ownership. Example: you create a page and only invite people with viewing or commenting access.
      • There is abstract ownership. Example: Marie generally “owns” the support documentation section. This is nice as it opens up the idea of anyone being useful anywhere.
  • “Notion is personal.”
    • You can keep your private notes in Notion. I even keep lists of goals in there.
    • You can have your own private workspace. It’s great!

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