How Notion Productivity Software Changes Everything
Notion Productivity Software
I’ve been designing personal productivity systems and streamlining business operations for small to mid-sized businesses for 25 years. I turn mediocre operations into rocket ships, It’s amazing to see companies and people’s lives change so quickly with the right methods and processes in place.
But in all my time doing this, both using enterprise all-in-one approaches and integrating best-in-class specialty software, I’ve never seen a platform as capable as Notion for productivity. I have no involvement with the company, I just want to share how I’ve used this platform to enhance my performance and help clients achieve more. I’ve found Notion to be the most effective tool for enabling small businesses and entrepreneurs or freelancers to design life-changing productivity processes. The power comes from Notion’s flexibility combined with accessibility, on top of its deep database functionality.
Notion is part of an emerging category of software that lets us custom-develop digital environments around how we each want to work, and how we each uniquely think.
No-Code Software Movement
This new software movement, called “no-code software” includes emerging platforms such as Notion, Coda, and Airtable in the productivity and business performance space, and many more across website creation, content creation, e-commerce, and endless other business functions. Tools like Notion in the productivity and business operations category let you develop custom functionality to the point of creating your own applications, not just formatting an existing tool’s interface. You can design the core functionality, as well as how you interact with it.
These platforms are modular and endlessly customizable without the user writing a single line of code. This is sculpting clay, or Lego building blocks — for everyday users. However there’s a catch, they require a high degree of “systems thinking”. Systems thinking is not the way most people approach the world, it’s counter to the typical component thinking that dominates modern society. My next article will explore that subject further.
How Notion Productivity is Different
But when thoughtfully implemented, this new wave of productivity software led by Notion enables you to work and think with enhanced clarity, organization, and focus. Notion keeps your notes, research, plans, and team communication accessible through diverse customizable touchpoints. It can serve as a backbone for small businesses, family functions, creative pursuits, and side-hustles. And it can be an integrated single-source hub for all of those parts of your life together. This software cross-references shared data — cross tasks, calendar events, information resources, team notes, and any other digital asset.
This connectivity unleashes a new level of personal and professional performance. And it eliminates the redundancy of maintaining overlapping information across different locations.
This matters because we don’t rise to the highest version of ourselves we can imagine, we fall to the level of our systems. It’s systems that catch us and hold us above our minimum standards. If you want to operate at a higher level, you need higher standards and better systems to hold the line you won’t drop below.
As with tall buildings and large vehicles, a person or a business needs structural integrity to consistently perform well. Structural integrity is a matter of system design. Doing more and performing at higher levels increases your structural load, which requires greater structural integrity. Notion provides this when shaped by the right methods and processes.
Notion is changing the way software supports productive human activity.
Many of us have a “to-do list” task app such as Todoist or Things; a project management platform such as Asana or Trello; and a note-taking tool such as Evernote or OneNote; and collaboration documents like Google Docs or Microsoft 360. But these functions are enhanced when all combined into one platform, interacting and communicating with each other. Tasks, notes, and knowledge resources cross-reference with every other activity or data point in your life. That’s what a comprehensive Notion system achieves.
My Notion Productivity Series
I think it’s easier and more fun to learn Notion along with a system or methodology that has already proven to be effective. Then customize as you see fit along the way.
So over this series, I’ll show my Notion setup designed to be a personal life operating system, or a small business and freelancer life operating system. I’ve been using this methodology for a long time and it has changed what I’m capable of achieving on a daily and monthly basis. My performance jumped further when I put the process into Notion. I’ve seen and heard the same from clients who have begun using Notion with the system. For us, this platform has boosted speed of implementation and transparency across goals, projects, information, and action.
This series of YouTube videos will explore how to improve personal and business performance with this new kind of software — an endlessly moldable personal platform. Then I’ll show how it can get you closer to your goals by bringing better clarity to the path, and better alignment between your daily activities, priority projects, and ultimate aspirations.
Every tool has its trade-offs and Notion is no different. Notion is young and will steadily get more functionality. But in the aggregate, Notion already offers more than any other task management tool I’ve ever seen. More than any project management tool. More than any personal knowledge management tool. More than any collaborative workspace.
The highly anticipated next step is for Notion to add Zapier integrations and an API to enable automation with other software platforms — Notion has announced this as a priority in the development pipeline. It’s coming.
You occasionally see push-back that Notion is slower opening up than specialty apps. That’s true, but only slightly if you work in an environment with wi-fi. And what Notion gets you in overall time savings dwarfs the extra second or two it can take to open. I’ll get into this speed vs performance issue more in future articles.
My Notion Productivity Experiences
I’ve been running my world in Notion for a while now. And I’ve custom-built streamlined systems and processes for clients in Notion. Since building a personal life and business operating system in Notion, my annual goals are directly connected with my quarterly objectives and my daily actions — with visual references and links rolling up each level, so I see both the forest and the trees together.
My daily tasks connect with all the research materials and notes I’ve assembled for each project. They’re all organized in a cleanly-formatted and easily-skimmable project hub (with a table of contents automatically generated at the top of the research pages, linking to each sub-section). Inside Notion, my content creation hub for video, podcast, and writing provides organization and transparency — coordinating across all team members. And my Client Center hosts a development area for each client with a shared client-accessible work-space aggregating their progress, collaborative work, deliverables, communication history, and admin. It’s all organized and updated in real-time. This will reduce reliance on my team for admin or info/follow-up requests. And it impresses the hell out of clients.
Notion & System Design
Using this type of platform is an investment in your future. You’ll go through a good deal of trial and error, exerting time and effort. But this process forces you to think about how you want to work and will reveal so much about what makes you most effective. Implementing this software requires you to step back and study your workflow, review your systems, and think about how they can be enhanced. Learning the tool forces you to make your life and business better.
I’ve worked with hundreds of people streamlining and optimizing business operations systems, and I’ve never seen anything reveal problem spots in business systems the way Notion implementations do. And I’ve never seen any other tool provide the ability to re-shape life and business systems as well as Notion.
But to do this, you need to think differently. So in the next article, I’m going to write a concise introduction to “systems thinking” for Notion users.
Then I’m going to share how I’ve brought my 25 years of systems thinking and system design for small businesses into Notion, and how Notion has turbo charged my methodology in a way that no software ever has before.
I have a roadmap laid out to introduce both the power of Notion and the system I’ve taught to hundreds of small business owners to enhance their lives and their companies. Thanks for reading, lots more to come!