Well, I did exactly what I said I wouldn’t do.
A DEEP DIVE into the world of Notion.
Back on January 21st, I opened up a Notion account and decided it wasn’t for me as I talked about in my post
At that point, I was happy with walking away from Notion without putting a lot of time or effort into learning that much about it. Basically, I thought it was a nice app, but was missing some features that I wanted and had a stickiness to it that didn’t make me go “Wow”.
That evening, I was frustrated with how Evernote was performing, and I opened Notion back up in my browser and began to play around with it a bit more seriously to see if I could replace Evernote with Notion. By Saturday morning I had signed up for their Personal plan at a nice discount and proceeded to go into Notion mode.
Here it is January 31st, a mere 10 days later, and I have returned hat-in-hand to Evernote.
BUT I LOVE NOTION!!!
I also hate that I haven’t gotten a damn thing done besides “playing with”, ERRR learning how to use Notion.
All that learning how to set it up so that Notion works the way that I do and looking down almost every damn imaginable rabbit hole that interested me (far too many). When I add in the hours of watching videos and reading articles about how to use Notion — I know that I easily have over 60 hours of actual time learning about Notion.
I got lost in the Notion black hole and didn’t come back out the other side until last Saturday.
Yeah, I went a bit overboard.
During that time, I learned that Notion is probably the best productivity app I have ever tried and has more power to do anything than I would ever want to do with it. Yes, Notion is great and deserves all the accolades that have come its way.
That being said, Notion doesn’t work for me. It does too much. My needs are much more modest than what Notion is able to provide.
Even so, I wanted to do it all, have the perfect dashboard, a great task database, journal, food diaries, etc., and just about the time I thought I had a nice setup.
|My Notion dashboard|
It all came crashing down.
The problem was less about Notion and more about me.
I was so distracted with learning the multitude of options that Notion has, that when it came time to find an article that was needed for a blog post, I had clipped into Notion — I couldn’t. Then it happened again – multiple times. It seems that when I changed databases again (for the third or fourth time, I can’t remember now), then changed back again to an older version, while attempting to redo my homepage again…I had lost a lot of the reference material that I had collected.
Yes, it was my own fault, not Notion’s, well mostly.
Yes, I was just a little frustrated!
Sometimes serendipity, Karma, or whatever you chose to call it – happens.
While I was stewing about how I could “improve” my homepage, find those missing clips, make the database show the data in ways that I found useful. Along with trying to figure out which Notion guru would help me the most with all of those things.
I got an email notification from my watch.
The email was that I had received John P. Weiss’ weekly newsletter. I enjoy his newsletters and needed a break from the Notion-induced headache I was getting. I read it. The link this week was to “Eliminate One Thing to Improve Productivity and Happiness”. While reading, I found myself nodding all too often, and I went back and re-read it again.
His blog post made me stop and think about what I was doing.
I had done exactly what I predicted would happen back in my first post about Notion.
“Sometimes, the tool that is best for you is not the one that does the most, is the newest or slickest thing out there, which I think Notion is. It is a fantastic productivity app. However, there are too many things that my initial look made me think that using Notion would add stickiness in areas that I consider important, and that Evernote works better for me at this time.”
Looking back I went too far down into the Notion rabbit warrens and got lost in the maze of options, ideas, solutions, databases, videos, templates, and hadn’t done much else for over a week, apart from my daily journal. My attempts to set up and harness all that power and wanting to tweak this, or try that new option I hadn’t attempted before, were in the end Notion’s biggest downfall for me to use it properly.
It was apparent to me after reading that post, that Notion was my – one thing.
All the options and choices that Notion gives to its users overwhelmed me to the point where the app became the focus of what I was doing, versus becoming the productivity app I was looking for.
It had gone from being a great productivity tool to the ultimate distraction.
This quote from Weiss’ article really hit home…
“By eliminating endless options, you spend less time deciding and more time creating.” — John P. Weiss
I spent the rest of Saturday night thinking about how Notion had pretty much taken over everything for the past week. I hadn’t written a blog post, barely kept up with my journaling, and spent entirely too much time on something that was supposed to save me time.
Then I remembered that pre-Notion, I was productive using Evernote. While the issues I had with it were more because Evernote was being slower than a ponded pud (that problem has resolved itself it seems), and some other thing that frustrated me at the time, looking back, they were all something minor. There was also an update that seemed to help a lot as well.
That night I went to bed thinking about how or if I could simplify Notion or if Evernote is a better tool for how I work. The next morning, I had a pretty good idea of which direction I needed to go, but stopped and took the time to re-read Weiss’ post one more time.
Could I have gone ahead and simplified how I used Notion — sure.
However, with all the options, bells, and whistles that were available within Notion, I also know me and that knowing they were there, I would want to use them and go into a Ground Hog’s day kind of repetitive hell. Since I have the plan paid for, I won’t delete the Notion account, but once I get the data I need out of it, I will log out and move from Notion. It is an insurance policy if something were to happen with Evernote as well.
Complexity creep is real, and luckily this time it only took about 10 days for me to realize that the technology was getting the upper hand again.
I just hope that Evernote continues to be stable and improve its product, but I guess I will get the chance to find out. It will constrain me from going down into as many rabbit holes because it does not have the feature set that Notion does, but in my case, that is for the best.
Somewhere deep inside me, there is this little voice chuckling and saying, “I warned you.”
I’ll leave you with this final quote from Weiss’ post,
“There is eminent freedom in removing complexity in your life. When the tyranny of endless decisions is trimmed away, you can then focus on what’s really important.” – John P. Weiss
Come with me now, the best is yet to be.