Notion: an introduction for beginners + how to get 5-months of free credits!

Notion: an introduction for beginners. Why and why not use it + how to get 5-months of free Notion credit!

Notion: an introduction for beginners + how to get 5-months of free credits!

Notion as a PKM tool.  

I discovered Notion in 2020 while looking for alternatives to Evernote. After testing it a bit, I realized it's not a replacement for Evernote, but it opened a completely new world for me — I could build the tools I needed to stay productive!

Building tool

People are building wonders in Notion  but I'm not a person who needs a dashboard. The reason I'm not into that is that I see some people spending a ton of time tinkering with their dashboard, falsely thinking that's productive. All the time you spent playing with the tools, you haven't really done anything. It's just fooling around. I prefer to have results.

Compounding tool

The beauty of Notion is that it compounds. You build one thing, connect it to the stuff you've built before, and then connect to the next thing. For example, I've built a task list connected to the Personal CRM connected to my meeting notes table. Now they're all interconnected, and I can keep building on that. You can't build that in Evernote or Roam — that's why you can (should?) use all of these tools together.

How I'm using Notion

I started some things from the public templates, and now I'm building most of the new stuff from scratch.

Notion templates
Notion templates

I'm also trying to put together an Inbox as a landing site for all things that need future processing. However, I'm not sure if that's a good way to go — having another inbox to clean might not be such a great idea. Any suggestions welcome.

I managed the project of launching my book within Notion — everything from time-planning to launch day to ads, and author copies.  And here's also the planner for the next two books — collecting material, doing the outline, everything that feels like a project. The actual writing is done in Scrivener.

All of my learning projects are in Notion as well — currently, I'm building my Digital Marketing class, and I'm following topics week by week, which is a replacement for attending the DMI Pro workshop.

Examples of some of my folders:

All the meeting notes are in it as well, and then there are various folders for my interests:  

My Notion folders
My Notion folders
  • Reflections
    • daily gratitude — simple template with +, -, and —> (what went well, what could be better, and what's next).
  • Thoughts & ideas
    • any general thinking, thoughts on various topics, including my notes and remarks. I also park all my ideas in here. It's a creative park.
  • Learning
    • lecture notes and a place where I store handwritten content from Apple Notes
  • Reading list
    • I'm still figuring out how I want to use it. For now, all my kindle books highlights and notes are within Evernote (imported using Bookcision)
  • Task list
    • these are just tasks that I note during meetings or taking notes. Notion isn't useful as a Task Manager, so I use Apple Reminders and Microsoft To Do for that.
  • Managing rental properties
    • Keeping track of rental income, bills, various things.
  • Archive
    • everything I don't delete gets moved here. That's including stuff I processed from Inbox etc.

Best use-cases for Notion:

  • building digital tools, processes, SOPs
  • publicly sharing lists (via built-in feature)
  • quick and easy web-pages (CV, invite, stuff like that!)
  • collaboration
  • cheap and pleasant to use
  • typed meeting notes
  • personal and team project management
  • outlining and researching blog posts and/or articles.
  • long-term digital storage (use Evernote)
  • taking handwritten notes (Apple Notes is best for that)
  • backlink-thinking (Roam Research does that better and faster)
  • Writing texts — it doesn't work well with Grammarly, and there are better tools for that (my drug of choice is Scrivener, but Roam Research or Evernote are better as well!)
  • clipping and saving web content (use Evernote or even Apple Notes!)

Notion Pricing + free credit

Notion is one of my cheapest subscriptions, offering the best value. You can start with the free Personal plan, and it's going to work well until you start uploading screenshots and other attachments. Then it's $5 per month ($4, if you pay annually).

Notion pricing (pay annualy)
Notion pricing (pay annualy)

However, you can easily earn at least five months of free credit by following these steps:

Five-months-worth of Notion credit
Five-months-worth of Notion credit

Endless possibilities

One of my favorite Notion masters is Marie Poulin, and you can follow her to see what's possible in Notion:

PKM tools series

This article is part of the series on Personal Knowledge Management — PKM tools. Check out the rest of the series:

The new Evernote — is it (still) worth it?
Evernote Premium user since 2009, this is my take on the new EN. Also on Notion, Roam Research, Scrivener, and Apple Notes.
How I’m using Evernote, Roam Research, and Notion.
How I’m using Evernote, Roam Research, and Notion. Thoughts on digital tools.

... and more to come!

Sign up for Notion here:

PKM tools - .kaizen
Exploring lifelong learning and sharing my experience.
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