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Is Notion Worth It For Note-Taking?
It depends …
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Notion is certainly a great choice for note-taking. That is, only if Notion can allow for your preferred note-taking style. I know that’s a non-answer but needs to be stated. What are you looking for in a digital notebook? A versatile place to dump ideas, shopping lists, and to-dos? Notion is excellent for that. A personal knowledge base to act as a second brain? Notion can be a great option for that, although, there are better alternatives for some. A dashboard for lecture notes at school? Again, Notion is an excellent choice.
A more important question to ask is: what is your preferred retrieval method? How do you want to return to your notes? Are you someone who prefers looking at nodes on a webbed graph over a linear search query? Notion does not have a graph database view (although, would be awesome), so the former user should look elsewhere.
Notion’s framework helps the user insert information, or notes, into a database that can be classified into “areas” both small or large using database properties (as shown above). For example, using the combination of a date property and a tag select property, the user has created a potential area for notes from this week with the tag work.
The Notion user will create a database view that filters these properties into unique areas, but even without creating an area, there are a great deal of potential areas waiting to be utilized. And thus, note retrieval in Notion gets a high score in my book.
A downside for note-taking in Notion is the poor bi-directional linking for non-database users. If you decide to use Notion without databases, there are plenty of benefits but bi-directional linking, albeit available, is quite lackluster. If you’re accustomed to Obsidian or Roam Research’s backlink UI, you’ll find Notion to be far too simplistic. On the other hand, bi-directional linking with databases is also available and offers more features to create complex linking relationships.
I tend to gravitate to note-taking strategizes of decomposition, or the process of breaking down ideas into smaller pieces. In addition, I like to discover ways to group information into areas I may have not known existed before. Notion is ideal for me in this regard both with the database framework and with features like basic tables.