Struggling with Notion? | 9 Best Tips to Make it Easy for Beginners

💭 About to lose your mind with Notion?

🚀 At a first few glances, Notion seems to be an amazing & powerful all-in-one tool. But it can quickly become overwhelming to beginners due to extensive features, customization options and functionalities Many people invest a significant amount of time trying to understand it, while others give up after a few attempts and switch to a different tool.

👋🏻 We at The Organized Notebook have been in your shoes, navigating the twists and turns of mastering Notion and we totally get that it can be a bit daunting! That's why we're super excited to share our top Notion tips to help save you time and really boost your productivity!

Tip 1: Always keep it simple!

The first principle that we always recommend Notion beginners is to keep things simple, bearing in mind that "less is more".

Notion can become overwhelming when you attempt to incorporate everything into a single dashboard or get carried away in all the features it offers. While it's exciting to include various elements like databases, calendars, and task lists in your dashboard, it's crucial to focus on what you actually need.

Initially, you might only need a simple to-do list, a simple calendar, or a note-taking space like our Simple Dashboard Notion Template. As you become more comfortable with Notion, you can then gradually explore more advanced features and customize your workspace to suit your specific needs.

Source: The Organized Notebook, 2024

Tip 2: Use a simple navigation bar

Getting used to setting your Notion templates with a left-hand sidebar or navigation bar is another important tip for Notion beginners. If you have been following our tutorials, we always set up our Notion templates by putting the original databases in a navigation bar to avoid losing track of them in the future.

A navigation bar in a Notion template is crucial as it serves as a guide to easily navigate different sections of your workspace. It helps in keeping your workspace organized and simplifies navigation across pages, saving you time and effort in finding the information you need.

There are many ways to set up a navigation bar. Whether it is a dynamic top bar, a synced block, or a sidebar, they are all in our simple, yet comprehensive tutorial guides below.

Tip 3: Keyboard Shortcuts & Quick Tricks

Knowing keyboard shortcuts is also crucial when getting started with Notion. By typing slash anywhere on the page, you can create anything from text, page, to-do list to headings. Moreover, there are a lot of tricks to save time when you set up with Notion.

We all cover them in our top 30 tips and tricks to use Notion as a beginner. Do check them out!

Tip 4: One page at a time!

Another key strategy is to organize and build one page at a time. If you're creating a habit tracker or a task manager template, focus on using and thoroughly testing it before including additional functions or pages into your workspace.

Source: The Organize Notebook, 2024

Tip 5: Know how Notion databases work

Understanding Notion's powerful database feature is key to making the most out of the platform. But as a beginner, it's advisable to start with simple databases. Start with one or two and get comfortable with them before you dive into more complex databases.

There are six types of database views in Notion and each has its own features and uses:

  1. Table View: Ideal for numerical data as it supports custom properties and calculations.
  2. Board View: A kanban layout for task management
  3. Timeline View: Ideal for projects and tasks due to its support for sequence and dependencies.
  4. Calendar View: Organizes tasks/events by date as it focuses on scheduling and planning.
  5. List View: Simplifies data into a list, perfect for creating lists or outlines.
  6. Gallery View: Adds visual elements to data, ideal for visualizing content.

Notion databases allow you to create a hub for your data, enabling easier management and access. With relations and rollups, you can interconnect and display your data across databases. Yet, the most important rule about setting up databases in Notion, especially for beginners, is to use them sparingly. It's recommended to start with one or two databases and keep the relations simple. This approach helps to avoid becoming overwhelmed and ensures that you fully understand how to use this feature before adding complexity to your workspace.

We highly recommend you check out our comprehensive guide on Notion databases below:

Source: The Organized Notebook, 2024

Tip 6: Set small, achievable goals

When you're starting out with Notion, it's easy to get overwhelmed with all the potential things you can do. To avoid this, set small, achievable goals for yourself, for example, let’s start with creating a simple task list or note-taking system. Achieving these small goals will boost your confidence and help you gradually explore and master more complex features.

Tip 7: Learn by doing

The best way to learn Notion is by actually using it. The more you use Notion, the better you'll get at it. Don't be afraid to experiment and try new things. And remember, it's okay to make mistakes - that's part of the learning process!

We strongly recommend you follow our build-with-me tutorial series. It covers a broad range of beginner-friendly templates, accompanied by a step-by-step guide!

Tip 8: Stay flexible

It's also important to stay flexible as your needs and preferences might change over time, and the way you use Notion should be able to adapt to these changes. Don't be afraid to adjust your templates, introduce new elements, or even start from scratch if you find it necessary. Remember, the goal is to create a workspace that serves you and enhances your productivity.

Tip 9: Enjoy the ride and have fun!

Take your time to explore and experiment with different layouts, templates, and features. Remember, the beauty of Notion is that it can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. So, enjoy the learning process and the journey of creating a workspace that fits your needs perfectly.

We demonstrate all of the tips with real-life examples in this video, do check it out and see how Notion can be powerful yet simple to use!

Final note

While starting with Notion can be overwhelming, following these tips can make the journey much easier and enjoyable. Remember, the key is to start simple, stay organized, learn the key elements, set small goals, stay flexible, and most importantly, have fun!

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