This article is about the reasons I hate Notion.so and what alternatives I prefer. I would rather use 5-10 different apps than this overhyped all in one software.
Note: this is my subjective opinion of Notion and it should be treated as such. There are use cases where Notion is great: wikis, templates, etc. It just doesn’t work for me and I will explain why.
I’ve heard about Notion in its early stages, that was somewhere in 2016. I gave it a try, didn’t really like it and moved on using other apps.
5 years later, Notion is a popular app and is widely used on the web. I gave it another try and couldn’t force myself to use it.
You can call me an old school professional, the one who doesn’t like change and doesn’t embrace new technology and so on.
My argument on the other hand is: I like apps that are useful, easy to use and offer a great user experience. Also, I like all the little details that really make the difference in a software product.
Here are all those little details that annoy me at Notion:
1. It does everything, and that’s bad
The problem is that it offers a myriad of features and productivity tools and is not truly exceptional in any of them. It competes with pretty much every productivity app on the market.
You will quickly get lost among all pages, boards, notifications, etc. It’s just too complex for an average user and provides too much noise. It you’re not super organized, you will find it difficult to use.
2. The editing experience is awful
Everything in the editor is flicking and based on hovers and other useless animations. Why do I need to click twice to perform some simple actions? How to display multiple images in a grid?
3. It doesn’t play well with other apps
Try to import (or copy/paste) a table from Google spreadsheets or export your page/content back to Google docs or Microsoft Word. These kind of simple tasks become very difficult in Notion.
4. Collaboration options are average
If you move a page, you need to share it again, if you have a subpage and don’t want it to be public you can’t change its sharing settings, if you add anyone to a page you will grant edit access by default.
If a page is private there is no easy way to ask for access. You need to get in touch with the owner and ask him to grant you access.
Apparently, there are lots of collaboration settings, but when it comes to actually collaborate on pages, it’s not that easy and straightforward.
5. Working with tables is difficult
Tables, boards, lists, calendars, lists, timelines are databases in Notion. This means that each entry in a table has its own properties and can be accessed as a separate page.
This is nice, until you start working and filling in those tables. You need to constantly click twice to go and edit any entry.
Depending on the column/data type you can’t just fill in some text, for ex. labels: you need to create a label and then click create and then click once again to save that label.
If you create a new page and create a table on top of that page, there is no way to include any blocks below or above it, if you don’t have any text.
What are the alternatives?
I would opt for dedicated solutions for every task. Yes, you need to use several apps for different tasks, but those do their job and you can learn and handle them relatively easy.
Project management and tasks
Calendars and reminders
I’m in no way trying to convince anyone to switch to other tools or disregard the huge amount of work that has been done by Notion’s team. Use the apps that you know best and those that suit your needs.
I think that Notion is overrated and I would prefer to use 5-10 different tools to achieve my goals. Are you like me? Do you like or hate Notion? Please share your thoughts in the comments.