The law of diminishing returns is rather straightforward: it refers to the pace at which the output of production decreases with the addition of a new producing element.

Another approach to thinking about decreasing returns is through the old adage, “too many cooks ruin the soup.” Essentially, increasing the number of people, technologies, or procedures in your workflow accelerates things, but only to a degree. At some point, all of these extra “hands” begin to obstruct one another, slowing you down.

The Notion, a lightweight, adaptable platform for anything from CRM to task and project management to databasing, adheres to this law both in terms of corporate structure and application functionality.

“Software is a lot like that,” explains Ivan Zhao, founder, and CEO of Notion. “Adding additional people will really slow you down if you don’t understand what you’re attempting to accomplish.” He’s referring to preventing the Notion team from growing too large too quickly, preferring it to expand organically only when necessity dictates.

The Notion team is small, with only 14 members. They’ve actually been declining more venture capital funding in order to avoid an unending expansionary strategy that prioritizes cosmetic growth above product advancement.

At the software level, Notion embodies the adage “less is more.”

We don’t require codes to go where we’re going.

The concept behind Notion is to avoid overwhelming your consumers with a barrage of unique tools and capabilities, each with its own learning curve. Rather than that, give a few simple-to-use good features that can be combined and expanded in modular ways to meet the unique demands of each individual user.

In other words, Notion is beneficial for everyone who utilizes computers for business, education, projects, or personal organization—there is no requirement for coding skills.

Notion’s Appearance And Feel

Components, Pages, And Templates

Notion operates by the creation or uploading of blocks: A task item on a list, an image, an uploaded document, a blog post, or a contact lead are all examples of these.

These blocks are placed on pages—for example, a project, a planner, or a wiki database—and transform into collaborative workplaces that can be shared with peers.

You may begin with a blank page (similar to a blank canvas) and then add blocks. Alternatively, you may start with one of the Notion templates or create your own from scratch and then share it with the Notion community.

There are several templates for various organizational needs, ranging from simple to-do lists to team databases and project roadmaps.

Additionally, templates are classified according to their intended use, such as for school (for instructors or students), designers, engineers, team tools, and personal tools (which include fun stuff like meal planners, exercise routines, or apartment hunting).

Views

Most templates include a variety of different viewing styles, and it’s simple to switch between them to determine which one best suits the purpose of each page.

The most conventional view is always a Table, which is particularly useful for databases and information organization. It’s similar to a spreadsheet, with common columns for status, tags, and priority, as well as for assigning each item to a team member.

The list view is a more streamlined, minimalist version of the table view that allows for easy access to all the listed pages with a single click.

The board view adheres to Kanban principles. This is ideal for following the progress of things on a to-do list or for monitoring the development of bigger projects with several moving pieces as they go through phases.

The gallery view is used to display photographs and other types of material. It’s a set of cards that appear to be pinned to a wall, displaying the image and a few select attributes, such as name, tags, or contact information.

Finally, there is a calendar view, which is ideal for arranging events or launching new products. Items can be slipped onto little cards according to their assigned date (within the month grid) or can span many months.

Any view has a useful filter option that allows you to see blocks with certain tags or objects allocated to specific users. Additionally, you may construct custom filters and utilize the sort and search functions.

Bespoke tools, unlimited

Once you’ve mastered the art of adding blocks to pages and viewing these workspaces from a variety of strategic perspectives, the tools available to you are vast and flexible.

However, Notion’s principal method of promoting its usefulness is through the replacement of several popular apps with each of their features. Apart from email and Slack, Notion is pursuing the major players one by one.

Notes and Documents

Their eyes are set squarely on eradicating the need for Evernote and Google Docs in this area.

With Notion, you may start with a blank page or a template—many popular ones are available for editing in the sidebar. When working from a draught, you can ‘tab’ through the fields you wish to complete or add more property fields.

The drag-and-drop feature makes it simple to arrange pages with text, titles, to-do lists, databases, embeds, media (over 30 types), and other blocks. There is an inline @ symbol that may be used to refer to colleagues, date reminders, or other pages.

Knowledge Base 

Notion competes with GitHub, Wiki, and Confluence with their knowledge base system, which they refer to as “tribal knowledge,” which they define as the collective wisdom of a group, team, or corporation.

The knowledge base is a collection of documents or pages that are put together under a single parent page. The parent page might be private or shared as a wiki page.

Assignments And Projects

The notion is a strong competitor against Trello, Asana, and Gira when it comes to tasks and projects.

Here you may track the status of tasks, bugs, sprints (a collection of time-bound activities that require a push), and epics (large-scale efforts).

Each job on a task list is allocated to a separate page, which can be assigned to one or more team members. You may add comments, due dates, tags, and priority levels to your document. The default view is the board version, however, it is also visible in other views.

Spreadsheets And Databases

Finally, Notion may be used in place of Google Sheets or Airtable for all database-related tasks.

Apart from the obvious database features such as inventory and reading lists, Notion is an excellent CRM for individuals, freelancers, and small businesses. A contact card takes you to a new page where you may fill up the basic CRM form.

Going from table to gallery view is a piece of cake if you have images.

Any notes associated with a contact that pertain to a certain date will be immediately included in the calendar display. Additionally, if it has been three months since you updated a contact card, you will receive a “time to reach out” notice next to their name (you can edit the timeframe and the alert message).

Creating a future

The Notion was launched in 2016 in the heart of Silicon Valley. Zhao, the band’s leader, grew up idolizing computer scientists Alan Kay and Douglas Engelbart.

As with any business, they’ve grown in fits and turns, with the odd supporting push (Zhao’s mother once donated some money).

Now, things are truly taking off. They surpassed the one million user threshold in March. Perhaps the tactic of eliminating competition is succeeding.

Zhao views it as follows: At first, there was a conflict amongst a small group of participants. Then Gates triumphed, embracing all essential utilitarian and professional functions (docs, spreadsheets, etc.).

Now, there are once again a variety of B2B applications.

Zhao is “hoping that we’re in the midst of a pendulum swing away from a single product, Microsoft Office, and into an overabundance of SaaS offerings.” And now the pendulum is swinging back in the direction of something more packaged.”

That is where Notion comes in—by eschewing contemporary work tools in favor of something altogether fresh.

Maintaining a lightweight, beautiful, and, most crucially, modular design is precisely the kind of future-of-work creativity that may propel Notion to the next level of workplace greatness.

Author

  • Tech Culture Editor Cybersecurity Researcher, Security Critic at CTE Solutions. Kimberly is one of the company’s first and most valued contributors, she now mentors your professionals in becoming great tech culture editors.