What is Notion?
Improving team workflow is something we’re always looking to do, especially during the pandemic when virtual organization and communication is even more important. In the past, we’ve tried various project management and collaborative apps like Google Drive, Trello, and Asana. While they excel in certain areas of project management and task tracking, they fall short in others.
We started using Notion in 2019 and it’s our favourite project organization application we’ve used so far. Notion is basically an all-in-one digital workspace to help organize your team’s work and tasks. It’s great at taking notes and managing tasks. It’s also highly customizable, so you can design and organize the dashboards to suit the needs and workflow for your company- think of it as a digital bullet journal. It works on both desktop and mobile. It’s free for personal use but requires a monthly fee for a team.
How we use Notion and its advantages
Notion allows a lot of flexibility with just the right amount of stylization, without being overwhelming. Their concept of “blocks” allows you to build any template you want. You can also download free pre-built templates made by others.
Another really powerful feature of Notion is you can organize pages inside a database. The same database can be displayed in different views such as table, Kanban board, timeline, calendar and gallery. As each of these views are particularly suitable for specific types of data and project management style, having the ability to switch between different display methods means you can choose what works best for you. You can also add different filters and sorting conditions for each view to only display the items you need.
We want to share some ways we use Notion in our workflow.
A central place to keep key documentation
Database of our video production:
Summary of cases and status
Multiple views with different filters
Table view for overview of all projects
Calendar view for project release dates
Kanban view to sort categories and progress
One of the major goals in time and project management is the ability to look ahead and plan out projects months or even years in advance. The video production database we’ve built on Notion helps us do this. Here we have a summary of the cases we’ve published, those still in production, and requested cases that still need to be filmed. Notions’ database system allows for multiple views with different filters. For example, cases of a certain year or surgical specialty, or by team member. We use the table view for an overview of all projects, a calendar view for the projects release date, and a kanban view to sort the categories and progress.
Team project management
Links to project assets
Model list and scene files
Visual reference collection
Flexible storyboard views
We build a landing page on Notion for each case for all associated links to documents and assets. We create links to the newest version of the work-in-progress video, the evolving narration script, and animation storyboards. For solo or team cases, a model list and links to scene files make for efficient use of time and easy handoffs. Creating a page or section for a style guide helps to ensure the look and feel of a video stays consistent throughout all the shots and sequences. One of our favourite things about Notion is using the database function for storyboards. It can be quickly switched from storyboard panel view to a shot list table.
The disadvantages of Notion
Unfortunately no application is perfect. We’ve noticed some cons with Notion. The biggest downside is no offline access. There have been times where Notion was down and we were unable to access Notion for an hour, but usually these issues get resolved quickly. The Notion team is actively working on these issues. We’ve found the Notion subreddit is a good place to hear unbiased news and updates for the app from fellow users.
Despite these flaws, we still like Notion as our go-to app for team organization and productivity. Do you think Notion will be the right productivity app for you? What are your favourite productivity apps? Let us know in the comments!
As always, stay safe.
The TVASurg team