Notion (no more)

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

The release of Notion Projects has made one thing very clear in my mind–it’s time to look elsewhere for a simpler project management tool.

You can do incredible things with Notion, there’s no denying. It’s a powerful piece of software that I’ve used with varying success for the past 5 years. But recently I’ve found myself questioning whether I need all this power and complexity.

Playing around with the Projects example project, I can’t help feel overwhelmed by the whole thing. I appreciate it’s aimed at teams and I’m not exactly the target audience, but there’s a lot going on, even for your savviest team member.

With Notion I find myself clicking about aimlessly. Constantly switching between tables, kanbans and timelines. Creating different views is fun, but is it actually helpful? Do I really need to visualise this project in all these different ways? Or am I just procrastinating here?

It the infinitely configurable sell that gives me the feeling I’m wasting my time in Notion. Sorting projects, filtering tasks, updating statuses, adding due dates. I open a project, then a task within project, then a sub task within a task within a project. It’s project management inception, I’ve forgotten where I’m going and what I’m even doing here.

Building an interconnected system for managing projects so often felt like a great idea. But when you’re in with the weeds, at some point it occurs; this isn’t the work, this is just managing the work. When you’re spending more time managing the work than actually getting it done, something desperately needs to change.

Project management tools, by design, should make managing projects easier. Working with them shouldn’t feel like a project in itself. But with Notion, that’s exactly how it’s started to feel.

I don’t doubt that some folks still find value in Notion, with its all-in-one, infinate configurability. But for me, personally, it’s time to return to the days of the humble text-based todo list. When project management was simple and work got done.

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