There are no limits to a Notion note-taking system. In comparison to most note-taking tools, Notion is extremely flexible and you can customize it to fit your needs. The downside is that Notion can present a steep learning curve and overwhelm new users. But don’t let that put you off! If you’re in the market for a new note-taking tool or simply want to learn how to get your Notion note-taking to the next level, this one is for you. Read on and we’ll show you three core methods to get started with Notion note-taking and help you decide which one is best depending on your note-taking style and what you want to get from your system.
This article is focused on using Notion for Note-Taking, but we also have a lot more guides:
- Just started using Notion? Here’s the only Notion tutorial you’ll ever need.
- Planning to use Notion for task management? Here’s how to set up GTD in Notion
- Not sure whether Notion is the right tool for you? Check out our best productivity tools round-up.
- Looking for general productivity tips? Here are 13 things you can do to get more done today.
How to Take Notes in Notion
In its simplest form, Notion note-taking is similar to Word, Google Docs and One Note, just with a few extra features that make the process easier.
Here’s how way to create a quick note in Notion.
- Create a new “empty page”.
- Give the note a name.
- Write your note.
And that’s all you need for text-only notes.
To see the other options, press the forward slash (/) on your keyboard.
You’ll see a list of “blocks” you can add to your note, including:
- Bullet list
You can even embed media in your note. That means you could, for example, watch a YouTube video like our Notion Formula Tutorial and make notes on it without leaving Notion. Learning how to use the forward slash and other Notion keyboard shortcuts will greatly speed up your workflows.
How to get started with Notion Note-Taking
We know that Notion can feel like a lot when you’re just starting out. That’s why we’ve put together a free Notion Note-Taking template. Simply download the template and add it to your workspace (if you don’t know how, here’s a short Notion template tutorial):
How to Organise Your Notes in Notion
Notion is a great tool for building a database of notes you can use as a second brain so that your first (actual) brain doesn’t have to remember everything.
The challenge with an extensive note-taking system like this is organizing the notes so that you can retrieve the information you need – when you need it.
With that being the case, it’s helpful to have a rough idea of how you’ll organize your notes before you start adding them to your Notion note-taking system.
We’ve identified three Notion note-taking methods to help you do this. The best one for you will depend on why you want to take notes in the first place and how you’d like to retrieve and use them.
Notion Note-Taking Method #1: The Librarian
The Librarian method will suit you if you like organizing information according to formal criteria.
An offline application of this method is a filing cabinet with folders. The folders are organized alphabetically. You make notes on paper, assign a topic to the note, and it to the corresponding folder. For example, you would file a note about Notion under ‘N’.
A common online application of The Librarian method is Evernote. You create notebooks for different topics, add relevant notes to those books, and use tags for additional context.
You can also create a hierarchical system like this in Notion – with all the advantages of digital note-taking that a filing cabinet doesn’t provide and the flexibility that Evernote doesn’t (including unlimited nesting of folders). Notion doesn’t have folders in the traditional sense, but you can easily nest your Notion pages to create the same structure.
Here’s how it might look if you create a Notion note-taking system using The Librarian method:
Inside each folder, create a new page for a category you would like to make notes on (e.g. Notion). Call the page “Notion” and drag it into the “N” folder. Now put all of your notes about Notion inside this folder.
But you don’t have to stop there. You can create infinite levels of sub-folders by adding more nested pages to your setup. If you have a ton of notes about Notion, you could simply create a page inside “N” titled “Notion” and then store all your specific notes, e.g. “Notion note-taking”, “Notion as a task manager” and “Notion automation”, inside that page.
Last but not least, you can easily modify this method to implement the PARA Method in Notion.
Notion Note-Taking Method #2: The Connector
“Creativity is just connecting things” – Steve Jobs.
The Connector approach to Notion note-taking is similar to the Zettelkasten method. Instead of organizing notes in categories, The Connector looks for connections between seemingly unrelated ideas.
For example, reading this article, you might note how Notion is a flexible tool for capturing, organizing and using notes.
Say you also make a note about the process you follow to produce an article – like the process described in A Technique for Producing Ideas.
Using The Connector method of Notion note-taking, you might look at those two notes and ask yourself: “How are these ideas related?”
Perhaps you realize that you could use Notion at the beginning of the writing process to gather raw materials, look for connections between notes, and produce article ideas.
With the above in mind, The Connector method works best for knowledge workers and anyone who wants to produce ideas for creative endeavors.
Although this approach can appear messy when you have lots of notes, it’s easy and fast to set up. You don’t have to figure out where a note belongs – just create it. Then make connections to other notes. And when you need to retrieve it, use the search bar and links between notes.
- In a new account, delete the default pages.
- Create a new full-page database.
- Create a new column in the table and call it “Linked Notes.”
- Make new notes in the “Name” column.
- Tag the note to provide context.
For example, if it’s a note about using Notion for note-taking, add the tags, “Notion” and “Note-taking”.
Then in the third column you just created, type “@” and search for and link to related notes in your database.
This will create a bi-directional link (backlink), meaning you’ll see the link regardless of which of the two notes you are viewing.
Now, whenever you read a note you’ve made about Notion note-taking, you can instantly see other notes that may be relevant to whatever you’re working on.
And those bi-directional links don’t just work in your database. You can also use them inside the actual note. Simply type @ and the title of the note to create a connection and start building out your personal wikipedia-style second brain.
Last but not least, you can also leverage relations between your database entries. This is a more advanced Notion topic. If you’re not sure how to do this, check out our tutorial for Notion databases.
So that’s The Connector method for Notion note-taking.
Here’s the third and final method.
Notion Note-Taking Method #3: The Business Owner
The Librarian method and The Connector method are great if you’re making, organizing or using notes as an individual (also known as Personal Knowledge Management).
Note-taking for a business owner – especially when other people are involved – is fundamentally different and requires a dedicated structure to work well (so-called Organizational Knowledge Management)
Your main goals for Organizational Knowledge Management are to create agency, remove “knowledge gatekeepers” and improve the efficiency of your organization.
We’ve created a massive Notion For Business Guide that includes detailed step-by-step instructions on how to set up such an Organizational Knowledge Management System (and much more). So if your Notion Note-Taking System is built for a company, make sure to check it out.
You can even download our Notion Note-Taking Setup together with 11 other Notion templates for free
Notion Note-Taking Like a Pro
Use Widgets for Notion Note-Taking on Mobile
You can create a widget on the Notion mobile app that links to your notes page so you can quickly add notes on the go.
Install the Web Clipper for Quick Capture While Browsing
Notion also offers a web clipper for Chrome, Safari, Firefox and mobile. Whatever page you are on, click the Notion browser extension (or use the keyboard shortcut) and save the page to your account so you can read, watch or listen to it later.
Build a Notion Note-Taking Quick Capture Widget
Another feature that sets Notion apart from other note-taking tools is the ability to create your own quick capture widget. Create a synced block, put it anywhere in your workspace, then add quick notes to it any time — without having to navigate away from whatever you’re working on.
Alternatively, use a linked database to your notes database and set up an “impossible filter”, like “only show notes with no name”.
Use Notion as an Inbox to Process Your Quick Notes
In Getting Things Done (GTD), author David Allen describes a process to capture, process and utilize information. The process begins by “dumping” all of your information in an inbox so you can deal with it later. Notion is ideal as a GTD-style inbox. Capture notes, ideas, reading materials, actions and more. No need to categorize it. Just drop it in your inbox and process it late – e.g. during a weekly review.
Use Synced Blocks for Global Notes
You could also use synced blocks for global notes. This would allow you to create self-contained bits that can be edited from anywhere in your workspace. To add a synced block, simply type forward slash (” / “) followed by synced and pick the synced block option. Hover over the newly created block with a red border and click on “copy and sync”. You can now paste this block anywhere in your workspace (or in multiple places). Editing the content in one place will automatically update the blocks across your workspace, keeping your Notes in sync and up to date.
Save Emails to Notion Using Automation
Notion has an API that allows you to sync your emails between your email provider and Notion so you don’t have to deal with a separate inbox.
Automatically Save What you Read Using Readwise and Notion
Finally, you could save highlights and notes from your Kindle, other eBooks and Read Later apps by combining Readwise and Notion.
Notion Note-Taking FAQs
Is Notion Good for Note-Taking?
Yes. Notion is exceptional for note-taking. You can quickly capture notes on the fly – from various devices – organize them however works best for you.
Is Notion Note-Taking Free?
Notion has paid plans. If you’re a business owner – or want to use Notion as a team – then one of the paid plans will be most suitable. But if you want to use Notion as a note-taking tool as an individual, the free plan should be more than sufficient.
Which is Better: Evernote or Notion?
Evernote is a great capturing tool and works well for The Librarian method. That said, you can achieve the same result in Notion – but with more control and flexibility (and usually for free) – so Notion gets our vote.
What’s the Best way to Take Notes in Notion?
It depends on how you want to organize, retrieve and utilize your notes. There are three methods of Notion note-taking: (1) The Librarian, (2) The Connector, and (3) The Business Owner.
Find the method that seems like the best fit for you and give it a go. Keep it simple initially – safe in the knowledge that you’ve chosen a platform with the power to customize your setup down the line.
Get our free Notion Note-Taking Template
Don’t want to build this yourself? Here’s our free Notion template that contains a setup for each of the three methods featured in this article.