The realistic student beginner guide to Notion

5 mins read

Notion is a productivity platform with the idea that you can have a singular space for everything. Particularly useful for students, it’s a space to keep everything organised for university.

It’s brilliant for keeping all of your notes from different modules and subjects in one place as well as making weekly to-do lists, meal planners or budgeting pages. 

It is not for everybody but because of how flexible it is, you can make it work for you depending on how your brain works.

First is creating your account. Download the browser version onto your computer and make sure to sign up with your student account as you then get access to Notion for free. 

When you first open Notion it can be incredibly overwhelming and underwhelming considering it opens with a blank page. 

The easiest way to begin to understand Notion is to download other people’s templates. This may sound like cheating but Notion is tricky enough to understand let alone begin to create everything yourself. It simply means it becomes a lot quicker to be productive on Notion as you spend less time trying to make everything look aesthetically pleasing and more time being able to use the platform. You can also see what you like and what you don’t and think of things you hadn’t before on how to use Notion.

You do this by simply looking around on the internet for people who have put their Notion templates online. 

Some creators who have good templates are Nick Lafferty and TwirlingPages as well as the Notion website itself offering a variety of functional pages.

Once you open the link to their page, click the duplicate button at the top and it will automatically place it into your Notion. You can access it via the sidebar on the left and can even move it into different work spaces by simply pulling it around with your mouse. You are then free to edit it to fit what you need, deleting anything or adding anything as necessary.  

The main thing to focus on when creating your own pages and workspaces is understanding the basic building blocks of Notion and then moving on to database, media, inlines and embeds. 

To choose what building block you’d like to put into your page next use the forward slash ‘/’ function and you can then scroll through to the different options. You have to do this every time you want to add anything new to your page. 

Inlines essentially is a link to another page or location within your notion which you can do by using the ‘@’ button or selecting it on the drop down as discussed above. 

Databases are the different views and formats where you can display your information. They are table, board, gallery, list, calendar and timeline. These are very adaptable for your needs and are excellent for different ways to track and keep on top of things.

Media is just different forms of media which you can add to your notion such as images, videos and audios. You do this by taking the link of the form of media and paste it into the embed box after you’ve selected the chosen media in the drop down. Embeds take this slightly further with more specific embed link options like Google Docs. 

The bottom line with Notion is to take some time, think about what you want to track and use it for and mess around. For more visual prompts there are Youtube videos of people showing their own personal Notions.

The most important thing when trying to master it is, just get going and try it.

Featured Image Credit: Parth Shah

Stirling Choir Concert
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Film, Media and Journalism student who writes about things that catch her interest. Instagram @charlsutcliffe

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