Productivity tools are a great way of managing your workflow and keeping tabs on all your ongoing projects and collaborating with team members and clients. There are many options to choose from when selecting such a tool.
This article sets out to explore two of the best on the market, Notion and Todoist.
What is Notion?
Notion has been described as a software ‘Swiss Army Knife’ it is a complete solution for many facets of business organization. Many of the functions that Notion can perform would have involved separate software solutions in the past. It has tools to do everything from finances to web page design.
What is Todoist?
As you may have gathered from the name Todoist is at its heart a to do list application. But to call it this isn’t doing it any justice. Todoist is a complete workflow manager that can be used to track all your projects and tasks. These are stored in organized lists which can be viewed in different ways.
Notion is a complete toolkit, historically the problem with software solutions like this is that while they cover all the bases they fail to excel in any particular task. Notion have largely addressed this and developed and built an effective bit of software that has got a lot going for it.
In this section we will look at some areas where Notion has nailed it.
Customizable and Flexible
One of the standout features of Notion is just how customizable it is. The architecture of the software means that every element you create is done by using a block. These blocks can be anything from a table to a note and much more. With this method it is possible to build a complete organizational system tailored to fit your exact needs.
Lots of Templates
When building any element in Notion there is a huge variety of templates to choose from to customize the look and feel of your system.
Great Note Taking
Unlike many systems where note taking functions are limited, in Notion you can create notes that are as complex as any other element. You have full text formatting,
lists, you can add sound or video and you can also create them using the supplied templates.
In Notion you can view your data in multiple ways that include List, Table, calendar and Kanban views.
Works on Any Platform
With a downloadable for phones and tablets, Notion will work on all Windows and Mac computers and all smart devices.
Notion integrates fully with Google calendars and Google Drive.
Other Notion Pros
- Free Version – There is a free version, limited to one user.
- Lots of Widgets – You can add Calendars, checklists, galleries, project boards, tables and more to your pages.
- Complete Toolkit – Can fulfill functions that usually take more than one app to perform.
While perhaps not as flexible as Notion, Todoist is still a highly rated software solution in the productivity and workflow niche. A large customer base is testament to the popularity and success of the software.
In this section we consider some of the software’s strong points.
Highly Customizable Interface
The interface can be as simple or as complicated as a user requires without affecting the overall collaboration between users. Those who use more features can have them at their fingertips while other users may prefer simpler interfaces.
Works and Syncs across multiple platforms
With apps available for iOS and Android and the obvious browser-based version the software can be used on any platform.
Great for Tracking Tasks
With its roots in the concept of to-do lists it is no wonder that one of top features of this software is its ability to enable users to keep track of the progress of tasks and projects.
Integration with Google Calendar
With your Google Calendar integrated with Todoist, any event that is entered in the calendar automatically becomes a task in Todoist and vice-versa.
With integrations available for apps like Evernote, Zoom, Trello, Slack and Zapier amongst others, Todoist is compatible with more apps than most of its competitors.
Other Todoist Pros
- Project Sectioning – You can create different task lists for separate parts of the same project.
- Clean and Intuitive Interface – The default UI in Todoist is simple to learn and use.
- Free Version – handle up to 8 projects with 5 people per project in the free version.
There is no such thing as a perfect piece of software, compromises are always made. When considering the complexity of Notion it would be easy for there to be too many compromises, however this isn’t the case. But there are still some niggles to be looked at.
Customization at a Cost
For those who like to tinker with their software, this really isn’t a problem. However, for those wanting something that requires a minimum amount of time spent on the set-up procedure then the complexities of setting up Notion could be an issue.
The flexibility of the software is really the double-edged sword here. Because it is so customizable, it takes more work to set up and at this stage for most users there is a bit of a learning curve.
Limited Free Version
When comparing products one factor that should always be considered is the cost. The free version that Notion offers is really only useful for personal use. Even their first paid version is just an upgraded personal version and costs $4 per month. The Pro version at $8 per user per month is the first practical version for teams.
Search System Could be Better
Searching for Keywords within Notion is absolutely fine. However, when it comes to using filters and custom tags to search for data then it is a bit of a letdown. Despite being able to add custom tags to any element within a page or block, there is no option to filter on these tags.
It isn’t a bad app, but it could be better. Navigation can be tricky and some users have reported that it is easy to accidentally delete items when working within the app.
The cons of any piece of software are very often subjective. When considering both these offerings, it feels a bit like that. Sure, they both have niggles but there isn’t really a deal breaker in either of the apps, they both do what they set out to do with great aplomb. Nevertheless, here are some of the cons that we have discovered in Todoist.
No Calendar View
It seems a strange omission this one, particularly as the software quite happily syncs with many third-party calendars. But if you want to see your tasks and appointments for the coming weeks or months you need to use the calendar view form the app you are syncing with.
Limited Collaboration Functions
For larger teams, the limited nature of this aspect of the software might make it unsuitable. It’s not that it doesn’t offer any collaboration features, but there are software apps on the market that handle this aspect better.
Issues include the structure and layout of projects not always being shared along with the project, and unintuitive creation of new projects and the team members involved.
Limited Free Version
Todoist’s free version is too limited in functionality to be of much use for anything other than a demo really. It is fine if all you want to do is create a ‘To-Do-List’ but that’s about it.
If you are looking for more complex tasks like labels, comments, filters, and file uploads, then the paid version is a must. It is a useful option for those just wanting to get a feel for the software, but for serious productivity then the pro-option is essential.
Each project has a task limit of 300, while this is ample in most instances, for more complex projects this number could easily be hit.
Glitchy Windows 10 App
Although this is easily overcome by just using the browser version on a Windows 10 computer, the fact that the native Windows 10 App is unreliable and even missing some features will be a problem for some people.
Advantages that Notion has over Todoist.
In this section we are going to look at some areas where Notion has the upper hand over Todoist.
Better Note System
The note system in Notion is as good as, if not better, than many proprietary note taking apps. If note taking is a feature that you envisage using heavily, then Notion is by far the better option.
Whilst many note-taking features in these types of program offer fairly limited functionality, thanks to Notion’s block architecture, the note taking system offers as many options as most good word processors.
Within the Notion Note system you can use headers, bullet points, toggle list, and links. Todoist does offer note taking functions, but by comparison they are limited in scope.
Want to build a web page and monitor the financial aspect of a project? The beauty about Notion is that it can do all this and just about any other task you would desire of it.
The underlying architecture of the system is such that you can build an entire project management system that is customized to fit your needs exactly.
Better Viewing Options
Many users love the viewing options that are available within Notion. Any page can be viewed as a gallery, list, board, database, table or calendar. This is great for those who like to analyze their data as the visual references that can be gleaned from these options can offer great insights.
For those who are creating creative type projects then the ability to embed images and videos directly into any page is also a great tool when it comes to viewing the progress of projects.
Better Free Version
This really only applies to those who are looking for a personal organizer or are a one-person operation, but if that is you then the range of features that the free version offers is far superior than the Todoist option.
Advantages that Todoist has over Notion
Easier to Use
While Notion offers more customization possibilities by far, this comes at a cost, it can be tricky to get started with Notion, particularly if setting up complex systems. Todoist, by contrast, is a far simpler app to get started with.
Todoist plays to its strengths, at its heart it is a task management and productivity tool and by keeping to these fields and building a clever and intuitive User-Interface it has developed an app that does what it set out to do in an easy-to-use fashion.
If you are looking for an app that offers much in the way of integrations, then Todoist is the better choice between these two projects. Todoist has integrations with many of the top applications including Slack, Zapier, Evernote, Google Calendar and Drive as well as most of the major email clients.
Better Pricing Structure
If Budget is a consideration, then Todoist wins hands down. Whilst they both offer free versions and the Notion free version is more fully featured, once it comes to purchasing the pro version then Todoist is a cheaper option.
When we consider the pricing ranges Notion offers a starting price of $4 per month. This is still a package that is restricted to a single user and is described as ‘Personal Pro Plan’. It is only the pro plan that offers support for multiple users and this is priced at $8 per user per month.
By contrast, Todoist prices start at $3 per user per month and even its top ‘For Teams’ package costs $5 per user per month.
Who Should Use Notion?
Notion is a great package for those who like to tinker with their system until they have it set up exactly as they like. The sheer amount of customization that this app offers is head and shoulders above any similar tool on the market.
It is also great for personal use as the free package is more than adequate to suit most people’s needs.
It is also an ideal choice for people who want to avoid jumping from app to app to achieve tasks, as it pretty much does everything you want under one roof.
Who Should Use Todoist?
If you are looking for a simple to use task manager that doesn’t need much setting up yet is still a powerful tool, then Todoist should certainly be an app to consider. Also, its wider range of integrations would mean this would be a better choice for those people already using platforms like Trello or Slack.
If you don’t need all the bells and whistles that Notion offers, then the simplicity and ease of use that Todoist offers would make this a fantastic option.
Which is Better for Project Management?
Two different design approaches and philosophies have resulted in two distinctly different ways to achieve the same set of goals. Much of this choice is going to be down to the complexity of the project and the work you are willing to put in to get the system up and running.
For simpler projects with limited associated tasks then Todoist probably just nudges it, with its superior ease of use. However, if you are undertaking complex projects with multi-tasks and associated deadlines and milestones, and you don’t mind putting in the effort to fine tune your system, then Notion is by far the better option.
Which is Better for Note Taking?
Notion. It is as simple as that, the Note taking options within this app are far superior than those available within Todoist. Notion has the complete set of layout and formatting options that are normally associated with word processors, also what you can do with the notes and the flexibility of making any element a note, far outweighs what Todoist offers in this sphere.
Which is Better for Collaboration?
Notion again is the better choice in this category. Todoist is fairly limited in what features are available as far as Collaboration goes. For each task you can collaborate by assigning the task, adding comments, setting reminders and using lists and filters to manage workflow.
Notion can do all this and more, you can use the block building system to create team wikis, upload and share files, have multiple users synchronously edit the same file and much more.
Pricing: Notion vs Todoist
- FREE Plan (aka “Personal”)
- Personal Pro 4$
- Team 8$
- Enterprise 20$
- FREE plan (Basic)
- Premium 4$
- Business 5$
Conclusion: our Final Verdict is…
These are both fantastic bits of software and they both have loyal user bases that sing their praises. Ultimately when it comes down to choosing between the two, most of the choice is going to be down to how functional you want your app to be and how easy it is to use.
If you are simply looking for an easy-to-use system that complements other enterprise software applications that you currently use, then Todoist would be the better choice.
However, for those wanting to set up a complete business organization tool that needs to be flexible then the better choice here is Notion.
Want to read more about Notion and other tools like Trello, Asana, OneNote, Basecamp…?
Have a look at our Notion “vs” software reviews here: