I've been using Notion as my CMS for this website. I used Notion because it was a tool that I used a lot for a lot of things. I used to use Notion for everything from to-do lists to journaling. Not too long ago, Notion came out with an API that you could use to query your Notion data. I thought it would be a great idea to use it as my CMS to host all my content (blogs, TILs and bookmarks). It was great at first but I kept running into issues like Notion updating their API with a breaking change and realizing that there were limitations with the API that I hadn’t initially accounted for. Overall, I felt like I was jumping through a lot of hoops to get everything working. I then looked into dedicated CMS tools that had way more features and “seemed” much easier to work with. All this got me thinking about how using the wrong tool can slow you down.
Using the wrong tool can be detrimental to your progress. It can cost you time and energy and could lead to failure. A lot of students have a hard time excelling in their courses not because they aren't capable to do the work, but because they don’t have the right tools provided to them when attempting to conquer a world that they have no experience with. They have no clue what tools exist out there and how to move forward. Sometimes all that’s needed is someone to show you the ropes. Great teachers teach their students how to learn a subject and not just the subject itself. They provide their students with the tools to become great scholars.
Let's look at some ways to combat this. Some ways to be a better craftsman with the tools we use:
- Being an observer first - Before using a tool yourself, it helps when you are able to observe others using the same tool. You may not know how to use a hammer the first time you hold it, but if you were able to observe and learn from a carpenter, you might save a whole lot of time and fingers.
- Think ROI - A tool may not inherently be good or bad but it might be good or bad for the problem you're trying to solve with it. For example, a hammer is great for a nail but not for a screw. So how do you decide if a tool is good or bad for a certain scenario? Is the tool that helps you get to your goal faster the better one or is it the one that gets you there safer? Think about the return of investment of using a tool. The Mighty ROI. Think about the pros and cons of using a tool. Is it going to get you there faster? Does it cost more? Is it lighter and easier to use?
- Learn from bad tools - If you try something and it doesn't work, that’s okay. Take the opportunity to find a tool that has strengths in those weaknesses. Be willing to start over. You can’t learn something new without letting go of your preconceived biases. Sometimes you need to take the wrong tools, paths and formulas to understand what works and what doesn't.
After giving all this thought, I decided to just stick with Notion as my CMS for now 😅. Notion gives me the ROI I need. Yes, I could maybe be a little more efficient with a dedicated CMS like Sanity, but I don’t have a good enough reason to do that just yet.