Since the end of August I’ve been using Roam Research as my notes application. Having tried and played around with Notion but finding it to be too much work to manage anything, I decided to give Roam and it’s freeform notes a try.
I’ve found it to be one of the most intuitive note taking apps I’ve ever come across and have since begun using it for more and more things. It’s not just replaced the notes apps I was trying to use before, it’s become my journal and task manager as well. In fact it’s even starting to grow into my personal CRM as well and I believe it is behind the desire for me to start blogging more because I’m enjoying writing in it so much.
What I like is that is seems to fit the way I think. Despite being a visual person I often find myself taking notes in the form of bullet points. When I’m thinking and working through something on paper I will often write a point and then riff off it with a series of bullet points below.
The two way linking has also been a revelation. One of the things I was trying to use Notion for was a one stop shop for my notes and tasks that related to various projects I’m working on. The databases that make Notion so powerful seemed like a good fit for this, but I found it to be a lot of extra work to maintain. In contrast Roam’s Daily Notes, which I use heavily, helps to give me both context in the form of when something happened as well as an easy way to automatically link to a project.
What has been surprising for me has been how I’ve found it to help me on a deeper level. The fact that I have a daily note open on my screen all day as I work means that when I find myself having to deal with some strong emotions I am able to write them down to help me process them. One thing I am having to learn is to not let my thought patterns spiral. I find it all too easy to get stuck in a particular thought pattern that turns itself over and over in my mind. Having something open all the time lets me process what I’m feeling when I become aware of it helps me to tackle that spiral in a way I’ve not been able to before.
One of my favourite books this year comes from an artist called Charlie Mackesy. I discovered it by accident when I was looking for a Christmas present last December. I bought it and gave that book as a gift for J and she loved it so much she bought me my own copy and I’ve since bought it for my Mum as well. For my birthday this year I got given a print of one the pages from the book. It contains a quote which is something both a couple of friends and my counsellor keep reminding me of:
“Being kind to yourself is one of the greatest kindnesses,” said the mole. It struck me as I was writing this that having the space to process my feelings and let myself feel them is being kind to myself and that perhaps we all need to be a bit kinder to ourselves.