I'm a Christian, a designer, and a gadget fan who lives in Cheltenham, UK.

This is my blog, a creative outlet to mess around and play with as well as a place that logs my thoughts and inspirations.

Roaming around

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.

4 responses

  1. @philbowell I’ve been mean­ing to try roam for a while and plan to this month. I’ve played with obsid­i­an which appears to be the plain text ver­sion of roam (though the details may be sig­nif­i­cant) and Notion but I under­stand your issues with Notion. Set­ting up effec­tive data­bas­es requires a lot of for thought.

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