Archive of posts with tag 'notes'

Daily Journaling with Morning Pages

September 6, 2022 • #

About a year ago I started experimenting with the idea of a daily journal. From someone within the Roam community, I heard about the concept of Morning Pages, which is a tool for creative writers to build a muscle for generating ideas. Author Julia Cameron defined it in her book The Artist’s Way:

Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages—they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about...

Concept-based Notes and Composable Ideas

November 12, 2021 • #

If a note is an idea, we want to make the idea as atomic as possible, so we can find and stitch them together into an interconnected web of ideas. We want composable building blocks.

Composability helps us stack, mix, and repurpose ideas. To correlate them and find the relationships between them. Prose is an excellent medium for consumption, for diving deep on a particular topic. But with a prose format for documenting ideas (through notes), it’s harder to relate shared ideas across domains. Prose makes ideas easy to expand on and consume, but difficult to decompose into reusable parts....

Image credits: TfT Hacker

How I Plan My Week with Roam

November 4, 2020 • #

For years Todoist was my tool of choice for task management. When Roam came on the scene for me earlier this year, I’d seen pretty compelling methods from the #roamcult for how to manage todos inside of Roam with its TODO feature. It was an intriguing idea: such a fast and simple way to capture things without leaving the current frame.

But it took me a while to go all-in on Roam for tasks. Todoist was so embedded in my muscle memory, especially with its accessible web and cross-platform...

Readwise and Roam Research

September 8, 2020 • #

If I tracked my time spent in software tools, I’m pretty sure over the last 8 months Roam and Readwise would be top of the list.

All of my writing, note-taking, idea logs, and (increasingly) to-dos happen now in Roam. Since getting serious with it around the beginning of the quarantine, I haven’t used any other tool for writing things down.

I discovered Readwise about a year ago and it quickly entered routine use. My backlog of meticulously-kept-but-underused Kindle highlights was immediately made valuable through Readwise’s daily reviews....

Weekend Reading: Notes Meta Layer, PG, and the Trump Era

September 5, 2020 • #

📝 A Meta-Layer for Notes

Julian Lehr raises an interesting idea on taking notes: the importance of spatial context.

💬 PR Interviews Paul Graham

Antonio Garcia-Martinez’s newsletter kicks off with an interview with Paul Graham.

🏛 The Trump Era Sucks and Needs to Be Over

Matt Taibbi is always good for cutting to the chase.

Donald Trump is so unlike most people, and so especially unlike anyone raised under a conventional moral framework, that he’s perpetually...

Tiago Learns Roam

September 2, 2020 • #

Tiago Forte and Conor White-Sullivan call a truce in the Twitter knowledge management feud.

Talk Notes: Spolsky on Pluralism

August 19, 2020 • #

One of my favorite evening activities is watching talks, interviews, and presentations on YouTube. I often take notes on these for myself, so this is an experiment in brushing up those notes and sharing them publicly.

In this 2016 talk, Joel Spolsky presented this talk called “The History of Management” as an internal training session at StackOverflow. Corporate structure dynamics are fascinating. Groups of people have developed new and more effective ways of cooperating throughout history. We started out organizing ourselves in kinship-based tribal groups with spiritual myth-making to rationalize decisions, and have...

Digital Organization with Roam Research

July 24, 2020 • #

YouTube creator Ali Abdaal put together a great extended overview video on Roam. Good examples of the core features of the product, and interesting techniques for how to organize notes.

Library Notes

July 20, 2020 • #

Jumping off from my Friday post on literature notes, I’ve taken the first step here in what will hopefully become something more meaningful over time.

I just finished up filtering back through all my highlights and notes on Matt Ridley’s How Innovation Works over the weekend. Part of what this process helped me figure out is a standard model for organizing literature notes by section, so if I publish the complete notes, they’ll be browsable by part and chapter of any book I have notes for.

Book notes

All I’ve...

Literature Notes for the Library

July 17, 2020 • #

With the last several books I’ve read, I’ve been trying to force myself to work through and document literature notes for my highlights, key ideas, and takeaways from books. Using a process (that perhaps I’ll one day go through in greater detail here) in Roam, I’ll scan through all of my highlights and write up notes on the content, editing it into my own words and phrasing. One of the goals of this process is to increase retention and recall, and as Sonke Ahrens

A System for Publishing Evergreen Notes

May 28, 2020 • #

In Sönke Ahrens’s book How to Take Smart Notes he describes the “zettelkasten” system (the “slip box”) developed by German sociologist Niklas Luhmann. Luhmann created the system to help himself organize notes and thoughts in a networked model rather than a structured hierarchy of folders. The zettelkasten system has a few elements to it to help model different types of notes, how and when you should write them, and how you associate ideas together.

Evergreen notes

The fundamental piece is the “permanent note,” one in which...

Sönke Ahrens on How to Take Smart Notes

May 3, 2020 • #

I’m currently reading his book How to Take Smart Notes, which is based on, and talks a lot about sociologist Niklas Luhmann’s Zettelkasten system.

Roam I and Roam E

April 24, 2020 • #

A neat concept demo from Dhrumil Shah showing possible enhancements for Roam Research. He calls them “Roam-I” and “Roam-E”:

  • Roam-I — for reusing old knowledge
  • Roam-E — collaboration

Most of this is user interface on top of the core technology that underpins how Roam works, but it’s great to see people so passionate about this that they’ll spend this much time prototyping ideas on products they use.

Getting Comfortable with Roam

April 15, 2020 • #

Roam Research has been making the rounds on the internet in the last couple months. I’ve written a little bit here about it, but promised this longer overview of how it’s working for me so far.

What is it?

Roam is a tool for note-taking, described as a tool for “networked thought.” With a glance on Twitter you’ll find all sorts of comparison pieces to Evernote, Google Docs, or Notion. I’ve tried all of those (Notion for quite a bit) and I find the experience of using Roam completely different.


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Weekend Reading: Readwise with Roam, WWI Naval Intelligence, and Interaction Density

April 4, 2020 • #

📖 Readwise2Roam

I’m liking so far the process of manually typing notes in Roam from highlights in my books. Something about it feels more efficient and leaves me with more meaningful, succinct notes. This could come in handy, though, if I want to pull all highlights directly from Readwise (which I’m still loving, use it every day).

How computational power—or its absence—shaped World War naval battles

How the battlecruiser in the early 20th century gave the British a birds-eye view of their fleet before the...

Weekend Reading: Chess, COVID Tracking, and Note Types

March 21, 2020 • #


Tom MacWright on chess. Reduce distraction, increase concentration

Once you have concentration, you realize that there’s another layer: rigor. It’s checking the timer, checking for threats, checking for any of a litany of potential mistakes you might be about to make, a smorgasbord of straightforward opportunities you might miss. Simple rules are easy to forget when you’re feeling the rush of an advantage. But they never become less important.

Might start giving chess a try just to see how I do. Haven’t played in years, but I’m curious.