RoamResearch is a note-taking app based on the Zettelkasten method. Instead of a top-down hierarchy like Evernote or Notion, it uses backlinking to create a network of notes that allow for a structured structurelessness much more akin to how our brains work.
When an idea enters your brain, it doesn’t get organised into a filofax with a header, sub-header and category. It just… enters. And there it is. An idea. Floating around with all the other shit that’s in your head.
And when another idea enters your brain that’s related to it, your brain goes “Hey remember this? Yeah! It’s like that thing you thought of last month!” #coversationswithmybrain
In the same way that an idea enters your brain, a note enters Roam. No folder. No sub-note. No category. It’s just a note. Sitting there. In Roam. And when you add another idea that’s related, Roam’s backlinking brings all those related ideas together in a network of related ideas.
See before, when I dumped “based on [[Zettelkasten]]” on the page and it became a link – well, Roam can show me every other thought I’ve had about Zettelkasten.
Its extremely easy to get started. Sure, there are a ton of features that require a learning curve, but it’s incredibly easy to get started.
Let’s say we’re taking notes on a book we’re reading. Power Stories by Valerie Khoo. In the future I might recall something about this book when I’m thinking of the Author, copywriting, marketing, blogging, business writing or just writing in general.
Roam makes it easy for this one note (and every other note with those ideas) to appear under all those headers. I don’t have to worry about which folder it goes into (Books? Blogging? Copywriting? Eek!) That’s how Evernote works. That’s not how our brains work.
Over time your network builds, and you end up with a graph overview of the interconnectedness of your ideas. You can easily see how your thoughts interrelate. What do a blog post on todo lists, The Myth of Sysiphus, Albert Camus and downscoped contracts have in common? Roam shows you.
I don’t have to worry about which folder it goes into… That’s how Evernote works. That’s not how our brains work.
What using Roam has led to is firstly, I feel like my ideas are far more organised and accessible in this structureless structure than they were when locked away in the folder structure of Evernote.
And far more than just notes (aka Personal Knowledge Management), I’m also using Roam for my upgraded todo list (aka Productivity & Time Management).
I’m writing a TON more, rather than just clicking away things an app presents to me, which feels great.
I’m remembering more, and have stopped feeling like my brain is full. I’m finding it far easier to get things done.
It has its weaknesses, for sure. There’s no mobile app. It has zero integrations. I personally think it’s basically useless for task management, although I use it for my upgraded todo list and I can see how it has some benefits for project management.
There are things you can make it do, but there are other software choices that do it far better.
However, I’ve never started using a piece of software before and only seen how clearly it has improved my personal productivity and brain space. I’m using it for some cool tricky things beyond simple note taking which I’ll get into another time.
But for now, try out RoamResearch while it’s free, and see what it can do for you.