How I Use Roam and Notion for Personal Knowledge Management


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 08, 2023

3 min read


How I Use Roam and Notion for Personal Knowledge Management

Personal Knowledge Management is a practice that involves capturing and cultivating ideas and insights encountered in daily life. It allows for the production of more creative and higher quality work. When my grandfather passed away, we discovered a treasure trove of information on his computer. However, the lack of organization made it impossible to navigate through hundreds of Word documents filled with jokes, quotes, and articles. This experience emphasized the importance of organization in knowledge management.

Personal Knowledge encompasses a wide range of information, including book highlights, personal data, meeting notes, and more. The goal is to have systems that make us organized, proactive, and creative. One such system is the Getting Things Done productivity system by David Allen. While some people use Notion for this purpose, I find it more suitable for capturing spark ideas on mobile devices.

In Notion, I utilize the Inbox, where I add every task that comes to mind, regardless of its size. I can assign a date immediately or leave it in the inbox and set a date later. I can also set one-time or recurring tasks and prioritize them accordingly. The Today view is the last page I check in the evening to plan for the following day. The Next 7 Days view provides a sense of upcoming tasks and allows for rearranging dates as needed.

To organize my files, I follow the P.A.R.A. method developed by productivity expert Tiago Forte, which stands for Projects, Areas, Resources, and Archive. However, in Notion, I simplify it to P.A.A. The purpose of collecting and storing notes is to have a wealth of content readily available for creating various forms of content. Personally, I use databases in Notion to keep track of ideas and articles for my writing projects.

When it comes to note-taking, I prefer using Roam over Notion. Roam allows for non-linear thinking, replicating the way our brain works. I don't want to be concerned about folder structures or hierarchy. Instead, I focus on capturing and organizing text notes and highlights in Roam. For online content highlights, I use the Instapaper → Readwise → Roam workflow. However, exporting only highlights from Instapaper is not effective. Similarly, for newsletters and email highlights, I send them to Instapaper and then import them into Roam via Readwise.

Every few weeks, I engage with my notes in Roam by tagging and designing them. This allows me to make the most out of my captured knowledge. For creating high-level outlines, I use Roam in bullet point format. I search for appropriate tags to collect relevant content pieces. While I prefer long-form journaling in Bear, I transfer my writing to Roam weekly. This way, I can easily create pages for each person or location mentioned in my entries and see all the instances where they are mentioned.

In conclusion, Roam and Notion serve different purposes in my personal knowledge management system. I use Roam for capturing and organizing notes, as well as a thinking and creativity tool. On the other hand, I utilize Notion for building productivity and project management systems, as well as storing documents and digital data.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Implement a system for capturing and organizing ideas and insights encountered in daily life. This can be achieved through tools like Roam or Notion.
  • 2. Simplify your productivity system by adopting methods like Getting Things Done to efficiently manage tasks and prioritize them.
  • 3. Engage with your notes regularly by tagging and designing them, allowing for a deeper understanding and application of your captured knowledge.

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