How I capture everything quickly in Roam Research during my day in venture capital

The key to a calm mind is to know everything I need to think about or do is captured.

No open loops in my mind. All open loops are captured and stored so that I can step into them at a good time to address them adequately.

I use Roam Research for this. Read my earlier primers here if you don’t know what Roam is. Here is my current setup.

#1: Add an inbox to the daily flow template

I have a template that runs my day.

  • I create an [[Inbox]] block at the top of this so that it is always close. When I think of something during the day, and my laptop is handy, I add a new nested block with the TODO for the new item. I spend no time tagging or organising because the objective is to be fast.
  • I have added a block to my morning routine to remind me to process my inbox each day.

#2: Capture Slack and Emails

I capture loops that open in Slack and email using Roam-bot and Zapier. Who else has that problem when a Slack message needs you to take action, but you know you will forget as soon as you open the next channel?

  • Zapier: We use Zapier to automate hundreds of workflows in our firm. Zapier can grab slack messages or emails and do something with them. https://zapier.com/
  • Roam-bot: My zaps are sent to Roam-bot (separate app). Roam-bot then inserts them into my Roam graph tagged with [[Inbox]]. Note: Roam-bot is a paid app at 8 Euros per month. https://roam-bot.com/

#3: Capture wandering thoughts

This is my favourite. While walking the dog or driving the car, I need a solution to capture ideas. Here’s how I do it.

  • Phonetonote: I set up this separate app to allow me to send text messages to a phone number. These messages are added to my Roam graph under my [[Inbox]]. Phonetonote is free for ten messages and $10 / month after that. https://phonetonote.com/
  • Apple Watch: I have configured an Apple Shortcut on my watch that is on my watch faces as a ‘Complication’ that I can click to dictate a message into my wrist that lands in my [[Inbox]] in Roam.

#4: Show it all when you need to review

I use a Roam query to show all items in my [[Inbox]].

#5: Triage each morning

Each morning I Shift + Click my [[Inbox]] to show everything I captured yesterday.

  • I tag each item with specific projects, areas, dates etc.
  • I then rename that day’s [[Inbox]] to [[Inbox — Done]], and the inbox is removed from the list. All items will now appear when and where I need them.

This is what I do to capture everything in my world. You may use different apps you need to capture, but most things connect with Zapier these days. Hopefully, this post provides some ideas about how you might build your own.

If you need help, ask me on Twitter — @philmorle

I am also happy to share markdown files of my templates if you DM me.

I’m building out loud. Subscribe here.

Read this post and more on my Typeshare Social Blog

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Phil Morle

Phil Morle

2.6K Followers

Deep tech VC — Main Sequence Ventures. Ecosystem builder. Maker. Director. Startup Scientist.