How I Work Right Now (June 2020)

I’m always interested in reading how people work, what type of workflows they have. It’s probably because for so long I felt like I didn’t really have one or the ones I tried didn’t stick with me too long. Now I know why that was the case but it deserves its own post (spoilers: it was undiagnosed ADHD).

Since I’ve been redoing almost all of my workflow, I also wanted to write about it. Not just to say these are the tools I’m using but also have a conversation about it because, like I said, I love talking about tools and workflows.

Roam Research: Currently the backbone of my workflow is Roam Research and I have to thank Johannes for pointing that tool out for me. Other than being the perfect tool for me to research, take notes and manage all that stuff I’ve been doing; it also changed my approach to the tools I’ve been using and how I should be choosing them instead. And I’m not exaggerating when I say that Roam is what I needed because I’ve tried Evernote, Workflowy, Notion, Simplenote,, Google Keep, random text files everywhere, just physical notebooks and many other method and tool you can probably think of —and yes, I also tried the “Roam alternatives” but none of them sticked with me. Only Notion had some potential but it didn’t worked for my own personal case, probably because it’s more team focused.

Task Management: But when it comes to task managing I’m still sticking with Things for pretty simple reasons like reminders, automation, pulling tasks directly from the other tools I’m using etc. Also it’s Upcoming tab with calendar events makes easier for me to see what’s up next.

Reading and Research: It all happens in four main place and a helper to keep things under control.

Newsblur for RSS, which in my case where I mostly keep up with the internets. Also decided to forward news-related newsletters to it so I can only keep personal ones in my inbox.

Pocket to read online articles and highlight, Kindle for most of my book reading. These two basically where “the reading” happens. Other than the paper books of course.

DEVONthink is my own personal library. Most of my research materials and other files I want to keep organized goes inside it.

When I highlight things or take notes in any of them I usually pull them to Roam now. At this point, another tool Johannes recommended comes into play: Readwise. It’s a tool that collects all of my highlights from everywhere you can think of and then I can review them, add tags and notes to them and organize however I want. With that, I organize all that notes from Kindle and Pocket —which otherwise would be left to collect digital dust— and export them to Roam. In DEVONthink’s case, it gives me a really easy way to take all of my annotations and use it however I wish.

Writing: My go-to was Ulysses since I moved to macOS. But both subscription thing and noticing some aspects of it not really working for me, I’ve decided to move to iA Writer. Since I enjoy writing in Markdown and it also makes it easier to export however I want, a tool like that is just what I need. If the thing I’m writing is academic or needs some extra formatting and/or MS Word stuff, I just export it when I’m done and continue from there. And so far, iA Writer does all of these just the way I want. (For example I wrote this in iA Writer and posted it to my blog as a draft.)

Right now the current flow seems working just fine for me. With help of little bit scripting and automation, adjusting some settings here and there and using Alfred‘s powers when I’m on the laptop, I think I’m getting there.

In the meantime, I’m also thinking writing about Roam and my personal experience with it. And then maybe a personal piece on the stuff I mentioned at the beginning.

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