Evernote, Notion, Roam — Why and How I am using all of them
I have been an Evernote user since 2008. Every time, I need to find a report, a document, receipts I search in my Evernote and it is there. Once I drag anything into Evernote I know that it is going to be there. The optical character reader (OCR) feature makes life so much easier. I can drag a PDF report in Evernote and can easily search the content of this PDF. This is an immensely valuable feature when your job requires going through numerous pdfs scouting for information. So for me Evernote is not a note taking tool but a repositories of my documents.
Evernote excels at what it is supposed to do and you can trust it to be there when you need it: online, offline, on mobile, on web, on Mac, On Windows.. It is everywhere.
But a lot of things changed in last 12 years. We saw a number of apps coming and threatening Evernote and often excelled at one or another thing that Evernote does. Bear gave a brilliant writing interface; NimbusNote got some style and a few more bells and whistle than Evernote and then came Notion: the lego box that can be a note-taking app, a project management tool, a personal wiki.. the list goes on.
Now, the #RoamCult is taking over. RoamResearch is taking the note-taking to the next level. With its bi-directional linking and networked thoughts, this is something that is not Note-Taking but a learning and knowledge management tool that makes you think and collect knowledge bits without any kind of typology and structures. This is immensely helpful for the content creators and researchers. I work extensively on climate change and different development challenges and often putting a files into a particular structure or folder is very difficult. RoamResearch allows me to do that very well. But RoamResearch is not great for dumping all kind of content like we do in Evernote or for creating beautiful structured personal wiki as Notion.
But Evernote, RoamResearch and Notion together create a perfect knowledge management work-flow and system. My three step workflow is the following:
Step 1: Everything goes into Evernote. Online articles, pdfs, my purchase receipts, critical documents. First landing place for any content. It is reliable, safe and available everywhere. And, the mobile app of Evernote is lightyears ahead of Notion and RoamResearch (in fact RoamResearch does not have a mobile app yet.).
Step 2: Synthesis of compiled content happens in RoamResearch. I review notes in Evernote, highlight them and bring the highlights and notes that I want to further use into RoamResearch. Here I process my notes to create a short summary in my own words. This also turns up into my CRM and ToDo list as it is quite intuitive. I can insert ToDo list and reference to different people easily in Roam.
Step 3: All the finalized content that I create goes into Notion in form of a personal wiki.
So far I am quite good with this flow. But I am looking forward to getting rid of one or other applications if they evolve further become one stop solution for my personal knowledge management.