Salon: Effortless Journaling With Roam Research and SmartBlocks

Ramses Oudt
Ramses Oudt
Salon: Effortless Journaling With Roam Research and SmartBlocks

The easiest way to journal consistently is to make it a habit. But how do we form habits and how can Roam help us? That’s something we tried to get an answer to in this Salon.

During this session, I showed how I journal in Roam and how the SmartBlocks plugin helps me to do it consistently. Throughout the demo, the floor was open to ask questions and for people to share their own insights.

Outline as shown in the video

Why journal?

  • Offload your thinking to gain mental space
  • Gain clarity in your ideas
  • Reflect and get feedback
  • Reduce anxiety

Why use Roam for journaling?

  • Makes writing entries frictionless because of the Daily Notes Page
  • Easy to revisit your journal entries, especially when tagged

What are SmartBlocks?

  • A powerful template plugin that adds smart automations to your graph
  • Created by David Vargas (

How I use SmartBlocks to journal

Note to my next day self

  • Reflection on the current day
  • A look to what’s ahead

Interstitial journaling

  • What have I worked on?
  • What will I work on?
  • What do I want to achieve?

Random musings

  • Whatever comes to mind throughout the day.

Templates as shown in the demo

Daily template buttons

- #42SmartBlock Daily
    - {{Fetch note from my yesterday-self:42SmartBlock:Note for myself}}
    - {{Let's interstitial journal:42SmartBlock:Interstitial journal}}
    - {{Let's start musing:42SmartBlock:Musings}}

Note to next-day self template

- #42SmartBlock Note for myself
    - **A note for myself**
        - Note from Previous Day Self
            - {{: ((<%BLOCKMENTIONSDATED:1,NTNDS,Yesterday,Today,NONE%>))}}
        - {{Write a note to my next day self:42SmartBlock:Meta.NTNDS}}
- #42SmartBlock Meta.NTNDS
    - [*](<%DATE:Tomorrow%>) [Note to Next Day Self]([[NTNDS]])

Interstitial journal template

- #42SmartBlock Interstitial journal
    - [[Interstitial Journal]]
        - {{New entry:42SmartBlock:Meta.IJ}}
- #42SmartBlock Meta.IJ
    - <%TIME%>
        - I've done::
            - <%CURSOR%>
        - I'll do::
        - I want::
    - {{New entry:42SmartBlock:Meta.IJ}}

Random musings template

- #42SmartBlock Musings
    - [[Musings]]
        - {{New musing:42SmartBlock:Meta.Musings}}
- #42SmartBlock Meta.Musings
    - <%TIME%>
        - <%CURSOR%>
    - {{New musing:42SmartBlock:Meta.Musings}}

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