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I just tested ten personal CRM apps.

I couldn’t have finished this series of tests without mentioning my original attempt at using Roam as a PRM. I am not satisfied with my solution, or I wouldn’t have invested considerable time looking for an alternative. However, it’s not all bad.

I figured I’d share my experience.

The benefits of having a single source of truth.

Roam is my knowledge management system.

I keep in it anything I deem worth saving for later. In this context, it seemed practical to keep track of my contacts in Roam and gain the ability to instantly locate notes related to them. Every person I meet has a page linking to every mention of them in my notes.

I add to it any additional information I need.

Staying in touch with spaced repetition.

One of my central needs is setting reminders to keep in touch.

Roam offers a function it calls ∆ that instantly moves a block to a future date, specifying how far in the future and repeating this each time the ∆ button is clicked. In other words, I can type a person’s name, set ∆ to 30 days, and I’ll find that person’s mention in my daily note a month from now.

It’s almost like magic.

There is such thing as too much freedom.

Roam’s flexibility is its major quality.

I love not having to figure out upfront where I should put a note and rely on connecting thoughts afterward. It is extremely efficient with unstructured blocks of text. However, I also discovered that it is limiting when dealing with data that would benefit from a database structure. Everything relies too heavily on my remembering to type the right information in the right places. It’s also impossible to keep contacts synchronized with any other data source other than manually.

I aim to reduce the number of tools I use, as each introduces new points of failure. I also know that everything becomes a nail if all you have is a hammer.