RoamFM

Mike Schmitz: Faith-Based Productivity and Sketch Notes (V1)

November 22, 2020 Norman Chella Season 1 Episode 15
RoamFM
Mike Schmitz: Faith-Based Productivity and Sketch Notes (V1)
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RoamFM
Mike Schmitz: Faith-Based Productivity and Sketch Notes (V1)
Nov 22, 2020 Season 1 Episode 15
Norman Chella

In this episode we talk with Mike Schmitz, who is a productivity nerd (as written on his website), loves reading books and enjoys making things.

He is currently the Executive Editor at The Sweet Setup, a website where you can discover the best apps and workflows for your iPhone, Mac and iPad, as well as Co-Host of the Focused Bookworm and Intentional Family podcasts.

His website, faith based productivity talks about his intersections: the amazing tips, tricks and principles of productivity, and his faith from his sermon sketch notes, as well as his Bible study notes. Mike combines all of this in Roam.

We talked about: 

  • Mike's origin story and how he became a productivity coach from writing so much and combining it with faith
  • The impact of his sermon sketch notes, as well as his quotes and passages from the Bible
  • His Roam workflows and observations + how he pools emails as a to-do on Rome.
  • The meaning of faith-based productivity and the true definition of hustle
  • 'Cult' which can be an uncomfortable word used to describe loyal users of a tool

Enjoy!

Links

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/normanchella)

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode we talk with Mike Schmitz, who is a productivity nerd (as written on his website), loves reading books and enjoys making things.

He is currently the Executive Editor at The Sweet Setup, a website where you can discover the best apps and workflows for your iPhone, Mac and iPad, as well as Co-Host of the Focused Bookworm and Intentional Family podcasts.

His website, faith based productivity talks about his intersections: the amazing tips, tricks and principles of productivity, and his faith from his sermon sketch notes, as well as his Bible study notes. Mike combines all of this in Roam.

We talked about: 

  • Mike's origin story and how he became a productivity coach from writing so much and combining it with faith
  • The impact of his sermon sketch notes, as well as his quotes and passages from the Bible
  • His Roam workflows and observations + how he pools emails as a to-do on Rome.
  • The meaning of faith-based productivity and the true definition of hustle
  • 'Cult' which can be an uncomfortable word used to describe loyal users of a tool

Enjoy!

Links

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/normanchella)

Norman Chella:

we talk with Mike Schmitz, who is a productivity nerd, which he writes on his website, loves reading books and enjoys making things. He is currently the executive editor at this sweet setup, the website where you can discover the best apps and workflows for your iPhone Mac and iPad, as well as co-host of the focused bookworm and intentional family podcasts. his website, faith based productivity talks about his intersections. The amazing tips, tricks and principles of productivity and his faith from his sermon sketch notes, as well as his Bible study notes. Mike combines all of this in Rome. So in this episode, we talk about Mike's origin story, how he became a productivity coach from writing so much and combining it with faith, the impact of his sermon sketch notes, as well as his quotes and passages from the Bible on his workflows and observations and his Rome ORC flow, quite extensive of a number of queries and understandings with one interesting use of pooling emails as a to-do on Rome. we talked about the meaning of faith based productivity and the true definition of hustle and the meaning of cult, which can be quite an uncomfortable word to be used to describe loyal users of a tool. But. Mike has some other thoughts concerning this. and I understand his point of view. So without further ado, let's dive into this wide ranging chat with Mike Schmitz. have faith based productivity. Mr. Mike Schmitz. Oh, and you want it to cup in as well.

Mike Schmitz:

I've been, I've been recording. So for, for editing sake, I can make it easier for you if we count down and clap.

Norman Chella:

Okay. Well, it doesn't matter if I've already clapped it in any way and I can always just sync with the zoom. So might as well from that minor. Miss clap, mr. Mike Schmitz. Welcome to aroma FM. How are you doing

Mike Schmitz:

I'm doing great. I'm glad to be here. I've been listening to some of your past episodes and I feel like I am not as good at Rome as some of these people that you've had on your show so far, but I will do my best.

Norman Chella:

Oh, no, don't worry. I mean, we're not here to like, try to compete with each other in terms of workflows or anything like that. It's really just a broad range of use cases. And I'm really curious about yours since I've read a few of the articles that you've learned about Rome, uh, Not only like some of the little videos that you do here and there on your own website, but also on sweet setup, which I will get into, because I'm really, really curious about that. But before we get right into the nitty gritty of Mike Schmitz, the productivity coach based on faith based productivity, there has to be a dark times, which is what we know when he call the times before we discovered Rome. I'm really curious about this, um, about your origin stories in. Your interest in productivity, how did you get it to the world of productivity? And from there stumble into the tool that is around research. Okay.

Mike Schmitz:

Oh, wow. Okay. So the short version, I guess. Is that I was working for a family computer software business, and just decided that I needed something a little bit different, started writing and publishing to my personal blog. Did that like every day for two weeks, getting up at 5:00 AM before I went into the office within a couple of weeks, had a small body of work and then reached out to a site that I was reading at the time, Asian efficiency. They had posted, they were looking for to hire somebody. And I said, not interested in a job, but how about guest posting? I said, well, we don't really do that, but if you have any things, send it our way. So I sent them my blog, which I started two weeks earlier and they. Got back to me and said, this is really good. We tell God a lot of the same mindsets, uh, read a lot of the same books. So we want to give this a shot led to bigger projects, eventually a full-time position with them. Where I had been there for several years had been part of the team that started the productivity show podcast over there. Uh, I had started to do some of my own stuff. The focus podcast with David Sparks, the bookworm podcasts I do with And about a year and a half ago, uh, was go from there and took a full-time position with the suite set up. So that's my main gig right now. I'm an executive, uh, executive editor at the sweet setup where we play in test and recommend Apple hardware and software as part of my job over there. No Roman research came on my radar and a friend of mine was telling me about, and he showed it to me, did a great demo. And I was like, well, that's kind of cool, but. Honestly, you're the kind of guy who gets excited about every new app. And we'll see if this sticks so months go by, he's still excited about it. I look at it again and I'm just like, I don't get it. Like, why do I want to use this? Which is why I say I'm bad at Rome, because it took me a really long time. I watched the video, but Thomas Frank, and how he kind of used it to synthesize some book notes. I'm like, well, that's cool. But I got my own book notes workflow, and that's not really going to work for me. And so I'd seen a lot of demos, heard a lot about it and was just kind of like, nah, I don't want to use that. And then I got this idea because on top of all the regular stuff, I went back to Bible college and got a degree for funsies. So I have always kind of wanted to take all the notes from my personal Bible study and create like a cross-reference library. And so like I take notes on the sermons that I hear and jot down a verse and then being able to connect those to other verses, like, if you have a physical Bible, for example, we'll have next to the verses another verse that pertains to it. And you can flip to that verse and kind of follow the chain of, uh, the thought process there. Uh, so that's the answer version. And I was like, Hmm, maybe I can do this in Rome. And that's the moment that it clicked for me. I had that, that project. And like, this is what I want to build. Well, Rome, let me build this. And obviously, yes, Rome, let me build that. And then from there I've been kind of finding additional use cases for it. Uh, but I still feel like it takes me a really long time to get stuff, uh, built inside of a room. I feel like I'm still just kind of scratching the surface with it, but am happy. Definitely with the, uh, the things that I've been able to make it through so far.

Norman Chella:

Yeah so far. And it sounds pretty interesting because it feels like you've only just found how it can fit into what you're doing. Once you find a need currently, as in you tried to do everything analog first, or you've tried to do everything with, or you've tried to work on this idea with everything else you've had at the moment. And then you're like, okay, well, Well, what about Rome? And then you realized maybe it's just how powerful it is, even if it is like you say, scratching the surface. I don't think like many people who are users of Rome research, they don't use every single feature or they don't use every single tool. Like the way that a lot of users I see at least is that there's a huge. Like a pie chart and the majority of the users would just stick it to say note taking and to extent by directional linking, which is more than enough, like it's already mindblowing to do that, for example, cross-referencing or to do something else for whatever. Uh, so whatever activity they're doing, but, um, I'm curious, I only just going to stick to having Rome as a cross-reference library or are you exploring other like other tasks? Oh,

Mike Schmitz:

I've, I've gotten more stuff into a, to Rome and that's kinda the thing that got me into it. And then once I got into it, I realized there's a lot of value in having all of these things connected. So Rome has some task management features, which I wrote off right away, because I'm like, well, there's due dates. There's no start dates like a tool like OmniFocus, which I had been using for years. Uh, we are also though in the middle of a global pandemic, so I've been rethinking everything. And part of the thing, one of the things that has really helped me regain some. So not peace of mind regarding just the general sense of overwhelmed with everything going on has been to start using analog tools. So I have a fancy notebook that I write out my five tasks for the day time block my day. And, uh, on the sweet setup, I wrote about how, like, that was something that I was committing to. And at the same time I was experimenting with Rome. So I've kind of landed on this thing where as I'm going through my day, everything that I think about. And I capture goes in that notebook using one of my fancy pens. I've got a whole big, fancy pen collection on my desk. You're too. Uh, but then at the end of the day, everything, this is kind of loosely based on the bullet journal system. So the bullet journal system is kind of built on the idea. It's completely analog, it's in a notebook and it's built on this idea of intentional friction where you jot something down to capture it and then you have to transfer it somewhere else. And the act of transferring it somewhere else is less efficient, but that means you're more ruthless in cutting out the things you don't really want to do. When I was using a digital task manager, it was easy to just add things down and focus, add things down, only focus, add things, Tami focused, and then you have 3000 tasks you go in there and you're like, Oh, I'm so overwhelmed. I'm so far behind. I don't want to touch it.

Norman Chella:

same for me.

Mike Schmitz:

Yeah. So I am, again, I'm not, not at the bar point where I can say like, this is really clicking for me yet, but I'm starting to put all my tasks and rooms starting to use queries to show like the ones that are unscheduled, the ones that are coming up. I really like being able to assign a date to something and have it show up at the bottom of my daily notes. So kind of my workflow at the moment for getting things done is to open up Rome. I have this text expander snippet. I use to expand like a bunch of sliders and use like the daily questions from Marshall Goldsmith and triggers. And then below that, you know, all the linked references it'll show all the tasks that are are due today. And, uh, so I'll pull those, write them down in my notebook and then work off of that. Everything that I captured throughout the day, then it goes back to Rome at the end of the day. And, uh, I really liked the ability to tie, you know, the tasks, the articles that I'm writing, the sermon notes, all the book notes, like all of those things together, being able to link them together is really powerful. Uh, I think just between the book notes and the sermon notes, like, that's really the thing for me. Like I, I read a lot of productivity books and I get all these ideas and then I try to. Uh, I try to map that up with. Uh, I'm, I'm a Christian, so it's all Bible based, but I map it up with the, my study of the scriptures and that's kind of how faith based productivity came to BS. I saw a lot of like overlap there. And so being able to connect those things is really important to me. And I see every day I see new ways to do that inside of Rome. Like. Building a CRM inside a roam is something that I'm going to be playing with. And I liked the idea of like having a task that you're waiting for somebody, and then you can tag their specific record and have all of their information right there. That's super powerful.

Norman Chella:

Yeah. Referencing, especially when you have a CRM and you can assign that to either tasks and or projects or things you're working on. And then have that context within which is. This context or this task has these relevant people involved. Right. And you don't have to have it written actually into task itself, but the fact that it's already referenced and you have these people to refer to later on, it's like really powerful or it's like one of the more subtle uses of a link reference since it helps you to focus and to know where to go next, in case you need help from somebody else or who to refer to for, uh, for later on, uh, to backtrack a bit. I actually, wasn't going to ask about faith-based productivity because I don't want to make any guesses since it seems like you're going to, uh, do a little bit of overlap between productivity, either principles and or tips and tricks and methods with your faith, which is Christianity. And this studies that you've done with all the scriptures that you've, um, that you've compiled into Rome. So as someone who. Let's just say, not that attuned with the Christian faith, even though technically, technically I am, but let's just say I'm not that well, a studious in the Bible. Um, what are some of the overlaps, because I'm going in with the massive assumption that they have no overlap, but I would love to be proven wrong. And I would love to see like, is there really such a big barrier between productivity and faith? Okay,

Mike Schmitz:

well, this is a quite a can of worms to open, but

Norman Chella:

let's go for it. I'm ready for it.

Mike Schmitz:

believe there's a ton of overlap kind of the thing. So the reason I started writing in the first place, which got me connected with Asian deficiency was I had gone to Bible college. I had this degree, I was actually teaching a personal management course. And I was doing personal study for that course. And kind of the thing that stood out to me was there's this passage in Matthew chapter 25, where it talks about the parable of the talents and basically it's stewardship. And you can see from that passage that different people got given a certain amount of money, basically that, and then the person that gives them the money goes away. He's like here, take care of this for me. Uh, one person gets one talent. One person gets two, one person gets five and that represents basically money. And in Bible times, and he comes back and he's like, what did you guys do with what I gave you? And the person that got five doubled it, the person that got two doubled it, the person that got one went, hit it in a hole. And that's the guy who got in trouble, Mike Schmitz version. Uh, but if you dig into it, you can see there's, there's subtle differences in how they. Acted with the talents that they were given. So it says like the person who got five, he went and got to work immediately. He didn't put off until, you know, right before the guy got back to, to do something with it. He, he was intentional about it from the moment that it was entrusted to him. And so I kind of believe that we're joining a story in progress here. And the principle is that if you do a good job with what you've been given, like more will be given to you. And so the principle that the math at the end of this story is that everything gets doubled. So you combine that with like the compound effect, which is really popular in productivity circles. And it's really the heart of any sort of self-improvement is like you do these little things over and over and over again. And then the compound effect kicks in. If you start going to the gym every day, you know, the, for the first month or two, you see absolutely no change. And then it's like all of a sudden, it just takes off as long as you are consistent with it. So I personally believe that God is serious about productivity, and he's going to ask me when I get, when I get, when I'm done, what did you do? What did you do with what I gave you? And I want to be able to say I did the very best I could with what you gave me and there's. There's a lot more nuance to it. You know, it's not just working all the time. It's not a hashtag hustle, but you think about, uh, it's really about being intentional and being effective. That's one of the things I've kind of landed on over the last several years is that efficiency has its place. But it's really not that important. Uh, what's really important is doing the right thing at the right time. Uh, if you can be effective, you know, efficiency is going to take care of itself. Uh, efficiency will help you do things, help you complete tasks, uh, more quickly, but without any, any thought to effectiveness. And should I be doing this thing in the first place? It, the, the. The work is still going to grow to the time that you have allotted to it. So I see a lot of people who are like, yeah, efficiency, efficiency, and they, they want to crank through stuff and then they just fill it with more time-wasters and that's not, that's gonna make you worse off actually, because now you've increased the efficiency. And as long as you keep cranking that dial, you know, you're bringing it tighter and tighter, and then eventually someone's gonna

Norman Chella:

yeah. Or we burn out or we realized just how wrong we were, even though we were so efficient, we were going in the wrong direction. It wasn't something that we were meant to prioritize. And, uh,

Mike Schmitz:

Exactly.

Norman Chella:

uh, yeah, I I've had first firsthand experience with that and I think I am regretting it a lot. Um, and it's great to know that you're able to. See the connections like even before, like, even if Rome isn't even there, like to be able to see those connections between, um, scriptures in Christianity and the principles behind productivity, you can still uncover that within these writings, which is fantastic. Like even if we have, you know, many different kinds of narratives, many different kinds of, uh, stories that allow us to see ourselves put into shoes of those characters within DS moments, um, It helps us figure out like, okay, this is more important. Like, okay. It just, it goes to your Dick, you can do it fast. Doesn't mean you're doing it. Right. Right. Like, and especially on the point of efficiency, not always having to be there all the time, like rest is also one of the greatest productivity hacks ever and in the world of, yeah. And in the world of hustle culture, And I see this a lot in Twitter where a lot of research people are on Twitter as well. Just some overlap with like tech, Twitter, or VC, Twitter, or whatever. Um, hustle culture is like everywhere. It's, it's really bad. Like it's actually extremely unhealthy to promote overwork as the norm, even though in the word itself over work means work beyond the capability of your body. Like who, who taught us that it's insane. Yeah.

Mike Schmitz:

Yeah, well, I should, I should clarify here because my book is actually called thou shalt hustle, but I have a different, I have a different definition of the term, and I know I'm not going to win back the word from the Gary V's of the world, but the term hustle actually means to force to move Hurley or unceremoniously in a specified direction. And I believe you can break that down into three, three components. There's the, the force, the work. And that's what everybody sees. That's what people think of when they think of hustle. And then there is the unceremoniously part, the hurriedly part. It doesn't mean you're working really fast or working all the time. It means that you've got a mission and you don't care if anybody's watching you because it's important to you. And then there's the vision, ultimately the destination that you want to arrive at. And, uh, if you're going to, uh, to hustle effectively, it's kind of like, Getting in the car and going on a trip, you've gotta first, you gotta work backwards. You gotta start with the destination where you want to end up. Then you can figure out the route that you're going to take. And once you know where you're going and how you're going to get there, then you get in the car and you hit the gas. Uh, but as it pertains to Rome, uh, I want to actually talk about something that you. You and Ali talked about in one of, one of your episodes about creativity, uh, because, uh, talking about the overlap and the intersection of things, this is kind of the thing for me is, uh, I never really thought that I was creative either. And it was the, the connection of the ideas that. Really convinced me that I could be a, I read a book called steal, like an artist by Austin Kleon. And before that I was like, well, I can't create anything original. I'm just not creative. I like to play guitar. And I sing on the worship team at my church and I like to write songs and I would write a song. And then I realized, like I ripped off the melody line from this other song when I would hear it on the radio. And I'm like, ah, man, I can't create anything. And then Austin, that really Austin Kleon his book. And he basically said that when you create something really all you're doing. Is you're connecting the dots in a way that hasn't been done before. So all the dots, preexist, all the dots are there. And when I read that, it was kinda like, okay, creativity is a formula. Now I just gotta collect more dots. That is where Rome is really valuable for me, I think is it shows you how you can connect those dots. So I can read all these books and I can study my Bible and I can have all these experiences and, and on one F one level, I am connecting those dots. Then they're in my head and that's for a long time been good enough for me. He's like, I'm collecting these dots of whatever comes out, then that's the natural output. So I don't have to judge. This creation as good or bad anymore. It's just, these are the dots I collected. So this is the thing that I made. But Rome for the first time has given me a visual way to connect those dots. And. Seeing that is really powerful. And it just kinda reinforces, uh, what you were mentioning a little bit earlier about the connection and an intersection of all these things. Because I think we tend to, we tend to think of things in buckets and even our lives in buckets. I've got, um, I'm this way, I'm this person over here when I'm wearing this hat and I'm this person, or this way over here, when I'm doing something else. And that's not really true, like you just are who you are and you are the sum total of your experiences. And if you want to create a better future wholeheartedly, believe that start collecting better dots, you know, start doing the right things today. And the squirrel take care of itself because those things will connect. And Rome is really cool because it allows me to jump between them and, and make those connections.

Norman Chella:

Yeah. It's like an accelerator, really? Because even with that Rome's existence, if you, if you had the right systems, if you had the right shift in thinking, if you had maybe the right definition of creativity or anything like that, you can collect dots. And you can sit down and focus and think, okay, how can I connect and marry a and B and B and C and D and B, and all of that. And Rome feels like a really good, I'm not sure what's the right word to describe here. Uh, and maybe you could help me out. Like Earl is like a really good interface or a screen to just throw all these dots in front of me. And I can perform like creative surgery. It's like, let me get like an operation with all these dots. And you're like, okay, what happens if I tried this right. And I linked them, what happens if I tried this, I linked them. What have I referred this block to here? What can I see? What will I visualize? Like, what are the possibilities? And a lot of how Rome is sold. I'm still, I still disagree with a lot with how Rome is depicted and maybe we can dive into that,

Mike Schmitz:

part.

Norman Chella:

that yes, the note, the note taking part, right. It's, it's way more than that. And, and I'm not sure, I'm not sure if it's because they are limited by the potential impression that they. Have due to how similar it looks to other current note taking apps at the moment. That's why they write the copy like that. I think that's why, but with more and more people, like after seeing like the giant $200 million valuation and all of these people diving into the tool and they realized the possibilities like Rome cells, those possibilities, those possible connections, we're seeing a new genre pop up and they may have to change that, that copy there. Uh, I. Want to find more ways to show people that, that surgery, that, that table, uh, in a way where it's a lot easier for people to understand at first that on surface level yeah. You take notes, but on a deeper level. Yeah. You're confronting all those dots in your head and you're making the connections and here we are. So.

Mike Schmitz:

Yeah. So one of the big mistakes I see people make when they try Rome is they try to use it as like an Evernote replacement. The way that they've always used Evernote, which is just send everything in there and I'll be able to search for it and find it later. And in my opinion, where Rome really shines is in ideas, connecting ideas. So yes, notes on, in one way, shape or form are ideas, but you want a high signal to noise ratio in order for it to click. If you just have a bunch of things in there, it's harder, especially at the beginning. To make those connections. So I don't try to dump everything into Rome. And that's why the bullet journal I feel is like a natural compliment to this because yeah. You want to capture something when you think about it, because you don't want any of those ideas to disappear on the paper off the mind, but then just the fact that you captured it doesn't automatically mean that it should go in the bucket. So having another forest. Uh, another tier of, of cuts that are made before something ends up in Rome. For me, that means that the stuff that's in there is kind of the cream of the crop. And so that's the stuff that I want to see where the connections lie.

Norman Chella:

but people don't realize that when they try the app, because traditionally, and I think you've done this before. Like you try other apps. You would first start off with like notes that you've had before. And you're like, Oh, you know what happens if I just put it in there? Like we do that all the time. I mean, I've done that with, um, with Google docs or G drive and then I move it to Evernote and I move it to notion and then I move it to Rome. And every single step to transfer has always been copy pace, imparted all there, and then, and then see what happens. And I think it's because we have such a huge expectation on. Predefined structures that we think that it will organize itself once we just import it. Like, we think that it'll work as soon as it comes in there. And then we meet, we, we, you go into Roman, you're like, Oh, Oh no, Oh no help me or no. Cause uh, I realized, I realized that the behavior behind that for anyone, especially when someone comes from Evernote to row like this most prevalent in, in that, in that format, there is. Um, I'm not sure if it's expectation or there is the impression that the notes that they gained from their Evernote, it's only an archive and nothing more.

Mike Schmitz:

Yeah.

Norman Chella:

And by throwing it in Rome, they can squeeze more value out of it.

Mike Schmitz:

Yeah, exactly. So like the archive is kind of like someday. If I get audited, I can find this if I need it,

Norman Chella:

Yeah,

Mike Schmitz:

I'm not gonna think about it until then. And I've, I've done that before where it's like, Oh, I need this thing again. And I can go back and find it, but I'm not going to stumble across that until I have the thought, Oh, where is that thing? And with Rome, I can say, okay, I want to study this thing. What are all the other things that I don't even know, connect to this? And that's where bi-directional linking really, really helps. Um, so I don't know. You want me to kind of walk through a couple of the examples of how I, how I built this, because I think you're right. Like how you start that the types of things that you start building inside a room, you can't just transfer it from another app. You got to think about structuring it a little bit differently. Um,

Norman Chella:

walk it through me. Yeah. I would love to hear. Yeah.

Mike Schmitz:

Okay. Uh, so what I've got for my, my sermon notes, I've been taking sermon notes, using Sketchnoting and good notes for a long time. And that was kind of the first project that I did in Rome is to transfer all of that stuff from good notes into rooms. So I have. These sketch notes. I would export them as image files. I would upload them to a date page. So like the one I'm looking at right now, it says nine, six 20. It's got my, my sermon notes. I've got like the little nomenclature. So I draw cliques squares around the, the verses. Do you want me to screen share so you can see this as I

Norman Chella:

Maslow screen-share yeah, there there's the possibility that we might put up the video up. So I think this will be very helpful.

Mike Schmitz:

Okay. Uh, can you enable attendees screen sharing for me

Norman Chella:

Yeah, sure. Uh,

Mike Schmitz:

now? I gotta be careful what I,

Norman Chella:

yeah, please. Yeah, please, please be careful. Uh, and, uh, note for our audio listeners. Um, I'm trying my best to limit the amount of video screen shares and all that. Mainly because of privacy. If we are showing potentially roam graphs, et cetera, and now we are looking at Mike's graph. So you can head over to the video version suit.

Mike Schmitz:

All right. Um, so I think this just might help you ask some better follow up questions if you can see this. So this is, uh, an image that I exported from good notes, and it's just uploaded using the slash command file upload. Uh, I tag the person who preached the message. So dr. James will be, is my pastor. What this allows me to do is. Open up all of the, all of the references. So there's 39 different references here, uh, pages where he's, he's preached a message since I started taking those. And then, uh, my goal at the end of the year is to take all of those ones that are, are tagged and create like a, a book that I can give to him. Like these are the messages that you preached. Uh, but the, the. Sketch notes themselves. Uh, it's basically just like block letters for things that are important and then blocks around the scripture references. Then I've got a header here with the scriptures and all of the chapters are linked. This is from a King James version import that I found. So this is a public Rome graph, basically that I imported into my own. And what this allows me to do then is take any of these verses. And, uh, I'll click on one of these. All right. So this is Proverbs 18, here's all the different verses. And then the links to the references for the other, other places that that is, uh, is referenced. Uh, and this one in particular, there's not a whole lot of references, but what I've found is, uh, been building this out is that there's more and more of these connections being made. So you can kind of like follow these graph wise then. And, uh, you've got this message on this day where this first was used. And then what are the other messages from other days where that verse was used and you can kind of see the different themes that have been connected that way. So that's the sermon notes. And if I go to the sermon notes page, I mean, this is everything that's that's in there. So that took a really long time, all the way back to September of 2017. Uh, and I took all of those sketch notes and put them in here, but I didn't start the sketch notes, obviously with the goal of someday being able to connect these. I just wanted to retain more from the sermons that I was listening to.

Norman Chella:

Interesting. So a lot of, so that, that means that if you have kept a log of every sermon or passage that has been brought up in each sermon, You can potentially do a query of most mentioned passages or like most used ones. Okay. Interesting. And, uh, is it, is it safe to assume that the sermon itself like the, yeah. This image, is it a summary of the entirety of the sermon or is it the most powerful or the most impactful passages that were brought up during that time?

Mike Schmitz:

It's the most impactful stuff. It's not everything that was said. And that's one of the reasons that I started taking sketch notes. I read a study in my study of productivity. I think it was the Oppenheimer study that where they compared retention from students who took notes, using a keyboard. Versus retention from students who took notes, using pen and paper. What they found is that the students who took notes with the keyboard, they captured everything, but they couldn't remember anything. So I did that, you know, I was capturing all these notes. I was never going back to read them and I couldn't remember what my pastor preached on last Sunday. So I'm like, okay, if pen and paper forces me to slow down and retain this. Sketch notes probably is that to the nth degree. And since then, I've been able to, to meet and interview Mike Rody, the Sketchnote guy. He actually lives in Wisconsin where I live. So I've actually met him in person. He's a really cool guy. Um, but he really is the person who inspired me to start doing this. And if you go back and look at my first sketch notes, they're terrible. It was like a stick figure and a bunch of words. So you can look at this maybe and people will say, Oh, that looks really good. I still don't think it's that good if you compare it to other sketch notes, but, uh, I'm much, much better than I was when I started. And really the idea is that these are ideas. It's not art. You're not trying to create a work of art to sell some more. You're just trying to retain the information. So that allows me, it gives me permission to let go of the, the value judgment of the, uh, the, the note itself.

Norman Chella:

You draw to remember and you draw to learn not to impress anybody with your amazing artistic skills. I actually, this is pretty good. I mean, got to say, I mean, I like the

Mike Schmitz:

thank you.

Norman Chella:

good. And I'm really curious to know about this. This thing that you're going to do at the end of the, at the year, because assuming that it's a large sketchpad collection of

Mike Schmitz:

Yep.

Norman Chella:

most impactful sermons are passages done by your pasture from you, that would mean that you are showing him. The exact words that have impacted you the most. And I find that very fascinating. Like not even

Mike Schmitz:

So this is. This is the list of the, the sermons, you know, the, from his, his page, I don't have anything else on his page other than just being able to link it to him. Uh, but one of the things that I discovered when I started doing those little brief videos on my website of walking through my sermon notes, that was something that I was encouraged to do by a, another. Person that I turned to Rome actually, uh, Bodhi, quirk. He's a pastor out in California that I met at the max dot conference. And he's like, dude, these are great. You got to like create little videos and walk us through your thought process. And like, no, one's going to be interested in that. I'm not going to do that. And I did one and not only were people interested in it, but I got a text message from my pastor because he saw it. And he said, no, this is really cool. Sometimes as a pastor, you're preaching this message and you're not sure if anybody's getting anything. So it's encouraging to me to see what you got from the message I'm like, okay, well that's enough then I'm just going to keep it doing this regardless of anybody else watches it or not. Uh, cause I thought maybe, you know, people would like the style, you know, one time, but then they wouldn't come back and keep looking at it. But yeah, people are digging them. So, you know, I just record a quick video, post it to my website. You can download the sketch note file from there. Um, but I never really intended it for anybody else. It was just for me. And really it was the being able to connect all these things this way. Now that's the sermon notes side, but there's also the, the book notes side, which I think this is probably more applicable to the people who listened to the show. But, uh, this is where these things are eventually going to get connected. And I am still, like I say, I'm bad at Rome. Like I just sit and I think about these things and I try to figure out the best way to do it. And I don't just. Do it, you know, and iterate on it. But I have a, as part of this bookworm podcast that I do with Joe, be like, we read a book every two weeks. So I have created a page for every single episode of bookworm that we've done. Uh, let's just look at bookworm 94. Okay. So this is, um, the page for the episode. I've got the book that we covered, which in this case was tiny habits, but BJ Fogg, when that episode was published, uh, we give these books a rating. Uh, so I have my rating. I have who picked it cause we alternate picking the books. I went into Libsyn where the podcast is hosted, grab the file. And so I can actually listen to the, all of the episode, audio from these pages, if I want to, uh, there's a link to the episode on the book room.fm page, and then all of the links from the, um, from the show notes. But I read these books for this podcast. So if I click on tiny habits, this is the. Book notes page. And this is also where I maybe do something a little bit interesting. Um, I don't read Kindle books. I read physical books. I have a bookshelf right over here with all the books that I own, and I will read a physical book and take notes in a mind map using my note on my iPhone.

Norman Chella:

Oh, okay.

Mike Schmitz:

let me see if I can zoom in here a little bit. Uh, Rome doesn't do great with PDF and beds, but hopefully you

Norman Chella:

I think you can, uh, uh, change the sizing. Actually. There does the way to do it, I think, but yeah.

Mike Schmitz:

Let's see. Can I, Oh, there we go. Well, I'm limited to the size of the con the width of the container, but, um, I've got the, uh, the book image in the middle and then every section chapter has its own section. So like, I've got the. Images here from the graphs and things that are in the book. I capture those with the camera. Um, I've got my own emoji system here for the, uh, the notes that I take. So like the light bulbs, those are kind of like aha moments, keys. Those are like big ideas. Uh, we'll track action items in here. Let's see, I'm trying to find some other emoji examples. Those are the big, the big ones. Um, if there's talking points like, because this is for bookworm, I'll put like a little talking head emoji. If there's quotes, I'll have a little quote bubble and then a, so I have this mind node file. Um, and then I basically copy all of this and paste it in the notes below this. So I export that as, as texts. And now I've got, you know, all of the

Norman Chella:

It's formatted for Rome. It seems like it like it fits really

Mike Schmitz:

it. The mind map is basically, Oh, PML. So it's an L it's an outline. And when you export it from my note as plain text, it's literally just command to copy command V to paste, and this is what you get. So it's a, it's duplicating the notes. Now the next step of this is to go through all these book notes and to synthesize them and kind of condense them. Uh, I like the way that James clear has on his website, like three sentence summaries of books. So I want to be able to do that. I also want to be able to take like key ideas here and build them into, I've got like thoughts on pages, which are not very well developed, so I won't go into those yet. Uh, but that, uh, that's the idea is that eventually I'm going to have all of those, uh, pulling in all of the big ideas from all the books that I've read. So right now I've got all these dots in Rome, but they're not. They're not connected yet.

Norman Chella:

no, but you're preparing the base for it, which is pretty fascinating because I can start, I can really imagine you having this on the sidebar. And then when you have either an article or an idea that you want to develop over time, ref like block ref it in. And then see what happens and, or have phrases and words as a page, and then just see all the unlink references, just see what magic comes out of it, because we can know where we can already do this two ways. Like one is to know which books to remix, and then you put the refs together. And the second one is to go exploratory by like, just like figuring out from under references. Oh, this is, this is interesting. I really liked that because I know, cause it's not done. I really liked that because it's like, you're

Mike Schmitz:

it's a work in progress.

Norman Chella:

There's like this, like this one day where you're going to be like sitting down and you're like, okay, what are we going to see? Come out of this, like this book and then that a book. Oh, I'm excited. I really want to see this happen.

Mike Schmitz:

I also take the quotes because I was keeping a quote book inside of day one, but I decided Rome would be the better place for that. So I have a quote book, which is a, literally a query. Let me see if I can. Select that here. Yeah. So here's the query. All it's doing is pulling in the, uh, the tag for quote book. But when I write down a quote from a book in those book pages, I will use that quote book tag, and then it'll pull it in here and it'll pull it in by author because actually the, the quotes are on the author pages. If I open up like the Neil Pasricha one, for example, you know, this is the Neil Pasricha page. So it's got the, uh, the quote book hashtag, and then a link or page link to the book that it came from.

Norman Chella:

ah, not the other

Mike Schmitz:

And, uh,

Norman Chella:

That's interesting. Okay.

Mike Schmitz:

and just by doing that, you know, this is what I see is the quote book. And then it's all broken down by author. I like the way that this, this looks and, uh, yeah, so this is. Uh, uh, 278 results. I've been collecting quotes for a while, but, uh, I like being able to, you know, just add those to the person who said it, you know, add it to their page and then have it be pulled into this corporate page automatically using the queries.

Norman Chella:

Have you started using these codes for something else?

Mike Schmitz:

Not really, but every once in a while, when I am writing an article and I've got a topic like habits or whatever, you know, I'll go look through the quotes that I've collected on those specific topics. I don't have them tagged. I usually just do a search on the, on the page to see if I can find anything. Um, so like a command F like a web browser, a search on, on

Norman Chella:

Like actual control F. Okay. I see.

Mike Schmitz:

yeah, not using the search in the, in, in Rome itself.

Norman Chella:

Okay.

Mike Schmitz:

Uh, I feel like that would be, that would PR that would return more results than I'm looking for. Um, but yeah, again, there's, there's more ways that I can build this out, you know, having the, the tags for the different, different themes and things. Um, and I will do that at some point, you know, that that is a down the road addition to the system, because that I think is the thing that links it to the sermon notes stuff, because the Bible talks about habits. The Bible talks about. Productivity and all the other topics. So when I start going through there and adding those tags there too, then that allows me to connect things a little bit more strongly.

Norman Chella:

Oh, I'm excited to see that happen because I never would have been able to make those connections. Like it's not even about. Like, it's not even about having those dots in the first place, because maybe I could have the book notes. Maybe I've been reading the same, like several notes maybe ever at the Bible. Technically I have ages ago and I forgot most of it. I'm really sorry for Avara Christian-based listeners. Uh, I apologize, but, uh, I never would have thought to want to make this connections. And now that I'm seeing your graph and for our listeners, we are still screen-sharing. Now that I'm seeing your graph. I'm really curious about the output, like the book notes and the quote book and the, and the sermon notes and the resultant. Unique flavor that comes out of this graph specifically. So, Oh, I really want to see this happen. Okay. I don't think I actually disagree with you saying that you're not that much of a Rome user. I think this is already pretty well done. Like.

Mike Schmitz:

Well, thank you. But I feel like it's, it's a very roughly implemented. It's got a lot of rough edges yet. And if I was, I feel like if I. Considered myself a better Rome user. I would be able to fix the rough edges more quickly. Uh, this stuff just kind of sits like it is because, like I mentioned before, I tend to think about things and how do I really want to do this? As opposed to just trying to make it a little bit better, which I know is the systems approach the right approach probably. But

Norman Chella:

But you are on the way there. And like we said before, I mean, efficiency doesn't have to belong to everywhere. So with the right intentions and I can see it, like I can literally visualize these intentions. So, you know, you are well on the way. There, there are a lot of other members of the users of roam research who don't even use queries or who are extremely page heavy. I'm starting to see that there are different levels of. Usage or efficiency where people would explore usages of Rome and then they will be very page heavy. And then they realized just how slow that would be. And then they'll realize how powerful. Page like blocks would be rather, and then paired up with craze. And all of a sudden you have this unique blend of who you are in Rome format. And right now I am seeing quite a vulnerable version of you through this graph, because these are, you know, the notes that you've been picking up from for years now, especially with like what, three to four years of a sermon images, which is pretty fantastic. Ah, I like this so

Mike Schmitz:

Yeah, actually on that topic, I should, I should clarify this on the sermon notes pages, um, because you mentioned something about embeds and that's, that's important. So these scriptures I'm linking to the pages themselves, which are all the chapters and then colon the verse, uh, on those pages. I am using a block and bed for the actual verse. And that's the thing that allows me to see all the references. When I do go to a page like. James three here. So here's all of the references. I can, I can see those because I'm using the block and beds. I'm not pasting in text for those verses all the time. I also don't have pages for all these individual verses. I just use the block and beds because I think that's what keeps my, my database a little bit cleaner.

Norman Chella:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I would also advise, like, for that, like rather like just, it's just cleaner, a lot cleaner. I don't think you'd want to have a page for every single one of these, like that saying that how many blocks? Okay. We're looking at. So we're currently looking at James three and there's like three, five, 15,

Mike Schmitz:

Yeah. There's 18 right here. Yeah.

Norman Chella:

blocks. I don't want to see, like, I don't think he'd want to say 18 separate pages. Uh, just to describe like one section of the book. Okay.

Mike Schmitz:

that was the, the thing that got me into Rome from obsidian. Uh, I really liked obsidian. I liked the idea of being able to your whole database is just text files on your computer, but it doesn't do lock references. So deal breaker. I'm not going to create a text file for every single verse.

Norman Chella:

Yeah, the, um, there has been a huge, shall we say note-taking war of so many, uh, network thought tools talking about differences between obsidian and Rome and everything. And. They would say, Oh, they, they all can do by directional referencing. Oh, what's the, what's the difference? Right? Like, Oh no, she has been doing it too. And, uh, what's, what's different about Rome. This is going to be left behind. It's not about that. It's not about to buy directional, linking it's about the block. Like those are the most powerful features in Rome. It's just that bi-directional linking, accelerates our usage of blocks. Therefore we can see it remixed to everything else. Um,

Mike Schmitz:

I do wish Rome allowed you to. To have texts, local text files is part of your, your graph. I do think there's some power to that. Uh, like I have an article section here, which is articles that I am going to be writing for. Uh, the suite set up, actually, this one is. Is done now. Um, and these have links to Ulysses sheets. So if you pop that in, so this is a Ulysses colon slash slash X callback URL. It will open that specific sheet inside of Ulysses, which is where I prefer to write because you list is, can publish directly to WordPress. If these were text files, then I could open them theoretically, in any application, even on an iOS device, just storm on Dropbox or something, and then publish them wherever. That would be my ideal workflow here, but this isn't, this isn't too bad. Uh, these links, this is really cool. I, I love these, uh, I created, so one of the things, um, That I have been thinking about lately is like email and all of the tasks that come in to your email inbox. And what do you do with those? Uh, most people probably just leave them in their email inbox. I don't like that. I used to send those to OmniFocus and I liked that because it gives you in the notes, the link back to the original message. So your task manager can tell you, Hey, you should be doing this. Now you click on that link and it takes you directly to that message you reply, and then you go close out the task. I actually, uh, so I'm, I'm, uh, I'm a nerd. I figured out a way to do this using Apple script. I use MailMate on my Mac, um, and it has basic Apple script support. So what I do, I have a keyboard Maestro macro, which will pull the URL of the message. So the message, you, our message colon slash slash. So when I click on that, it'll take me directly to the message. Uh, I use, uh, another key or another Apple script. So part of the same keyboard, Maestro, macro to pull in the subject line. And then, um, it runs a regular expression on that to remove the extra line breaks and formats it as a markdown formatted link. So what ends up getting pasted inside a roam inside? I have a to-do is the subject line that you click on and it takes you right to the original message.

Norman Chella:

Converted the email into row markdown format. Whoa,

Mike Schmitz:

So I'm not sharing my email. So let me see if I can grab this. Um, let's see, you sent me one earlier, so let's see if we can find that message.

Norman Chella:

Whoa. What.

Mike Schmitz:

I've got a, I've got a hot key here. So I've got, uh, basically shift control, option command R for Rome, and that will copy things. Let's go back to our daily notes and see what happens if I paste this in here. See if it worked. Yep. So there's, that's what it looks like. And then that's what it ends up being.

Norman Chella:

Oh, my goodness. Okay. So for our listeners,

Mike Schmitz:

I can Mark as completed. It's got a tag of emails so I can use it in a query to find all my email tasks. And it's got the link to the original message, which opens it.

Norman Chella:

Oh my goodness. That's insane. That's amazing. Okay. So for our listeners, right? I sent an email just to confirm that we're having this call and he has, Mike has a macro to pull the subject line with a direct link to the email. Turned that block into a, to do we have a hashtag for email immediately copied into Rome? That all my goodness. Oh my goodness. For a lot of people who had to do a lot of their task management in Rome, I think that's insane. That's amazing. Wow. Oh, I would love to see that in action. I'm not sure if I can even do that myself cause I'm I'm on windows. So I don't think I can, but maybe I can emulate something similar in different texts, expanding software on windows. But wow. I think a lot of people will want to have that because you know, when you live your life in emails, you really want to be really efficient. And I'm all about efficiency and email, like high touch, get in, get out quickly, process it and right away. So. Wow. Thank you for that. That's actually an insane demonstration.

Mike Schmitz:

the way, the way MailMate and a lot of email clients actually like third-party email clients for Mac and iOS. Uh, they will have these actions where you can just open up, you know, OmniFocus quick entry from the mail application. So from MailMate I can use a keyboard shortcut built into MailMate to open up OmniFocus grabbed the subject line paste, the link, even paste the contents of the message if I really wanted to. So I've been doing that and I was like, I really want to be able to do that in Rome. Can I do that in Rome? And it took a while, but eventually I got there because of those message URL links, um, and because of the way MailMate works, where you can grab different tokens for different things. I think you can do this in like the default Apple mail app, too. Uh, that's where originally, where I got the inspiration is David Sparks. My co-host of the focus podcast. He has been using this thing where he types like eat link, and then he's got a whole post about it on his blog. It'll grab an Apple mail, the URL of the message. But I wanted to apply a little bit of extra room sauce to that by converting it into a task, having the subject line there instead of just the URL. So I knew what it was playing the hashtags so I can use it and queries. And, uh, that I feel is like one of my biggest Roman achievements to date.

Norman Chella:

Amazing achievement. Wow. I, I can't believe you still called yourself, not a much of a roam. You started cause that to be able to add Apple scripts to pull in your emails. Oh wow. Because I feel like even just like a template of that, or maybe a variation of that can be used for other things as well. Like maybe beyond email. I can't think of any right now, but the possibilities of pulling. You know, like third-party information immediately formatted into Rome and then turning it into a task for us to process as soon as possible. What really worked well for those who, uh, what, who would work really well in the context of Rome? Like if they choose to work within the environment of Rome, it works really well for them. So, I mean, I think a lot of people want to the corporate this,

Mike Schmitz:

The other thing that I'll mention here, um, I've got the daily questions here. I paste this in at the beginning of the day, but let me just get rid of this to show you how this works. Um, there is, in my opinion, one of the things that's really powerful about Rome is the fact that everything is plain text. And that means that if you use any sort of text expansion software. So I personally use text expander and love it, but there are other options available for both Mac and PC. Uh, that basically gives you the ability to create templates for anything inside of Rome. And the way I use this most is for these daily questions, which I mentioned to picked up from reading Marshall trigger or Marshall Goldsmith, the triggers book. And the idea behind this, this is kind of like a end of the day sort of reflection, journaling template, which I've been doing journaling for quite a while. Um, but I didn't like going in and. Writing, especially if I had not done something, it was kind of disappointing to be like, yeah, I sucked at this. So the whole idea behind the daily questions is it's a zero to 10. Did I do my best to do something? Did I put in any sort of effort for this. Uh, and then you can create your own categories. Obviously, Marshall Goldsmith mentions in the book, how he uses it inside of an Excel spreadsheet. And I was like, no way I want to do that. Is there a better interface for that inside a room? There is the sliders, the sliders from zero to 10. So I have a text expander snippet, which is just SDQ. Pulls in the date, fills out the forms. And then there's the sliders. I've done a little bit of custom CSS to like hide the face that appears underneath. Um, but basically as I'm going throughout my day, then I will adjust these. So. If I go for a run, you know, after this, I'll bump this slider up to, to nine, uh, if I record a podcast, I'll bump this one up, you know, and it's just an arbitrary number from zero to 10, but I feel like this is a great interface for allowing me to quickly just jot these things down. And then I collect all of these under the daily questions page, using the back links to like pull them all in there and then I can review all, um, periodically.

Norman Chella:

Uh, do you revisit this throughout the day? So like, does this number changed like maybe in the morning and afternoon at night? Or is it just only one time at the end of the day?

Mike Schmitz:

basically, if I, as I'm going through my day, uh, if I do something they're like, ah, that moved the needle for that specific area, then I'll go in here and I will bump this up. But otherwise I will make sure that I fill this out as part of my work shutdown routine, which was another thing I didn't like using my phone right before bed too. Jot a bunch of things down, especially when I'm tired and I don't really want to elaborate on anything really that happened during the day. I just wanted, I want to shut down. Uh, so by building this into my Workday, I feel like it helps me to disconnect more when I'm, when I'm done. I'm walking away from the computer. So I'm recording this in my office, which is in our basement, but at the end of the day, I will leave the computer and everything else down here. I won't come down here again to, to work. At least that's the plan occasionally that doesn't work, but generally it does.

Norman Chella:

no, it sets the intention for. We are now offline, which is great. Like it's fantastic. And, and you don't have to disappoint yourself by having such a grand end of the day journaling reviewing system, which I can see like often, or like it's quite common in many other systems where it's like, you know, a whole list of like 20 questions to review the day. And it goes from like, Oh, what did you do today to what is life? You know, it's insane. Like sometimes you just want to. Like these questions, they only serve, at least to me, I'm not different for you, but to me they only serve one purpose. And that is to prime you into the context of self-reflection and it doesn't matter how long it has it is. And it doesn't matter how complicated it has to be. So I like it that you did it out of like some sliders out of 10. It's so simple. Like I can just look at this and be like, Oh, You know, I can tell that Mike had a good day. Most of his numbers are at nines, right? Like, that's so cool. Right. And you know, if I look back at like, I don't know, five days ago, and you were at, did I do my best to exercise at two? I ask you like, what's wrong? Right. What happened? Right. Like, did you eat too many donuts? I, it could be something like that, right. Oh, okay. Okay.

Mike Schmitz:

Exactly. And you can define your own categories, but really the thing that's beautiful about this is the UI for the sliders is just curly brackets, curly records, slider. That's all it is. And I love how there's so many things inside a room that are like that. Like the articles. Uh, page I showed you earlier, that's got like a combine view and that's a text-based Kanban view. Like it formats it all and you can get into the CSS. You can customize it exactly the way that you want. Uh, I have done a lot with CSS in Rome, uh, up until yesterday. Actually this was not the theme that I was using, but they added some additions and upgrades, honestly, to the sidebar. And it broke a bunch of my CSS.

Norman Chella:

Okay.

Mike Schmitz:

I just had to use something more, more vanilla. This is just kind like a, an inversion of the normal room theme, but lesson learned, you know, if you're going to make a whole bunch of customizations, be ready for, for the team to break it, they're working on the app.

Norman Chella:

Yeah. Uh, it was, uh, kinda kind of unfortunate timing cause it also happened to a lot of other themes as well. That. Like even some of the kits stuff, like some of the shortcuts with it overlapped. So you see like sidebars opening at the same time or some don't even work, uh, and or CSS had to be changed. So a lot of the, uh, a lot of the theme, a lot of the ones who did their themes, they had to like update there's a lot. So we were seeing a lot of that. Okay. Okay. I was curious, I was going to ask like, Oh, is this your own like custom theme? I guess it's just a really quick re color or something like that.

Mike Schmitz:

yeah. It's uh, let me see, let me pull up room CSS here. It's a standard one, which is fairly simple. It is not the Swan, the Rome midnight thing, same with a couple of, of changes, uh, like hiding the, the faces for the sliders and hiding the query titles. Uh, I can go back and edit the query titles, but I don't like seeing those in my, my views, like for the tasks view. Uh, I don't like seeing a couple of lines of query title. Or the actual query code underneath the, I just have the titles in there so I can break it down into different categories and get more information that I actually want to see on the screen at one time.

Norman Chella:

Yeah, I need to mess around with that a lot more because a lot of these CSS, a lot of these available themes are amazing. It's just that there are some minor adjustments and I wish I knew CSS enough to like actually make those instead of accidentally deleting one line and all of a sudden everything breaks, which can happen maybe, maybe not because it's just CSS, it's just, it's just appearance. Right? Like, so it's not really that

Mike Schmitz:

it is. But all of a sudden you can't see anything on the screen. I've had that happen.

Norman Chella:

totally. No sidebar.

Mike Schmitz:

The CSS actually was, is part of the reason that I got into Rome because I hated the look of the stock app when I first started playing with it. But I started playing with it during one of my sabbaticals. One of the things I really love about working with the team at the sweet setup is that every eighth week we go on sabbatical. So every eighth week. The company is off basically. And during one of those sabbatical weeks was when I decided, okay, I'm finally going to give roam research a fair shake. And I started putting in some of the sermon notes. I'm like, okay, this will work. And then I basically spent the rest of the week playing with the CSS. I've done some web development in the past. Uh, I was never really good at CSS. I actually learned a lot from doing that and actually made a ton of customizations to my actual website based on what I learned from playing around with, with Rome. But I love that it's a web app and you're able to do that. You know, you can basically customize it as much as you want. Uh, I've seen some people do some really crazy things with it. But you do gotta be careful because they'll push out an upgrade and it's not their fault, but it'll break some stuff. So, yeah.

Norman Chella:

Yeah, they can't help it, like, especially with just how versatile Rome can be. Like we have to roam CSS, we have Rome JS and we have more and more people adding in like JavaScript or, uh, other. You know, new tools and tips and tricks, and we get normalized like our behavior and our workflows get normalized to these extra tools. And then all of a sudden, a new upgrade just ruins everything. And I got hit with that firsthand and it's crazy. It's insane. So, ah, to each their own it, I like it. That it's still, I like it. That it's, um, That your graph is a work in progress. And I really do appreciate that you would be willing to share it with me. Uh, hopefully there wasn't anything too personal in there.

Mike Schmitz:

Nope. We're good.

Norman Chella:

And, uh, on that note, uh, we are, we are coming up on time, but there is something I still want to ask you, uh, that had been on my mind, mainly because in one of your episodes that I was listening to. Uh, you were sharing about, uh, you were sharing about how you discovered a tool, but then you were put off by how people who used the tool room research were called, uh, rope cult. And

Mike Schmitz:

Yes.

Norman Chella:

before I ask anything more, could I just ask, uh, why? Okay.

Mike Schmitz:

Uh, I feel like the term called has a lot of negative connotations with it. I feel like it's unnecessary. And I feel like, um, with my personal belief system, um, I don't need that being applied to me, uh, religion is one of those things where every, everybody believes what they believe. And if somebody else believes something different, it's easy to label them as a cult, uh, because they see things in a different way. And I've been accused of that. I think myself. So passe roam, cult just. Brought back a bunch of distasteful memories to me, but I know from talking to people that other people have been put off by it too. Um, I have talked to several people and convinced several people to use Rome and, um, they like me were put off at the. The term, you know, they checked it out for themselves and they're like, no, I'm not going to do this because I don't want to be part of the cult, you know? And I'm like, no, that's actually a really good tool. You should give it a shot and okay, fine. If you say so, you know, and then they end up end up using it and it kind of makes me, it makes me sad on one level because, um, I know that there's more people than just the handful of people that I've talked to who have felt that way. That are, this could be the tool that allows them to connect the dots and realize their full potential, but they're not going to do it because of the marketing angle to it. And I feel like lately the, the edge has been gone from a lot of the, the stuff that you would find on social media around Rome, but it seemed like they were really leaning into it at the beginning. Uh, and I, I think it's, I don't know. I get, like, if you are just gonna be who you are, you're going to attract some people you're going to repel. Some people like the opposite of, uh, of love is not hate it's indifference. Like if you're going to take a stand for something, you're going to have people who are not aligning with that. I just feel like the hashtag room called is not the, the Hill to die on.

Norman Chella:

Yeah, that that's always been a pressing question for me because I'm not sure if you know the history of that hashtag. Um, it was,

Mike Schmitz:

I don't. And I know that it's like room culture and stuff like that. Like there's different ways that you can interpret it, but that's not where people go. They think the guy who took his followers down to Mexico and made him

Norman Chella:

Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Because no, no matter what, like even the hashtag itself, like just at surface level, I just look so alarming. Um, and even, even I was like, okay, is this, is this just, uh, like a fancy way of saying like squad or like a group where like this exclusive thing. Um, and even to the point of tagging everything related to room research as Rome cult, uh, in the beginning, I was a bit uncomfortable at first. Not, not even from any, like, not even from any like, you know, religious reason or anything like that. It was more like, this was pretty fanatical, like very, very fanatical. And I tried the tool and I was like, okay, I'm really obsessed. And I built the show and everything, and I realized that a lot of people would associate the ones, the ones who used the, the tag roam cult tend to. Display or tend to want to display their appreciation for the tool. Hence they put the hashtag room cult, nothing to do with the actual word, not Rome cult and its connotations or a tentative meeting. Um, but from the outside for any, you know, non Rome user. On all of a sudden, when someone tells you like, Hey, if you want to try this tool, and then the people centered around it is around this, around this cult, it is freaky. It is freaky. And I'm worried about it. Like I'm worried about it because I really want to advocate for it as tool to be shared with a lot of people, because it's so versatile, I can carry it, can cater for it. Any use cases and.

Mike Schmitz:

it can. And I can tell you as the guy who wrote the book thought hustle, that you're never going to reclaim a word, a word means what it means, and you're not going to change the definition. You're not going to change the definition of cult by saying no, come on in the water's fine. And we got cookies.

Norman Chella:

Yeah. That's a huge thing. It's a huge thing. And, and like, w w we kind of, we could have done something like simple, like hashtag Romans, like, it would've been easier. Like you still, you still keep like the branding. It's still keep the, you know, the banter because. Like, I, I have to say I'm at fault for a lot of these things, because I'm probably one of the most vocal about Rome research, uh, seeing as how I'm quite active on Twitter about this. Uh, but I could have just stuck to just hashtag Romans, like people would have known, Oh, the city of Rome and all that, which is fantastic. It's just that the most prominent tag happened to be Rome cult. And I'm worried that that detriment to Rome's growth is because of. The activity centered around the tool that are perceived as fanatical. Like we, like what we're saying or what we're talking about may not hurt anybody or may not have any negative. Like impact or anything like that. It's just that, because we seem as such, that was enough to, for us to be like, uh, for others to be like, uh, no, and I, I hate that. I really would hate that because it is so unfortunate that an amazing tool, like Rome is just pushed aside because it's freaky.

Mike Schmitz:

Yeah. You know, if they would have called us fanatical room users, I'd be okay with that because I mean, fanatical everybody's fanatical about something everybody's a fan of, of something, but just the term cult just has a knee-jerk negative reaction. And I don't think it's really hurt. Roam yet, but, but if, uh, if we continue to build this identity around Rome called I would get, I would be worried about it. Long-term I feel like it's had some pretty explosive growth because it's a fresh take on the interconnection of ideas. Um, kind of what, what, uh, got me thinking down this road in the first place was the book how to read or how to take smart notes by sancha errands. First time. I read it a couple of years ago. I'm like, Hmm, this sounds good. But there's no tool that will let me do this. And I tried some of the ones that he recommended and like, Nope, Nope. Not going to work. And then I re-read it after I started playing around with Rome, they're like, maybe, you know, this is the thing that finally makes us click, I think, think that it is. But I also think that Rome is having a impact in. All of the note taking apps in the space, like WorkFlowy Dyna list drafts. I mean, they're all adding some version of Wiki style, linking a lot of them even barely like bi-directional linking. Uh, and it's all like a different implementation of it. And none of it is exactly the way that Rome does it, which is completely fine. I think that, uh, as time goes on, there's going to be a lot of people where Rome, maybe isn't the best tool because they just want some Wiki style linking for their archive notes, you know? And in that case, maybe what bear ends up being or what workflow ends up being or Dinah list ends up being is, uh, actually a better fit for them. So, I don't know, as the market gets more saturated, I feel like it's going to be more important to, I don't want to say be inclusive. That's not really what I'm talking about, but, uh, don't put people off just by word choice, you know, but take a stand with like, Design implementation of certain features and be like, no, if you want text files for everything, then go look at obsidian. Like we're not going to do that. Draw your line in the sand there, not with the marketing terms that you're going to use.

Norman Chella:

yeah. With the features, not the naming. Maybe we should retire the word cult sometime in the future. I may have to talk to.

Mike Schmitz:

It's my vote.

Norman Chella:

I totally, totally like for the sake of trying to grow. Like its user base and to cater for a lot more people. I need to talk to the Roman sister's team about that, like sooner or later, because even Connor himself is using, uh, Rome, Colton. I feel like I'm potentially one of the influences there. And, and even it would just. I don't know if that's good or bad or not, but I feel like I am. And I feel like my influences has been a little bit too much that I'm losing control of the amount of power that I can just keep spamming the room called hashtag everywhere. But to each their own, I will. Have a chat with them sometime soon to see if we can be, I'm not like you said, maybe not inclusive is the right word, but welcoming is probably a much better word to describe people who could be future romance guys, Romans from not wrong called Romans.

Mike Schmitz:

What's interesting is they have these office hour calls for the, uh, the true believers. They call them the people who have dropped a bunch of money, which I have attended some of those calls and actually brought this up on one of those calls. Like, I don't know if this is the right place to do this, but, uh, this is something I've been thinking about. And it was kind of shocking to me how many people who were true believers also had the same experience and what was really cool about that call. There were 50 people on the call. Very very different people, very, very different walks of life, different backgrounds, um, quite a few, uh, religious backgrounds, which kind of surprised me. I thought I would be an odd ball there, but there's actually like a lot of pastors and priests and clergy who are really intrigued by the, the tool of, of room research. And so I feel like. The people that are on that true believer call, they've kind of been able to overcome this already and the community and the diversity that's there is pretty amazing. It's pretty awesome. Uh, and I just don't think I it's, it it's sad to see, uh, anything I think kind of hinder that, uh, I think especially with all of the multiplayer stuff coming and like the, the shared stuff. Uh, it's, it's going to be really cool to, to get ideas that are outside of your echo chamber. You know, that's, that's something that I've been thinking about a lot lately. I read a book, um, called never split the difference by Chris Voss. And, uh, he's, uh, ex FBI hostage, negotiator. And, uh, there's this belief or this mantra, you know, we don't negotiate with terrorists. And his whole book is basically like, that was his job. He had to negotiate with the terrorists. Uh, so you don't have the option to just say like, no, I'm not gonna listen to you. And I feel like outside of a hostage negotiation, like that's really, what's, what's missing, uh, from a lot of the. The turmoil that we see and around the world right now is like, uh, an empathy, uh, and an willingness to see things from another point of view. And Chris FOSS talked about the difference in that book about empathy and sympathy. His job was to express empathy and understand where people were coming from. It doesn't mean you have to agree with everything that's sympathy, you know, where you align your ideas and your beliefs with, uh, with somebody else. No, one's really asking anyone to do that. But I do think, you know, the world could benefit from a little bit more empathy and I view like these. These multiplayer, roam grass, like being able to see inside somebody's roam graph and see how their brain works and how they got to the point where they believe what they believe that can only boost empathy in my opinion.

Norman Chella:

Yeah. And you will have to, especially with the amount of vulnerability that you'd have to display on having multiplayer row graphs in public to be shared by other people. Um, just having either conversations between. You and your team and then having that display to everybody or even you and somebody else, they collaborative graph, like all the possibilities between the relationships of blocks between people who are just viewing or just editing, or from the perspective of the author themselves, what is going to happen there? If we don't know, like we are already seeing so much potential and value from. Uh, blocks being referenced, blocks, being queried of blocks, being put into pages. And now we can go hyper graphic, which is a word that I would like to encourage people to use, uh, hyper graphic or at least into graphic where we would look at blocks from other graphs like Ella love to like if someday, uh, there was a way to publicize only a part of your graph. I would love to like, Block ref your sermon notes and then refer to them when thinking about like, Oh yeah. I remember Mike talking about faith, best faith based productivity. Let me just block ref that. And then I quickly just like write down some notes about that. That'd be fantastic. Now we are coming up on time, Mike. So I'd love to, uh, close off this chat and I'm sure we can talk one at a time, uh, with a couple of questions, the first one being, how would you describe roam to someone who hasn't started using it yet?

Mike Schmitz:

that's a good question. Um, I think if I were describing room to somebody, uh, because they had asked me about the tool itself. Or why they should use it instead of something like Evernote, for example, because that's kind of the, my frame of reference. That's what people have asked me. I would say that it is not what you are used to for notes. It is not a filing cabinet. It's more like a mind map of your actual mind and really like, that's what the, that's what the graph is. Right? It's all those dots and you see how they, they connect. So it's a visualization of the connections that exist inside of your brain.

Norman Chella:

I love that. Okay. Mind map of your actual mind? It sounds kind of obvious, but, but really like every time did we click on the graph overview? That's us like, that's our head yet? That's this is so cool. Yeah. Even though I don't click on it that much because it lags, but still, it's just nice to see something so pretty and all these dots that are the. The cumulative blocks that have made from all these dots as a result of my observations or my thoughts and all that. So it's fantastic.

Mike Schmitz:

It is your neural network inside of an app.

Norman Chella:

That's scary. What do you like? That sounds scary. Yeah. Like I always think of it as I'm making a clone of myself in Rome because I can then visualize it in graph format, but you know, if your room can gain sunshades. That's insane. Like this is the thought of it. Anyway, that's totally off track, but I haven't got another, uh, like some sort of AI expert to come on the show to talk about that. That'd be pretty fantastic. And the last question is what does Rome mean to you?

Mike Schmitz:

Um, well, uh, at this point, it's, uh, I feel like I'm just at the tip of the iceberg in terms of the connections that are are happening. But what it means to me is it's hard to put a hard to put into words. Um,

Norman Chella:

you rather draw it again?

Mike Schmitz:

Uh, it's, it's basically like, uh, a backup of my brain in one sense with all the sermon notes and all of the book notes, but it's also at the same time, kind of like a creative map, because I'm able to connect those dots and that inspires new articles, new podcasts, new ideas for things. Cause a lot of what I do for work is I create things. So there's a lot of even work in monetary value associated for me with the ability to make these connections. And I feel like I had been doing that for years with the things that I was doing, taking the mind maps, taking the sketch notes, but this is kind of like a force multiplier for that a force multiplier for my creativity.

Norman Chella:

Nice. I like that. A force multiplier for your creativity and the more that you draw your notes out, and the more that you make connections between your book notes, your thoughts, your articles, and everything in between. I hope to see that huge remix of everything put together this like ultra Rome based. Faith-based productivity book, or maybe not even book or maybe a different format, but product package thing. I would love to see that and I will pay big bucks to block ref that into my own graph. So, Mike, thank you so much. If we want to contact you or to reach out to you for anything that we talked about in this conversation, what is the best way to do that?

Mike Schmitz:

probably Twitter. I am at bobblehead Joe on Twitter. If you want to see more of the work that I actually do a lot of the writing. Uh, it takes place@thesweetsetup.com and then faith-based productivity is my personal site with some of the sermons, sketch notes stuff, and links to the other project.

Norman Chella:

All right. And of course, links to all of these will be in the show notes right below as well as the public roam FM graph. Let me just write this down. FAPE is productivity and of course, thank you so much, Mike. And I will see you on Twitter.