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Jacopo Martolini

I love obsidian and this is how I am using it.

4 min read

I've been using Obsidian almost daily for nine months, and I thought I'd share how I've incorporated it into my daily workflow. Before Obsidian, I was using Roam for my personal notes, so I was already accustomed to the use of networked thinking and Zettelkasten concepts.

Gather: With the new job, in a different domain from the previous one, I needed to build a knowledge base. Having notes of everyhing is dumped on you, especially in the first period, can be a valuable tool for quickly getting up to speed. I've started by gathering as much information as I could about the new company, VPN industry, and about the products provided by Proton.

Organize: One of the main advantages of using a graph database in Obsidian is the ability to put information without a rigid structure and retrieve it easily with internal links. This allows for a more flexible and organic approach to organizing information. I can create notes and links between them in a way that makes sense for your my own thinking and learning process, rather than having to fit them into predefined categories. This flexibility allows for a more natural way of creating and growing a knowledge base, similar to a digital garden. Just like in a physical garden, you can plant and grow different ideas, concepts, and pieces of information, but from time to time, you have to do gardening activities, like pruning, to keep it under control and make it more usable.

One of the features of Obsidian that I rarely use is the graph view. Even if I find it a little bit a gimmick, it's cool once in a while to display all my notes in a visual format, see how it has grown and navigate through them.

The switch to a new job presented an opportunity for me to modify the stack of tools I use daily for work. Previously, my daily tasks were accompanied by the use of TickTick, which was also often abused as a place where I kept summaries of meetings and notes. Using Obsidian as a task manager is not very recommended, some tasks tend to get lost in that day's notes. As always, it is a matter of tradeoff with the number of tools you want to use. A dedicated tool like Things would be more appropriate, however I opted for a single tool. Thanks to the Task plugin, I can quickly create tasks to be done later. This has the advantage of the speed with which they can be created (thanks also to the shortcut set cmd-t) and the fact that they are in the context of what I am writing. For example, when taking notes of a conversation with a colleague, I can create tasks on the fly, and when I review my notes I immediately have at a glance the tasks I have to carry out. The disadvantage is that in some cases these tasks tend to get lost in the note of the day. For this, I also use a dedicated and always visible tab that collects all the tasks in my vault.

The Auto Link Title plugin automatically retrieves the title of a website when you paste a link into your notes, and creates a markdown link with that title. This can save you the time and effort of manually looking up the title of a website and creating the link yourself. I use it in combination with the Custom Frames plugin that allows to create a session of websites that require login to access information. This can be useful for links from Jira and Confluence. Once a session is created, the Auto Link Title plugin can then fetch the title of a pasted link and make it more readable.

Another plugin I use daily is Text snippets, it allows me to save frequently used text and quickly insert them into my notes. This can save a lot of time and effort when you need to repeatedly type out the same information or blocks of code. I've used to create templates for recurring meetings, such as the name of the meeting and a list of participants.

Overall, Obsidian has become a vital tool for me in my daily note-taking, knowledge management and to organize my thought. It's been a game changer for me, and I hope this post helps others who are interested in using it for their own workflow.

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