When it comes to organizing notes, there are plenty of digital and analog instruments nowadays.
I've spent some time exploring many of them, and so far, Obsidian is the choice number "one". In the previous article, I've described what Obsidian is like. I want to introduce my use case for this excellent app.
This is the second version of the Obsidian setup I have, updated and revised. If you're interested in the first version, check out this post.
Now, let's dive in.
Currently, I use only one vault, which contains all the data.
I tried the working/personal vaults setups before, but it added complexity and, most importantly, separated the data that sometimes should be connected. Using one vault also helps with Canvas, which I'll tell you about later.
I like to create some visual connection in my head for the particular vault, so my vault is named after one of the video game's characters and contains a short note in its root directory about the character's origin.
This simple and seemingly unrelated personalization helps establish the base's ownership and turn it from a tedious obligation to something personal and meaningful also on an emotional level.
The folders structure I'm using looks like this:
- Energy Boosters
- My Frameworks
Let's cover each of them.
Archive serves as a trash bin. I put everything that should be deleted there, but I want to wait before deleting it. It helps to prevent deleting something important.
Attachments is a dedicated folder for all images that my notes are referring to.
Bases is the home for knowledge bases, which include programming notes, languages notes, and so on.
Energy Boosters is a folder with lists and other notes related to fiction and non-fiction reading, movies, TV shows, and video games.
Inbox is the default place for any note created on the go. This folder helps not to get distracted by organizing random notes during the day so that the organization process can be optimized for the batch of notes sometime later.
Journals folder keeps my programming journals, where I write about learnings and observations about software development during the day. It also keeps a travel journal because I love writing notes about during travels more than taking pictures.
Letters is a folder where I put the drafts for emails or long messages for which I need more time before sending them. I wouldn't say I like relying on draft tools in messengers and email clients, and I prefer using own storage for such things.
My Frameworks contains notes related to my routines for various activities – such as working, study sessions, reading non-fiction, etc.
Quests is the folder for projects. And it's big
Templates is the folder that is so essential I'm going to talk about it in a separate section. If you're interested, please keep reading.
It's possible to create and mark one of the folders in the database as a "template folder," which means all notes will be available as templates.
Templates are enabled and set up by a
Templates plugin in Obsidian.
The feature is beyond being convenient for cases like daily programming notes, article writing, book notes, etc.
The most common parts my templates include are:
Templates could be inserted at any place in the note. To add those, press
cmd + P (probably
ctrl + P on Windows) to show the commands panel, then choose
Templates: Insert Tempaltes and select the template from the list.
Canvases are one of the latest additions to Obsidian, and my excitement about them refuses to go away. Here's why.
The only canvas I use for the whole base is called "Quests". It works similarly to the Kanban board, but without the "TODO" column (those are just in the storage) and includes root notes for ongoing projects, such as articles in progress, books I'm reading and movies I'm watching, preparations for exams, and work on certification. Most of those tasks have deadlines, and seeing them on one plate helps prioritize the task list for any particular day or week.
Notes related to completed projects are being moved to the left side of the canvas under the "Completed" header.
The beauty of Obsidian's canvas is in its ability to not only refer to a particular note but also to show its content.
Lately, in addition to my cloud storage, I rely heavily on the synchronization provided by the Obsidian team. Built-in synchronization allows to sync vaults between various devices, such as laptops and phones, and, hopefully, support developers simultaneously.
You can read more about the sync plan by Obsidian here.
As you can see, the setup is straightforward. It's been working successfully for me for a while, and I'm delighted Obsidian keeps updating its app and improving it.
I hope this article helps generate some ideas about organizing your knowledge base.
Feel free to reach out and share your setup ✉️