My first week with Obsidian

Minimlr's photo
Minimlr
·Oct 16, 2022·

4 min read

After watching Tiago Forte's interview with Nick Milo, I thought I would give Obsidian another go. The video spoke about different features that actually interested me. Obsidian can do a lot more than I originally thought.

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I started off with the Linux Flatpak of Obsidian on my Fedora 36 install. Purely local. I was getting the hang of the settings and how Obsidian functioned. At first, I must admit, the settings were overwhelming and I had struggled to understand what the features looked like when enabled. I spent possibly two hours reading through Reddit posts, Tweets, YouTube videos and the help guide on Obsidian's website (which I should have looked at first). It became clear to me that Obsidian was a lot more than simply markdown. There were so many features to it and I wanted to know more. There was even a slash command that I was enjoying in Craft Docs. I was annoyed that there wasn't a spellchecker. However, on second glance, I found it in the settings! Happy days.

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The more I used Obsidian through the week, the more I wanted to experience it on other devices I owned. I researched different methods of synchronising my data across devices. I use a mixture of iOS, ChromeOS, Windows and Linux. Both pros and cons of each cloud services where weighed up. I decided to go with Obsidian's own syncing service. It is pricey but removing the friction in the process is worth it. Plus, the security and privacy concerns I had made it a clear winner. I certainly didn't want my .md files resting on Google's servers (or Apple's iCloud either). I was not disappointed. Obsidian Sync is quick and there are options to synchronise settings, files and other features of Obsidian along the way. The services also offers a year's worth of version history if there were to be any problems in the process. Version history is also encrypted like the rest of my files. Thank goodness for e2ee.

In one week, I have managed to move all my Apple Notes, Notion and twenty percent of Craft Docs over to Obsidian. I'm not sure when I will have everything in one place but I would like to have my system fully organised by the end of October. I am using Building a Second Brain to organise my system with the PARA method (Projects, Areas, Resources and Archive). I found Obsidian perfect for this. All my attachments go inside a folder called Attachments (no surprises here) within my Resources folder. This is one of the odd things I have noticed with Obsidian. When I attached a file or image to a note, a separate entry for the file appears in the sidebar. I'm sure there is a setting somewhere to change this. At least I can automatically send attachments to the correct folder without having to manually move it. Bidirectional linking has to be one of the best features I have discovered in 2022. Having the ability to link my thoughts to other notes and have them appear in graph view is truly amazing. Admittedly, I don't use the graph view as much as I thought I would. For now, I have mainly used the backlinks feature at the bottom of my notes to see where the connections are.

It was only this weekend when I discovered templates within Obsidian. My hotkey Ctrl+Alt+T quickly inserts my journal template into my daily note (a daily note similar to Logseq). The speed to quickly populate a note with my journal format is impressive and insanely time efficient.

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I am still in the early days of using Obsidian but I can see the benefits so far. There are so many other features I would like to try out. Two community plugins have been installed - Kanban and calendar. I know I will have to be careful not to overcomplicate things like I did it Notion and Craft Docs because I ended up using it less frequently. I believe the complexity of my system was unmaintainable and tedious. Time to keep things simple. I will post about Obsidian again once I spent a month with the app. Please find time to follow me on Twitter @theminimlrblog.

 
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