Having described my overall system and how I use Obsidian in more detail for daily work, task management and networked note writing, in this posting I turn to how I arrange for low friction flow in Obsidian.
An important functionality of Obsidian is that you can arrange different panes in which you can show files or other things. This is useful in various basic ways, e.g. to have a note you are editing open twice, once to edit, once seeing the preview. Or, as in the image below, to have a note open, with search results, a graph of connected ideas, and an overview of backlinks.
Basic pane layout in Obsidian, search results, a file, a network graph and backlinks
Every pane can be split horizontally and/or vertically, and again, up to the point it fills your entire screen. This allows me to for instance in a client conversation have my task list for that project, notes from our previous conversation as well as in-depth notes about the work, all in one overview, next to the file in which I’m taking notes from the ongoing meeting itself. While in parallel to all that I still have the ability to pull all kinds of other information or conceptual description during the meeting. This allows me to quickly bring up things in high detail, and easily switch between high-level and low-level things, organisational aspects and the topic at hand etc.
Where this functionality comes into its own is where you can save specific pane / screen set-ups and switch between them as different workspaces. Since recently there is a workspaces plugin that does this. You can also do it by hand or scripted in the background. The current set-up is always stored in a file called workspace in the Obsidian folder in your vault. It’s a JSON file describing the screen lay-out. If you copy and rename that, you have saved your workspace. If you put it back and reload Obsidian you have reinstated that workspace. The plugin does the same thing but smoothly from within Obsidian itself.
This means I can switch between workspaces at will, such as:
- The daily start workspace (which includes today’s daylog, yesterday’s daylog, the root task list and month map, the quarterly goals and an #urgent search)
- The weekly review workspace (quarterly goal list, weeklog, review template, root tasklist, monthmap)
- The month map workspace (#urgent, root tasklist, last month map, this month map, quarterly goals)
- The conference call workspace (Project main note, project task list, last call’s notes, new notes, project details)
- Note writing (search, graph, pane with relevant other note(s), note being written)
The workspace I use at the start of the day: #urgent things on the left, today’s log and yesterday’s log in the middle, full taks list, quarterly goals, and month map on the right.
This list of handy workspaces may still grow over time I suspect for different aspects of my work.
There’s one more posting on my use of Obsidian left. It will be more of a summary, on what makes Obsidian work well for me, and why it fits my preferences.