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how to setup obsidianmd with para, note taking & tasks

This article describes how you setup your work / writing environment to be productive.1 It use Obsidian to organize what I you do and write. The high-level structure are PARA folders.2 You'll create and configure folder, plugin, and template to setup the general organization & usability, the task management & note taking and finally the folders for projects, areas, and resources. The setup avoids plugins & fancy features. If you have ideas to simplify the setup mail me I'm always happy to improve 😊

Organization & Usability

  1. Plugin Folder Notes:3 I use folder notes so I can organize projects and areas in folders and have one entrypoint to the folders.
  2. Plugin Dataview:4 To get an overview of some folders I query all articles.
  3. Folder templates: I create template folder.

I suggest you add some convenience plugins:

Projects

I create for each of my project a folder with a folder note.5 Then I initialize the project with my project template. The project template includes the

  • goal of the project,
  • the (link to) the backlog and
  • a section for resources.
  1. Create the 01_PPROJECTS folder and a folder note that holds a list of projects and a list of someday projects (they might be just some text). For each project write down the KPI and the release schedule and the DRI6.
  2. Create a template: project7
    ---
    tags: type/project status/(plan|do|done)  }
    ---
    	
    The minimal viable outcome (KPI) of this project is ...
    		
    # backlog
    		
    - [ ] LINK TO BACKLOG HERE
    	
    # status
    	
    Continously update here the status with the most important results.
    	
    # Footnotes & Resources
    	
    
  3. For each project create a folder with a folder node based on the project template

For each (planned) result in a project only write the achievement and the DRI in the status. Make tasks from then in the backlog. Write the details in an article linked in the one-line description. The articles also link to the resources.

Task Management & Note Taking

I use Things 3 to manage tasks. After I created project in things 3 with obsidian-things-link. When I in a document (meeting notes in daily note, an article of a project, area or resource) I write down a task and add it to a project backlog.

Each evening I look at Things and add timeboxes for the next day to the calendar. To plan8 the I add information about the situation to the timebox calendar entry .9 The next morning just typing ;agenda into my daily note. This snippet creates the day's agenda from my calendar with a script.

  1. Create a the journals folder for the daily notes.
  2. Configure the periodic notes plugin to create a new notes each day where I outline my agenda and note. I use day_template template for each day with sections for the agenda, notes and a link to the task overview query10.
  3. I use the calendar-to-agenda.py script to transform my calendar into my agenda.7

Areas

I create for each (private) area where I maintain a standard a folder note inside 02_AREAS. I initialize the folder note with my area template. The area template contains goal (key results) and regular habits that help to maintain the standard. These habits lead to timebound projects with clear goals in a certain (short timespan). Finally, I collect valuable information in the resources & footnotes section.

  1. create folder: 02_AREAS.
  2. Create area template7
    ---
    tags: type/area
    ---
    	
    ## Key Results
    	
    - 
    	
    ## Habits
    	
    - 
    	
    ## Resources & Footnotes
    
  3. Then I create a overview file in the 02_AREAS folder note. The overview file use !investor#Habits syntax to create an overview of all habits and key results of each area.

I use the overview to regularly check for projects & task I need to start. Further I confirm that I do my habits.

Resources

I organize (public) "topic or theme of ongoing interest" in the 03_RESOURCE folder. One folder is a collection of related information around this topic. Inside a collection I create articles. Articles are either whatis or howto.11 For more info around the differences check knowledge management. I name the whatis article same as the content the article describes e.g. artificial intelligence / regex. I name howto articles with an howto in the name e.g. howto implement an artificial intelligence product / howto regex.12 I click on the collection folder and then use Shift - N to create a new note. whatis articles explain a topic and create understanding / foundations e.g. "what is artificial intelligence". Howto articles describe how to do somethings e.g. "How to implement a model (to identify cars)".

  1. Create 03_RESOURCES folder with a collection.
  2. Create a collection template
---
tags: type/collection
classification: private
title: ''
aliases: []
season: spring
---

This file list all the different articles.

```dataview
TABLE WITHOUT ID
  link(file.link, title) AS "Title", type AS "Type", tags AS "Tags" FROM #computerscience
WHERE "type != collection" AND contains(tags, "")
SORT file.mtime DESC
/```
  1. Create articles template
---
type: howto|whatis, samplecollectionName, sampleRelatedCollection
season: winter
classification: private
title: ''
aliases: []
---

- Intro (Goal, Situation/Complication/Background) - This article describes ...

- Content (depending on the topics differnt formats e.g. RFC/ADR format, 6 pager ... with differnt chapters)


## Footnotes & Resources



  1. Use the templates to create the collections and articles. Differentiate between howto and whatis in the tags and add relatedCollectionNames.13

Optional:

  • You can setup devonthink for a better search.
  • You also want to prevent to write private information into a public note. The highlight public notes plugin flags public notes based on the frontmatter classification with a read heading.
  • You can use the Flashcards to turn articles into anki cards to learn them continously.

Footnotes & Resources

Further I use some non-essential plugins 14.


  1. I'm a knowledge worker so, at the core at what I do is writing. Therefore, this setup focuses on my writing environment. 

  2. The obisdian forum explains PARA in the context of Obsidian and provides a starter kit

  3. Install the folder-note and folder note core plugin. 

  4. Install the dataview plugin. 

  5. project should have a clear outcome and you should finish project within a sprint (max a quarter) 

  6. Based on the yc guide, the KPI and the release schedule. The schedule might be weekly. The DRI is the "head of product". 

  7. I execute my scripts with Typinator. e.g. ;agenda. The template holds a tag with the typ to find archive project later in the archive.  2 3

  8. Planning is essential to effiently execute. In my experience if i haven't planned the task of a day, I either plan to much or do them inefffiently. 

  9. It is important to know what my goal is in meetings and share an agenda up front

  10. Idea: Only link to a note that includes the query. that makes it easier for me to work with the daily note. In that note I can then also have multiple queries available. 

  11. The stackoverflow articles concept use also classifies articles into whatis and howto

  12. I use folders for projects an tags for resources coparision graph / best pratices for finder tags. I tried to simplify by using index notes over tags but the plugin wasn't mature enough. Based on an article why folders are still the more mature solution 

  13. Alternative: make the route folder of an resource the whatis note that explains the resource collection. Then create other sub notes in the right collection and explain the root note what this is. So that you can read the whatis note and understand the rough overview of what is in the collection. The tag the article with the #collectionName and other related collections. 

  14. incremental writing, Obsidian_to_Anki, …