Personal task management with Obsidian

As we discussed in the post "When you're overwhelmed, simplify", simplifying complex tasks is crucial. This is especially true when you're involved in multiple workstreams and collaborate with dozens of people simultaneously daily.

In situations like these, my main approach is to keep information well-organized and enhance workflow with some automation, which includes:

Obsidian #

My tool of choice helping to harness daily chaos is a free markdown-based editor Obsidian. If you're interested why I choose Obsidian over Notion, Logseq, Apple Notes and other tools see this post.

TLDR: Obsidian is fast and secure (everything is stored locally), has excellent mobile apps, has a great plugin ecosystem, and seems like a high-quality product (I faced zero bugs for the past year). Although it's free and you can sync files via any cloud storage, it's somewhat non-trivial to set it up for iOS. So, in the end, I bought a built-in Obsidian cloud sync solution for personal use, and for work, I use a different vault which lives only on a corp laptop.

The workflow #

Video with process in the nutshell: creating tasks, listing most important tasks, archiving tasks

The process is focused around:

Tasks: High-priority tasks #

This section is generated by filter provided by "Tasks" community plugin. Here's how query looks like:

not done
priority is above medium

It's a live list which auto-updates on changes. "Tasks" plugin provides tons of filters. I also use one more filter on tasks with #code tag to distinguish tasks where I need to code something. I'm trying to plan my day in way to spend a least some time on coding.

Tasks: Projects list #

Each item is a project's title and a list of related tasks. Each project's title is also a linked reference to another page which contains important information on a project like:

Completed tasks #

"Archiver" plugin moves completed tasks to this designated page. This is a great help during performance review and overall helps when you want to remember what's done and what's left to do.

Other aspects of Obsidian I use #


Also I make extensive use of Obsidian's inter-linking feature, which organizes references quickly and effectively. By inter-linking I mean wrapping topic, peoples, subjects, etc. in [[]] so it becomes a link to a page. For instance, during the meeting I can write to a fresh daily note a few lines about some project like: "Before the launch of [[SDP]] project we need to complete a security review". And once I'll open SDP's project page I immediatly will see a backlink to this note. Very helpful!

Conclusion #

In the process outlined above, I've aimed to strike the right balance between the complexity of the workflow and the value it delivers. Hope it will hit the right spot for you too!

References #

  1. Stephen Wolfram, Seeking the Productive Life: Some Details of My Personal Infrastructure. Amazing article by Stephen Wolfram on his 30 years+ productivity journey.
  2. Michael Morowitz, How I Manage Tasks (and more) in Obsidian. Great post with even more automations around task management via Obsidian. That's where I found out about Archiver plugin. Previously I used Text Transport plugin which is less suitable for tasks specifically.
  3. Bas Korsten, Train Your Brain to Be More Creative. Just a nice article on HBR on improving productivity via engaging with nature, moving, connecting with more people, mediations.
  4. Keita Umejima, Takuya Ibaraki, Takahiro Yamazaki, Kuniyoshi L. Sakai. Paper Notebooks vs. Mobile Devices: Brain Activation Differences During Memory Retrieval.
#productivity #task planning


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