Introduction to Obsidian - 3

–Personal Obsidian Knowledge Workflow
project management

RJ Cody Markelz


February 1, 2023

After 1.5 years of use I have dialed in a nice workflow with Obsidian. See part 1 and part 2 for an introduction. One of the main reasons I like Obsidian is it just adds a layer on top of my current markdown notes. I can easily copy notes, back them up, move them to a new machine, access them in multiple ways, etc. completely independently of Obsidian. Adding the links between notes as I think about them and having those links updated if notes move around.

I am primarily using obsidian as a personal wiki. I have some structure that fits the general categories of my life: MAKE, LIVE, THINK, EXPLORE. All of these overlap with one another, but it is helpful to partition them out in this way because it is similar to how I chunk my activity time.

LIVE - This category includes human relationships, food and cooking, house and van related activities, our permaculture garden, and general socializing.
MAKE - This category is dedicated to art, technique, illustration.
THINK - This category is for math, statistics, AI/ML, and science.
EXPLORE - The category is for physical fitness, outdoor activities, gear maintenance, travel, nature observation, and exploration.

A few examples of overlaps for these categories would be: group trail runs (LIVE-EXPLORE), analyzing heart rate data (THINK-EXPLORE), blogging about an adventure that included illustrations and data visualizations (THINK-EXPLORE-MAKE).

Now with this structure in place I organize all my different projects and goals that fit into these categories using Obsidian. I have a balance between completely new notes for every single idea and predetermining the importance of that information as it comes in. I tried just being loose with the notes, but my projects are diverse enough, especially in the learning phase, that it becomes too cluttered. Each major sub-category gets its own markdown overview document. These overview docs link to one another, the individual notes and the images within the respective directories.

A simplified and lightly edited view of my obsidian vault directory:

Overview Documents

Goal Documents

Additional Notes Directories


Organizing things in this way balances a structure and looseness of idea capture. It also mirrors how I organize my time in real life to reduce any frictions that might arise by having different mental models for organizing digital information and physical information and actions.

Up next in this series: A more detailed view using obsidian for a project.