Two Weeks Into Moving To Obsidian As My GTD System
Friday, March 25, 2022
About two weeks ago I decided to move my personal David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD) system (aka "External Brain/Trusted System") to Obsidian.md (a "free" personal knowledge management application -- note I previously thought that Obsidian was open-source but it is not).
I don't have a huge set of reasons for the switch, it just seemed like something I was very interested in doing after testing Obsidian over the last 6 months for writing, note-taking, organizing, etc.
My previous personal system was Nirvana (for everything GTD-related, but Reference), and Google Keep (for Reference). This system was up and running from January 2019 until now. Before that, I had a customized GTD-system in Google Keep. The full Google Keep system was ~5 years old. Before that, it was all Microsoft Outlook-based.
My work GTD system is Microsoft Outlook based with all my References in Microsoft OneNote or in the Windows filesystem.
Setting Things Up
My first step was to relieve my concern about being able to work across all devices. So, my first three next-actions were:
- Get Obsidian working in Linux on my Chromebook.
- Get Obsidian working on my Windows 11 Desktop.
- Sync those two systems using Google Drive.
This was pretty straightforward and was probably working seamlessly in less than 10 minutes.
Then I had to figure out how to get things to work on my Android Phone and Apple iPad:
- First I tried an Android sync tool called Folder Sync, but the changes were not very dynamic. I had to force a sync from the application before I'd see any updates in Obsidian.
- Then I realized for the Apple iPad, the options for syncing seemed to be limited to two: Apple iCloud or Obsidian Sync (paid service). With my primary data files on Google Drive, it seemed like Obsidian Sync was the better option.
- So I paid for Obsidian Sync (to get both Android & iPad sync going). I can report that this has worked very well, I've had no issues, and it is very responsive on both my Android phone and my Apple iPad. Definitely worth the money.
Now that I could trust that data would be synchronized, and available no matter which device I was using, I just started learning more about what other people have done:
- Reading up on GTD related posts on Reddit.
- Watching the following YouTube subject matter experts (SMEs):
- Signing up and reading through this excellent weekly newsletter.
- Reading through all the Obsidian documentation.
- Reviewing Markdown formatting options.
The current setup is pretty minimal after migrating my current Tasks and Projects from Nirvana, and my current active Notes (Project Support, References) in Google Keep.
Future Projects To Work On
I have used this tool -- keep-it-markdown 0.4.3 -- to migrate all my notes out of Google Keep into .md files to Google Drive. However, I still need to import those into Obsidian.
I also need to migrate a couple of lists in Nirvana -- Later & Someday/Maybe -- to Obsidian.
There is also an effort to figure out if there are other Obsidian plugins, themes, or templates I should be using.
Questions, comments, suggestions, etc. welcome!