Two Weeks Into Moving To Obsidian As My GTD System

Obsidian-basic-backgroundIntroduction

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:

  1. Get Obsidian working in Linux on my Chromebook.
  2. Get Obsidian working on my Windows 11 Desktop.
  3. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Learning

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:

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.

My-obsidian-structure

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!


2022 Continuous Year Calendar PDFs For Free Download

Last year I was inspired to share my own version of Kairos Cognition's 2021 Continuous Calendar, and they now have their 2022 version available for sale:

Karios2022 Calendar

Unfortunately, I don't have a good place for such a large calendar in my workspace, so I created my own versions for 2021. 

Here are my personally updated ones for 2022.  First a vertical version (prints 8.5 x 11-inch):

Vertical-2022-calendar

2022 Vertical Continuous Calendar PDF Download

And a smaller horizontal version that I have cut out, and laminated so I can easily place it right on my desk right under my monitor:

Horizontal-2022-calendar

https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/am/2022_Horizontal_Continuous_Calendar.pdf

Please let me know if you have any comments, suggestions, or corrections.  Thanks!  Happy New Year!

 


GTD Tip: Moving Content Someday/Maybe Items Into A Different List Manager

SomedayMaybe_thumb

My current personal external Getting Things Done (GTD) brain/tool is Nirvana.  I recently decided to move some of my "content" related items in my Someday/Maybe list to external list options in tools that are native for that type of content.

For books I moved them to an Amazon Book Want To Read List.  This is using Amazon's Wishlist option.

For movies and TV shows, I am using the Watchlist feature in IMDB.

One of the benefits of this approach was it got each of these content types into a more "non-text" list in Nirvana with more visuals, and it helped to speed up my review of my Someday/Maybe items during my GTD Weekly Review.

I also have a Wishlist on Amazon for physical things I might want to purchase.  When something new comes a long that looks interesting, but I don't know for sure that it will be useful, I put them in this list.  And then I review it every month or so to see if any items are really something I need.  Not just something I wanted at the spur of the moment.

If you have any suggestions on other types of list tools for content, then please let me know.


Getting Things Done (GTD) Journals #1-3

I was recently cleaning out my office at work so that I could share the office with another co-worker, and I came across the printed versions of David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD) Journal #2 (2007) & #3 (2008) which were produced for members of GTD Connect.

I reached out to John Forrister at GTD Connect to see if it was OK for me to scan the two journals I had into PDFs and post them.  He kindly said it was OK to post them, but he also surprised me by sent me the PDF versions so I wouldn't have to scan them.  The icing on the cake was that John also sent GTD Journal #1 (2006 or 2007?) which I had never seen.  Thanks John!

So here they are:

GTD-Quarterly-v1n1-graphicGTD Journal #1 (PDF Download)

GTD Journal #1 table of contents:

  1. Cleaning and clearing
  2. The 5 Phases of GTD workflow - Restated
  3. The powerful “10” factor
  4. Checklisting
  5. ROI for a paper-based filing system that works
  6. Writing your own testimonial
  7. One GTD List that’s already working for most everybody
  8. Apropos of nothing special
  9. A case for a soft focus and serendipity
  10. Just a second–is that another blog?
  11. The Budding Gourmet
  12. List Talk

GTD-Quarterly-v1n2-graphicGTD Journal #2 (PDF Download)

GTD Journal #2 table of contents:

  1. Who’s Connected
  2. A “Personal vs. Professional Conversation”
  3. Validating Voices
  4. Categorizing Action Lists The David Allen Way
  5. Decision Making And Next Actions
  6. Have Your Lists Become Listless?
  7. How Old Do You Need To Be To Get Things Done?
  8. Book Review: The Power Of A Positive No
  9. When A Checklist Is A Next Action
  10. David Allen’s Personal Tool Kit

GTD-Quarterly-v1n3-graphicGTD Journal #3 (PDF Download)

GTD Journal #3 table of contents:

  1. Speed is Key: Making the Most of Your Computer Time
  2. File Folders? Priceless!
  3. Reducing Your Junk Email
  4. The Strategic Applications of GTD
  5. The Weekly Review Booklet
  6. This is Your Elephant on GTD
  7. A Capture Tip for Travelers
  8. Next Time In...
  9. A GTD Reminder
  10. A Message to David
  11. Email, Hamsters and Literacy
  12. What Goes in My Tickler File
  13. Getting Things Done with an iPhone
  14. Rumble Strips
  15. Betty
  16. GTD and Martin Buber
  17. GTD at Home: Improving Communication
  18. The Benefits of GTD
  19. GTD Tips from a Commuter Mom
  20. GTD & Vacations
  21. More on GTD & Vacations

Thoughts & Tips for May 2021

Circle-blur-1This photo is part of my Blurry collection.

CURRENT HAPPENINGS

All but one of us is vaccinated. Guess which one? Ha Ha! #stay_home_if_sick, #wash_your_hands, #social_distance, #wear_a_mask

Theoaks2Christy and I had a great 2nd retreat to The Oaks to celebrate our 27th Wedding Anniversary.  It was super reflective and restful.  Here are some photos!

I recently did a Getting Things Done (GTD) related presentation to Manager-Tools' M Conference attendees alumni group.  Here is more information about the presentation with an offer to present to other groups or organizations that are interested in productivity.

Scavenger-huntMy work did a virtual Spring Break scavenger hunt (above are some of the photos).  It was super fun and collaborative with friends & family helping out. It was also nice to get out-and-about little bit more. I highly recommend doing something like this if you have the opportunity.

LOOKING FORWARD TO

Carson-lb-state-Carson is going to be graduating high-school soon, and has decided to go to Long Beach State to study nursing.  We are very proud and excited for her upcoming college season.

Summer vacation plans seem to be coming together: Mission Beach beach house rental, back to The Oaks, Def Con (Las Vegas), and camping at San Elijo State Beach.

I am hoping that my friend's D&D session (mentioned in previous posts) will get us through this epic battle I have been DMing for months, and on to a new "underwater" related adventure created by our other DM Darren.

TECHNOLOGY, TIPS, & SUGGESTIONS

Here are some greate Windows 10 tips from ZDNET. The one about the new Clipboard History is especially useful as I have had to use a 3rd party tool to do this in the past.  To open Clipboard History, press Windows key + V. Neat!

Wireless-podcast-gear

I have been experimenting with these Rode Wireless Go Compact Microphone Transmitter & Receiver Systems for The PodCraft Beer Show.  So far they are working well, and they definitely decrease the amount of gear I need to drag to each recording.  I think they are also making the conversational style of the podcast easier to record, and edit on the back end.  I'll probably do a future full review, so standby for more information.

Engadget's article on "Google makes it easy to jump back to the search box by pressing '/' -- The new shortcut makes it easier to refine your search results." should enable you to quickly expand searches to include addition terms.

I knew how to schedule the release of emails, but this article from Wired describes how to do this on Apple iOS devices and on Google Android devices for text messages.  Super handy to know.

QUOTE I'M THINKING ABOUT

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” - Peter Drucker


Thoughts & Tips For January 2021

Pine-needle-treeThis photo is part of my Nature Collection!

CURRENT HAPPENINGS

Over the past month we have been celebrating outdoors & socially distanced the Holidays, Christmas, and New Year's Eve. Best of all is that we continue to be blessed with a hedge of protection with regards to COVID-19 and health in general.

Christmas2020

Unfortunately I do have some bad news -- on Saturday morning (December 26) we found out our elderly black lab Kaley escaped our yard, and we have not been able to find her.  We are all very concerned and sad.  But we continue to hold out hope she will be found:

Screenshot 2021-01-01 at 1.08.46 PM

SUPER FUN ADVENT CRAFT BEER CALENDAR

Chris and Charlie -- the hosts of ThePodcraft Beer Show -- gave me this awesome customized Advent Calendar filled with twenty-four excellent craft beers:

Thepodcraft-advent-calendar

You can see photos, descriptions, and top 3 list here!

HOLIDAY SCAVENGER HUNT

The NAVWAR Enterprise had a fun virtual scavenger hunt for employees and their families over the weekend of December 18-20, 2020.  The family had a good time working on it.  We didn't finish in the Fastest Top 30, but we got everything done!

Scavenger-hunt

TECHNOLOGY, TIPS, & SUGGESTIONS

If you are looking for a great coffee mug, tea kettle, desk/garden creatures, or unique stickers/t-shirts/etc. then check out Skeletal Dropkick!  I am enjoying my new Bear Mug, and custom D&D stickers!  I also got an original custom drawing on my box! FUN!

Skeletal-dropkick

If you are doing "family" tech support for folks on multiple platforms, then check out the free Chrome Remote Desktop tool from Google.  It works cross platform, and also works on Chromebooks.  I personally use this nearly on a daily basis to get from my Chromebook to my Windows 10 PC for Windows-based activities.

This site puts some things in perspective on what has changed since you were born - https://neal.fun/life-stats/. It includes a lot of positive data, and not so much on data that might be controversial, but definitive worth trying out.

This great calendar visualization of 2021 continuous year from Kairos Cognition (a productivity consulting & consulting firm associated with David Allen's Getting Things Done) inspired me to create my own version in Google Docs which I published in PDF.  This is what mine looks like:

My-Continuous-Wall-Calendar-2021

In discussing this continuous year calendar on the GTD Connect forms, a fellow member shared his own horizontal version.  I copied it (PDF) and here is what it looks like:

My-Continuous-Wall-Calendar-2021-Horizontal

QUOTE I'M THINKING ABOUT

“Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?” — George Carlin


Thoughts & Tips For November 2020

IMG_7341This photo is part of my Wood Collection.  Also check out  my Nature Collection!

CURRENT EVENTS

It is quite a blessing that we continue to be healthy on the COVD-19 front. We continue to be vigilant and focused: #wear_a_mask; #wash_your_hands, #social_distance, and #stay_home_if_sick. 

My candidate for President of the United States in 2020 continues to be Jo Jorgensen. Hopefully the Presidential election will not end up with a lot of legal battles, and the country can come together on whomever wins. We need to change the narrative about how to disagree agreeably, debating with facts & science, and stop the militarization of politics and public discord.

OTHER THINGS THAT ARE GOING WELL

  • The PodCraft Beer Show has had a lot of great craft beers recently. Fun times.
  • D&D game play continues and is super fun.
  • I had two Getting Things Done (GTD) classes in October - one virtual and one in-person.  They both went pretty well.  The virtual one still needs some debugging.

HEALTH EXPERIMENT

I've been doing a 28-day glucose test using LEVELS.  I learned about the offering via this podcast that Kevin Rose had with Josh Clemente -- "Why track your glucose levels?".  A couple of things I've learned with my intermittent fasting routine:

  • Fruit, juice, etc. (anything with sugar) shouldn't be in the first hour of my eight hour eating window.
  • Yoplait yogurt tastes great, but that is probably because of the sugar which nearly always spikes my glucose.
  • I can keep my glucose levels less "spikey" if I eat my normal fruit serving in two half-settings spread out over 15-20 minutes.
  • Looking more at labels of things trying to add food items with less sugar.
  • Walking or riding my bike after eating keeps my glucose levels more "flat."
  • IPAs, Pale Ales, Lagers, etc. don't seem to increase my glucose levels.  All the new stouts, fruit beers, and some sours with a lot of fruit that I've now trying because of ThePodCraft do "spike" my glucose levels.
  • Gin & tonics, & bourbon do not seem to increase my glucose levels.

TECHNOLOGY, TIPS, & SUGGESTIONS

If you need to export your Google Keep notes, then here is how to get them out in individual HTML files => TIP!

Another good tip if you are using a Chromebook:

Good tip to share

Another good Chromebook tip is to make sure your Downloads directory in Chrome is not the Downloads directory on the local drive of the Chromebook.  I recommend switching it to a folder in Google Drive.  If you ever have to Powerwash your Chromebook back to factory reset, then you will more than likely not lose any data.

QUOTE I'M THINKING ABOUT

"If we have 6 hours to cut a tree, the wise will use 4 hours to sharpen the axe." - Abraham Lincoln


Thoughts & Tips For October 2020

Wood-oct-2020This photo is part of my Wood Collection.  Also check out  my Nature Collection!

CURRENT EVENTS

We are AOK on the COVD-19 front.  We continue to be vigilant and focused: #wear_a_mask; #wash_your_hands, #social_distance, and #stay_home_if_sick.  

My candidate for President of the United States in 2020 continues to be Jo Jorgensen. I think she would have been great in the 1st debate (#letherspeak, #letherdebate), but that didn't happen.  I think the Presidential Debates need to move back to a non-partisan group like League of Women Voters as the Presidential Debate Commission is just run by the Republican & Democratic parties with no interest in real republican democracy and a free marketplace of ideas.

Theoaks1Christy and I had a wonderful opportunity to do a self-guided retreat with COVID-19 protections at The Oaks the last weekend in September. It was an amazing weekend -- where we were able to relax, connect, and grow. Here are some photos of the amazing facilities and grounds.  And here are some pictures of nature from around the area.  Highly recommended!  If you have any questions, then please let me know.

Theoaks2

I also managed to record the event bell on the last day.  There are two versions.  One with little changes from the original recording:

And another where I tried to clean up the audio a little bit:

OTHER THINGS THAT ARE GOING WELL

  • The PodCraft Beer Show continues to put out weekly shows.  It is a lot of fun.
  • Still playing D&D. It is also a lot of fun.
  • I taught a socially distanced -- with additional COVID-19 protections -- Getting Things Done (GTD) class at work in September.  It went pretty well.  Next up is a virtual GTD class in early October.  That is going to be a learning experience!

EXPERIMENTING WITH MEDITATION

I'm still enjoying my emerging meditation practice. I got a couple of emails about my meditation post from last month, and the benefits others have had with meditation. The Oak app that I have been using to help me build out my practice has three main functions  (HOME, COURSES, GROWTH):

Oak1

Under the HOME you will see (I use the Meditate > Unguided):

Oak3

And under COURSES you will see (at the time of this post) just one available course (but more are planned):

Oak2

If you press on GROWTH you will see your personal tracker on how you are doing by day.  I can see my current streak and my longest streak for Meditate > Unguided since this the only one I am using at this time.  It is pretty simple and well designed.  I recommend it if you are looking for something to experiment with.

TECHNOLOGY, TIPS, & SUGGESTIONS

My favorite audio editing program is still the open-source application Audacity.  It works on Macs, Windows, and Linux.

The two days a week I am riding my bike with a stationary-trainer on our backyard porch, I am nearly always watching videos from this You Tube channel Indoor Cycling Videos. They are excellent!

For the last month or so, I have been trying to look at my Getting Things Done (GTD) Next Action lists and my Projects list as something doable in the next 7 days.  So far, I've seen more throughput in completing more projects and tasks.  Items that are outside of 7 days are moved to the Later list in Nirvana for my personal system, and a similar Next Actions (Later) list in Microsoft Outlook Tasks for my work system.  These Later lists are then reviewed using  a lens of -- "is this doable in a month" -- and if the answer is "No", then the item moves to Someday/Maybe.  This has definitely increased the number of "Someday/Maybe" items, but that has been manageable since I am reviewing them once a week during my Weekly Review.

QUOTE I'M THINKING ABOUT

“Having resentment against someone is like drinking poison and thinking it will kill your enemy.” ― Nelson Mandela


Thoughts & Tips for August 2020

Wood-Aug-2020Photo by Steve Holden. MORE LIKE THIS!

CURRENT EVENTS

We are still health on the COVD-19 front.  We continue to be vigilant and focused: #wear_a_mask; #wash_your_hands, #social_distance, and #stay_home_if_sick.

ReopeningHELPING LAUNCH A NEW PODCAST

Square Graphic 300 x 300 px - Edited
Two friends Chris & Charlie have started a new podcast about craft beer with my help. You may think I know a lot about beer, but they know a ton more than I do. I learn something new everytime we record a show. The PodCraft Beer Show is currently at episode two, and the third episode should be out on August 3, 2020. I am primarily focused on audio recording, production, editing, and digital distribution.  In addition, I am also helping in setting up some of the services for website development, social media, and other backend stuff. Lots of fun!

TECHNOLOGY AND TIPS

With over a month of almost daily hands-on testing, I am now a big fan of the AfterShokz Black Diamond Xtrainerz. The bone conducting technology does take a little bit of time to get use to, but once I did, I like not having the headphone part in my ear even with the great headphones I had before. The Xtrainerz is a pretty straight forward MP3 player, basically you load files into folders and you can play the folder in order or shuffle them.  At the top level you can also shuffle or play the folders in order.  All in all I recommend them if you are swimming a lot, and want to listen to music while you swim.

Xtrainerz Black Diamond

When I am not swimming, I have been listening to more Audible lately than podcasts.  My main focus is plowing through books that I bought in the past, but have never listened to. You can try Audible for free for 30-days and get two free books if you want. Over the last month:

D&D

Corkin-3D-model-graphic
My Halfling Fighter In 3D!

Dungeons & Dragons continues to be a great new hobby (my personal blessing from CV-19), and it is awesome to be playing with friends from high school on a regular basis. The main physical books that I bought were the: DM Guide, Player Guide, Monster Manual, and DM Screen.  The tools we are using to play online include: Zoom/Discord (for video collaboration), Beyond D&D, (for character sheets & DM resources), and Roll20 (for sharing maps, combat, etc).  Two of my favorite mapping tools are: Inkarnate (for world, geographic, city, and town mapping) and Dungeon Scrawl (for dungeons, buildings, combat level maps, etc).  If you want a demo, then let me know.

OTHER TOPICS

  • My in-person David Allen Getting Things Done (GTD) classes at work for August and September are still technically on the calendar, but I'm not confident I'll be able teach them with us still being on maximum telework. I am starting to scope out a Virtual GTD Training Class using Adobe Connect. (Editorial Opinion: I hope Adobe got the memo that Flash (.swf) is dead.  Just get with the program please.)
  • Related to GTD and the above mention of re-reading of "The Power of Habit" by Charles Duhigg, I recently took for work the Power Of Habit class from Vital Smarts.  I am still unpacking the training and will report more in the future.
  • My music listening has been all over the board recently.  One band that continues to impress me is Lo Moon. I was introduced to them as the opening band for Chvrches in San Diego last fall.  I call them the Talk Talk of today. They are on heavy rotation. Music for the soul.

QUOTE I'M THINKING ABOUT

"The more control you have over your attention, the more control you have over your future." - James Clear