Obsidian

    Two Web Clipper solutions I use to send information to Obsidian.

    Collecting information is an important part of my learning process, but Obsidian doesn’t have something as powerful as the Evernote Web Clipper.

    To find a solution, I tried different ideas until I came up with one that works well for me. I use two different tools, and I hope that they will inspire you to create your own system.

    There are two types of clippings I do.

    Sometimes, I need to preserve the page format, and even Evernote’s Web Clipper is not always good at that. This is the reason why I began using the print to PDF function and then dragging the PDF into a note in Evernote. You can see how I do it by watching the video below.

    For this specific type of clipping, I am doing the same on Obsidian. But, since there’s nothing there similar to the ‘forward email to Evernote’ feature, I’m also ‘printing to PDF’ the emails I what to keep. However, like I explained in a recent video, I’m not creating notes for PDFs anymore. I’m simply saving them as files in the related folders.

    The other type of clipping I do is text. Most of the time, all I need is the information, the text, and Evernote’s Web Clipper was always excellent at that. As for Obsidian, here’s where Steph Ango amazing solution was super helpful.

    Like other Obsidian features and plugins, there are many options and a different one may be more suitable for your needs. In my case, I am enjoying the Web Clipper created by the CEO. A post on his blog even provides instructions for customizing it, which I did. How cool is that?

    His post has everything you need to understand how to install, use and customize the Web Clipper. And in my video below, I share my reasoning for doing what I do and how I customized his solution to better work with the Proprieties I use in my Obsidian notes.




    The new Obsidian Canvas is another step in the right direction.

    A couple of years ago, I tried Obsidian Canvas and was drawn to its simplicity and potential. Nonetheless, it had never been incorporated into my workflows. Until now.

    Obsidian is not for everyone, but if you prefer to write as close to simple text as possible and to keep your notes in an open format on your computer, you may fall in love with it.

    It was designed to give users control over their files, but that almost changed with the introduction of Canvas in December 2022. At least, that was my sentiment at that time.

    Obsidian notes are formatted in Markdown, meaning that I can open them anywhere, even if the app ceases to exist tomorrow. Unfortunately, the same was not true for the Canvas feature. It had its own format, which is why I was always reluctant to use it to create content. If you don’t know what Canvas is or how to use it, you can learn all about it in the first part of the video below.

    Fortunately, that recently changed with the announcement that the Canvas file format is now called JSON Canvas, which, in turn, became an open file format. That’s a huge step in the right direction. It means that other people and companies can create compatible apps. And as you can see in the second half of the video below, there are already some compatible apps available.

    In other words, we no longer have to worry about our Canvas files becoming locked inside an app. Thank you, Obsidian!




    The best productivity and organization books in my library (not what you think)

    People often ask me for book recommendations on topics such as productivity and organization, but I can never think of anything to suggest. Instead, I tell them that the books that help me are usually not the traditional ones explaining methods or techniques.

    We are all unique and have different needs. Furthermore, we are exposed to such diverse environments. How is it possible that a single method will be effective for everyone? Some authors even claim that, although their method is excellent if fully implemented, you are free to use the parts and processes that best fit you. How convenient is that?

    Containers

    The way I organize my information is through what I call containers. I have notebooks in Evernote or folders in Obsidian that let me quickly switch from one project or reference material to another whenever I need to or want to do so. And by the way, there’s no archive in my system. Everything is always exposed because that’s where creativity feeds from.

    For example, if I’m working on something and have an insight for another project, all I have to do is open the other notebook or folder, take some notes, and then go back to what I was doing before. The cmd + j (Mac) or Ctrl + q (Win) commands on Evernote make it a breeze. Unfortunately, I am still looking for something as efficient on Obsidian.

    But if what comes to my mind is entirely new, I will create a new container and decide what to do with it in the future.

    I have a video on my organization system coming soon. For now, I suggest you watch the one below to give you an idea of when a new container is created and how it evolves.

    When I have reached my limits working on a topic and need a moment or two to relax, switching to another personal or work-related project is what helps me.

    I can leave and work on another container because I have all the information and progress in each one. So, when I arrive at the subsequent container or revisit a previous one in the future, everything will be there exactly as I left it.

    The Best Books

    Let’s get back to the books. The best ones usually have nothing to do with productivity or organization. The more I read about different topics, the more it seems like every book has something that can help me become more efficient. Sometimes, it’s a single sentence, other times a paragraph or two from a 600-page book.

    I’m currently reading the biography of Louis Mountbatten, and I came across two strategies that I’ve been using for a while and that I’ve seen mentioned repeatedly in the oddest books and articles.

    My System

    I learned very early on that I had to take notes to make sure I didn’t forget something. It took me a long time to figure out a system, but when I stopped looking for external solutions and focused on my needs, it all came together.

    Creating my own version of a basic CRM with notes about everyone I met was the first thing I did. This happened before Evernote, so I used the description section of each contact on my Palm Pilot to take my notes about the person and each meeting. It was both simple and extremely helpful. People were always amazed at my memory. And every time I told them about my secret, they were even more impressed.

    I have never stopped doing it, and the system evolved when I moved to Evernote and then to Obsidian. But what if I told you this idea is as old as time? Take a look at the passage below. Mountbatten was doing the exact same thing in the 1930s.

    Do you remember my containers with information? Those were also born on my Palm Pilot, but they were in the Memo Pad app. The topics were organized so that I could easily add or find information.

    However, it was only when I started using Evernote that I was able to create containers that would allow me to switch from one project or topic to another when I needed to escape exhaustion. Once again, I will soon release a video detailing my approach to managing all the information I keep in these containers. For now, let’s take a look at the other strategy used by Mountbatten.

    When he needed to relax, he would turn his attention to another project. Isn’t that cool?

    Now, who is Mountbatten, you ask? A last-century specialist in organization and productivity? Far from it, but I’ll let you do your investigation on that.




    Warning! There's a swell of YouTube Shorts coming your way.

    I’m currently putting together a script for a long video explaining how I manage information, with examples of how it works on Evernote and Obsidian, but it’s taking me longer than I anticipated. In the meantime, I thought it might be useful to share some quick tips and tricks I employ to streamline my workflow. And YouTube Shorts happens to be a good format for that.



    Google Tasks is just too convenient not to use

    I had already moved my Evernote tasks to Obsidian with the help of the Tasks plugin, but I found out that Google Tasks was a better fit for my needs.

    Even though I don’t like tasks, if you check out my videos about Evernote Tasks, you’ll see that I had a system in place for birthdays, bills, and other paperwork for my company. For everything else, I always use Kanban boards.

    Similar to many other journeys I shared with you in the past, this one is also about experimenting and finding the best option for my specific needs. As I always say, it’s more important to create a good system that works for you than to try to find a magical app.

    Did you know?

    Although the Android and iOS apps were available from the very beginning, it used to be that the task drawer (1) was the only way to interact with your to-dos in a browser. That changed a while ago. You can also use Tasks as standalone application by clicking the icon at the top of the screen (2) or visiting tasks.google.com.

    All the features are identical, but the dedicated page is more visual. You can reorder lists or move tasks to different positions in a list or to different lists. It behaves more like a Kanban board, but that’s not the reason I switched to Google Tasks.

    Another important piece of information to keep in mind is that it doesn’t matter how many lists you create or delete; the first one provided by Google will always be the default list. You can rename or reorder it, but there’s no way to delete the default list. More on that latter.

    Why have I switched?

    There are many reasons. Let’s start with the fact that I have Google Assistant devices all over my home and office, and that makes it super easy for me to create tasks hands-free. There is a caveat, though. All tasks created this way will be saved in the default list. And because of this detail, I had to make a small modification to my system. We’ll get there.

    Another convenient feature is seeing my tasks on the Hub Max. It recognizes my face when I look at it and shows my upcoming calendar entries and tasks. And that’s not all. I can even use the touchscreen to see more tasks and mark them as completed.

    Then there is my Android phone, where I can also interact with the assistant using voice commands, even when I’m jogging. And, of course, I can use the widget to see what tasks are coming up.

    These features are too convenient to ignore.

    My system

    I only have two lists. The first one is called Activities and it’s all about recurring dates. To understand it, I invite you to watch the video below, even if you are not an Evernote user. That’s the exact system that I have transferred to Obsidian and am currently using on Google Tasks. Including the emojis 😉.

    Regarding the other list, it is the default list, even though it is ordered as the second one in my system. Everything I need to buy, from groceries to items for woodworking and other similar projects, goes on that list. It must be the default list because, more often than not, I ask Google Assistant to add items there.

    I don’t know why, but at the time of writing this article, there’s no way to make another list the default one. I have learned this the hard way, but you don’t need to. Plan ahead and figure out what kind of tasks you’ll be asking the Assistant to add more often. That should help you with your default list.

    Activities is the list I want to always keep an eye on, and that’s why it’s the first one. Every time I open the calendar, I see it. As for the other one, I only need it when I’m shopping and can easily open Google Tasks on my phone to check the items.

    But what if I told you that I never open the Tasks app on my phone? Each list has its own widget, which allows me to view the tasks, mark them as completed, and even create new ones. Again, Google Tasks is too convenient to ignore.

    One thing I’m always trying to do is remove potential complications from my systems. In the past, I tried splitting shopping items into a grocery list and a projects list, but that only added more friction to the system, as I had a third list to deal with. Since I rarely have a lot of items to buy, my human brain is capable enough to easily tell what is what on the Shopping list.

    Naturally, the number of items that have been completed on this that will increase exponentially, but that’s okay because they go to a collapsed space when marked as completed. However, if you really want a spotless list, the ‘Delete all completed tasks’ option will delete only the completed items on that list. So I can easily clean up my Shopping list without messing with my Activities list.

    That’s it. As I said before, I manage everything else using Kanban boards because they give me a much better view of the status of each project. But that’s a story for another day.




    Finding my perfect match: #Evernote or #Obsidian?

    After all the content I’ve published about Evernote, I’m sure many of you are wondering why the most recent shift towards Obsidian. The truth is that there is more to it than simply switching to another app. If we zoom in on how they work, each one is clearly a suitable match for different types of users. But what if I am a combination of two different groups of users?



    After importing notes from #Evernote into #Obsidian, the typed portion of the notes will be placed in a folder, while the images and other files will be located in another folder. But is this the best way to keep everything in Obsidian organized?

    youtu.be/5P-ZY9MUo…



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