My PKM Stack as of September 2023
I’m enrolled in cohort 2 of Mike Schmitz’s Obsidian University. Mike is an excellent educator and he’s developed considerable expertise in Obsidian. His first two sessions are deep dives into setting up a personal knowledge management (PKM) system. The first session was about philosophy, the second about specific tools he uses/recommends.
I’ve been using Obsidian pretty heavily since I first started playing with it in May 2022. I’ve got lots of notes collected and have a workflow that’s been working for me in terms of capturing information I want to think about later. Here’s my basic workflow:
- I’m doing all of my browsing in Safari on Mac, iPhone or iPad. I have used Instapaper as my read-later service for years and articles I find while browsing that I might want to save I’ll capture in Instapaper. I like Instapaper’s “clean up” approach – taking all of the extra stuff out of web pages and distilling them down to the essence of the text on the page.
- A second source of capture is Feedly which I’m using as my RSS reader and in which I also capture articles to Instapaper.
- Sometime later I’ll open Instapaper and read through what I’ve captured. If I find an article I want to add to my Obsidian vault, I will email it to Drafts using its recently added mail drop feature. Once it’s in Drafts, I used an action to save the article to my Obsidian Inbox folder which is stored in iCloud.
- Later, I’ll open Obsidian and review my Inbox folder and open each item in turn, add metadata properties to the top (using an Obsidian template that I’ve created), and – once I’m finished editing it – I’ll move the note to my Zettlekasten folder in Obsidian which is where I store all of my notes.
I also use Drafts from time to time to just capture text that I either write or dictate – and process that later in the same fashion.
What I’m still trying to figure out how to do better is taking advantage of the notes I’ve captured – revisiting them, summarizing them, using them as the basis for a new note or a blog post, etc. In other words, creating some useful output from all of the input I’ve been adding. This is very much a work in progress!
By the way, sometime that’s important to learn before or while you’re learning Obsidian is the Markdown text format. It’s a simple, easy to learn way to “markup” text and it’s important to become fluent in using it with Obsidian.
Note: in addition to Mike Schmitz’s Obsidian University, I’ve also purchased David Sparks’ Obsidian Field Guide which is also a useful educational resource for learning the ropes of Obsidian.