Example Workflows in Obsidian

Thx Rik,
already following Nickmilo.

Thx for the hint.

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You’re more than welcome!

For years I worked on a workflow that once start in ORG-Mode…
Zettelkasten is very nice and I am a big fan of Niklas Luhman’s work and achievements.
We need to consider that Mr. Luhmans’ work was coined in a time where no access to computers (let alone desktop computers) was possible…

That being said:
In today’s day and age the influx of information to process is huge if you have a few Body of Knowledges to follow (like myself and many others).

My “Mental Model” as @nickmilo calls it in regard to my workflow to collect knowledge is very (very) similar to Nick’s approach.

I use “drops” (atomic notes), “clouds” (connected notes - Nick’s equivalent of MOCs), “concepts” (collections of “clouds”) and “knowledge models” (collections of concepts).
#drops, #clouds,#concepts and #knowledgemodel are the tags I use to indicate the type of note.

On top of that there is a #permafrost (tag) that is used to indicate that the content of the note is rather fixed and believed “firm”.

My motehertongue is Dutch and my whole note system is written in Dutch (also the tags which I translated). This to prevent copy and pasting stuff in English from the internet. I always (literally) proces a note when it come into my Obsidian Inbox which together with my Vault directory is the only place were I store Markdown-files (Daily Notes and Templates are stored seperately but that’s just for clearness), and of coarse the attachments are also stored seperatly allthough I am not realy convinced they should be?.

My notenames are readable text which directly show what’s in the note (not really what Zettelkasten does).

The Graph View is my index. My Python scripts generate TODO-lists and lexical analysis of the Vault.

I used Zettlr (before Obsidian) -> Only thing I liked in their system was the fact that everything was stored in UUID-note (kind of). The system was not able to handle big amounts of notes but it worked for including literally everything in your vault.

This “Knowledge System” works for me until it doesn’t anymore. Then I’ll have to go and search for other ways in order to keep it going. With this community and this great piece of software I am convinced I will keep on going until I am retired (which is still some 10 years to go).

Hope this has helped for you


Perhaps this visual representation helps also


@RikD this is interesting as always.

I like your approach of always taking notes in your own words.

In my various experiments I’ve tried saving full articles, copying and pasting bullet points, and writing my own summaries/reactions - all as daily predecessor actions to writing a report length analysis on a given topic that would arise from a collection of notes. While there are merits to one or both of the first two approaches, taking down notes in my own words is more productive in working towards that end goal of producing a proper, full length analysis.

I’m curious - how long are your typical atomic notes? Are you strict about linking back to original sources/citations, or do you not worry as much about that?

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Atomic notes start in the Inbox as just a few words (manner of speaking), a few lines which gradually develop into full blown content notes of about an A4-page (should you want to print them out).

Longer means I probably am not on an atomic level.

I do care about original source material. Mostly mentioned in the “research” part of the note. In the “Interesting Links” part I make links to other “droplets”, “clouds”, “concepts” and “Mental Models”.


If my Google Translate is write this means ‘Thx for sharing’…
My response: You’re more than welcome!

I’ve a few questions and comments if you don’t mind, just curious.

  1. Does your Inbox get cluttered with these atomic notes or do you usually have a small number of them at a time inside the folder?

  2. Is your inbox the folder where all of your new notes are created?

  3. Have you read this thread yet: What A Seedbox Is and Why It Has Been Valuable to Me ? Your description of your workflow seems to be based on it, your workflow either IS based on it or would be a helpful extension from your current workflow if you haven’t read it yet. (Your comment reminded me of this thread, which reminded me of the value of inboxes/seedbox, so thanks :grin:)

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  1. My Obsidian Inbox is kept deliberately ‘small’, this to enable keeping the focus on the things we are working at in the workflow.
  2. Indeed: suppose a mail comes in the Inbox with a link to Feedly RSS I received (sent from within the Feedly App btw). That article is read, if interesting the template is loaded and in own words an new note is made. This could spark other things and links to existing connections (for example)
  3. What’s in a name? I coined the drop, cloud, concept, mental model long before Obsidian and other stuff existed. It’s just a way I spin out ideas from zero. Surely there is tons of ‘likewise’ material to find. I am not the only one in the world thinking about how to grow knowledge :wink:
    Thanks for the remarks and thoughts.

Perfectly. Thanks for the visualization!

The little I have done to get started, your info graphic makes the most sense so far.
I am using ZK only because I tend to remember dates approximately better than a term I may have been comfortable with using at the time, but have since refined it.
Book reviews and synopses is not my goal, although I may just quote books, but I want Obsidian to collect my Obsidian thoughts over my life ending in autobiography.
I like the idea of a some templates for structure, but is there some suggested template layout that could be more suited to my use case?
Sorry if these come off as dumb questions, but they nevertheless are things I want to establish before pulling all my ideas collected over years, into one place.

Sorry for the later reply.
Holiday season tends me to re-focus on things that are really important in life :wink:
Little remark on your date question:
I started using the daily note add-on which is fantastic.
Not only it saves all your daily notes in one place (whatever your choice). The calendar view is great too.
If you’re purpose is to make an autobiopgraphy using daily notes and mentioning(linking) the notes you have worked on in your daily notes gives you the link to the date.
My five cents (it’s how I decoupled dates from filenames for this moment).


Thanks for your 5 cents worth of sage advice. I did not consider the calendar.

Hi! Thank you for sharing your workflow—I find this to be really helpful for thinking about my own system. I have a couple questions though:

  1. What is your process for processing a resource like a book or lecture?
  2. How do you process notes in your inbox and know when they are ready to “graduate” to the next phase (i.e., from a drop to a cloud, cloud to concept, etc)?

If you could share any examples, that would help immensely! Thank you!

Many thanks for this… I tried them all, settled on IMF and changed it a little for my way of work. Without your input it would have taken a lot longer. Actually… I would not call my way IMF anymore, but it was a very helpful starting point. :slight_smile:

@mediapathic Thanks for sharing! Without some good ideas it’s quite overwhelming if you have to start on a clean state and really don’t know how to begin.

@RikD Thanks for the info on how you work. I found the drops/clouds/concepts/models structuring very interesting and logical for me. The image also helped a lot!

Both: Your explanations gave me some more insight. I’ll now start collecting (atomic) notes, settle for IMF and see what comes out of it. :slight_smile:

Anyone got a good suggestion for bilingual people? I’m half Brit, half German, and recognise that I constantly write (and think) in both languages, sometimes even within the same note.

This of course leads to all kinds of mixtures, searching problems and different tags. My everyday communication and work is about 50:50, so I can’t really decide on one language—and I’m too lazy to translate everything.

How do others handle this?


Rik, I love your metaphors of drops and clouds. It made me immediately think of philosopher Peter Sloterdijk using metaphor of spheres: bubble (self), globe (world), and foam (plurality). I haven’t read the book yet, but it’s on my list. More here Bubbles

Did you come up with a rule for your language problem? I‘m having a hard time to choose what language to use for different contexts. It’s all a big mess in my head.

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I find that certain aspects of my life tend to utilize one language more than others. So for example my personal Projects and media input are often English while other parts of my life are in my native language. Apart from languages I just use for thought there are also notes in my vault for languages I’m learning.
So to juggle all of these I have made English the official language for my vault meaning MOCs are in English and generally notes that help my organizational structure as well as tags. If a topic doesn’t really fit any language specifically I will also give it an English title. Any notes that do have a language associated with them get name in that language and I will define aliases in the other languages. So far I have had almost no issues with this approach. Hope this is helpful


I second this! I absorbed most of his playlists on Linking Your Thinking in about a day. He’s relatable and makes everything very easy to follow.

And as a noob (I installed it yesterday), I’m also finding @nickmilo’s LYT Kit Vault *VERY HELPFUL!!!