External integrations for todos

I don’t really like to equate knowledge management with todo tracking. Probably because no one product has done it right and I determine right to be:

  • Ubiquitous. I can capture tasks anywhere on any device. Additionally, I should get alerts for relevant tasks anywhere.
  • Intelligent. The importance of natural language processing in capturing thoughts can’t be understated.
  • Dependable. A task not captured properly or an alert not received removes trust from a trusted system.

A lot of knowledge management systems throw in a half-assed todo tracking system and I can never use it… but I WANT to. Knowledge inherently has a time component to it that isn’t really captured well in most systems. Even the idea of daily notes will get clugey over time.

I think that, instead of trying to muck this one up, a bi-directional integration with an external application or service might alleviate these problems.

In markdown, tasks are usually one-liners. Pressing enter creates a new task. My initial idea takes any task that’s tagged with the integration name parses it and sends it to an external API. The returned task_id is appended as a link to the task in Obsidian. If a reminder or completion date is included, a link to those day’s Daily Notes is created.

Periodically, the plugin checks the API for any changes to the task state and, if it gets completed, the status is updated In Obsidian.

Additionally, a lot of todo services allows the inclusion of tags and comments and have other organization features. Tags are an easy win there. Syncing tags between services adds to a more well rounded information management system. Notes and comments can be thrown into their own note, titled and/or linked to the task_id so that Obisidian’s backlinking keeps them tied together with the original task.

Additionally, new tasks created in the external service that are tagged appropriately are added to Daily Notes.

I think this idea will create a cohesive system that allows task management to be first class citizens in the application.

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I think that proper task management is better left to dedicated apps for that and that this should stick to PKM and not worry at all about task manager integration outside of offering a canonical single link for a note that can be followed when clicked. Then you could add the link as extra information on a task.

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You and I partially agree. I want to keep my tasks managed externally, but the tasks themselves are knowledge in context with larger projects or thoughts and it’s beneficial to keep them all together whenever possible. In proposing this idea, I’m trying to avoid two specific things:

The first is the need to constantly context switch whenever I get an idea for a new task. I want to capture that idea in context to what I’m working on and have it sent to my task management app of choice to manage.

The second thing I’m trying to avoid is the manual cut and pasting of links needed to keep these ideas together. It’s really just a refinement of the first point, but it’s friction that can be eliminated with the right automation and integration.

To be clear, I don’t want Obsidian to be a task manager. I want it to work with my task managers in an automated way.

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I’m for automation for sure.

I’ve had a similar workflow using Evernote, where whenever I create a task in a Note - it is sent directly to my task management system (through TaskClone).

Having that possibility is something I miss with Obsidian so for now I’m solving it through a script I wrote: Automatically send tasks to your task-system

In my view, an integration to IFTTT/Zapier would be excellent where a trigger might be for example task creation or a tag being added.

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I’m not sure if this would be helpful for you but I just started embedding Taskade lists inside of iframes within pages and it works perfectly for me. I added my ‘rolling to-do’ list to my daily notes template and it works really well for me so far. It allows for you to edit lists from within Obsidian which is awesome, only product I have found that allows this so far.

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You could use Things3 and it’s Helper, see here: Quick Capture Note Link to Things 3
(once helper starts to support Obsidian)