Fun with Random Notes

The Random Notes plugin is awesome!

Tiago Forte wrote about using random notes in Evernote. He explains how it is powerful because introducing randomness into your workflow makes it more resilient and anti-fragile. You have more surprises and serendipity. He comes up with new intersections of thought that would never have occurred to him by manually managing and sorting.

It also gives the brain the same kind of kick that we get from being addicted to social media. Except thinking and reviewing our notes is more valuable. He got addicted to randomly reviewing his notes!

I agree. So I’ve been using Random Notes in Obsidian a lot! And one of the things I try to do every day, is idea intersecting:

  1. I create a new note called “Random Articles 2020-07-25”. I pin this view.
  2. I split the view vertically. And I make sure the Backlinks pane is open. This is important.
  3. I roll the dice and bring up a random article. I don’t read the whole thing. I just take a quick glance. I also look at the backlinks, because sometimes the idea is there.
  4. I write a paragraph about the note.
  5. If it is an empty page, with no backlinks, sometimes I’ll remove it. Sometimes this will be an empty stub for future work, so I’ll keep it. If it has bad formatting, I’ll spend a moment to clean it up. This improves my network stress-free, over time. If there is nothing there to write about, I’ll skip it and move on.
  6. I do this until I’ve written 10 random paragraphs. Then at the top of the page I write a summary of what I noticed, or how the ideas have a theme. Or any new ideas I got from mixing ideas.

Has it lived up to your expectations?

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@Klaas Given that I did not know it existed, it has exceeded my expectations. And now I use it frequently. :slight_smile:


@rigmarole ~ Thanks so much for the suggestion! As a potential new user, the random note feature appeals to me immensely, and I’m eager to give it a test run.

In the meantime, thanks so much for the helpful tips for making the most of this great feature.

I’m also curious:

  • Is the random note feature available online when using Obsidian Publish?
  • Or, if not, is there any chance this feature might be in the Publish roadmap?
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I would love to be able to narrow down the directories that the random note is pulled from. Like Tiago describes here: skip the archive for random notes when using the PARA method. I think that makes a lot of sense.

This plugin might be helpful:

There’s a discussion about it too:

Thanks! There is an issue on GitHub. But at the Moment the Plugin isn’t helping, unfortunately.

This issues on GitHub are just feature requests. It has been working fine for me, but is it acting up for you?

Ah, sorry. I was referring to my request to narrow down the directories from which to pick a random note. There is a feature request for that functionality. But since it is currently not possible, I don’t have any way to achieve what I want without resorting to the shell (which is fine for now).

I filter out my daily notes by running the plugin when I have filtered out the folder I don’t want to include in search. If you run the command: “Smart Random Note: Open Random Note From Search,” the plugin will only choose a random note from the search results.

I think the feature request is to be able to make sure that a folder is always filtered out, not just filtered out in search.


:man_facepalming: Thanks. I didn’t connect the dots. This is a viable workaround for the time being :slight_smile:

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