How do you handle tasks in Obsidian?

I noticed my checkboxes spawl all over my vault–I’ve taken to greping for something like “- [ ] ” to find uncompleted tasks.

I’ve prototyped a little UI to do a projectional edit from the terminal to “check” the box of a task, but I imagine this best serviced as a plugin “task view” living inside Obsidian. I think some richer support for task due dates/times and an agenda view could be very powerful!


But you can query tasks within Obsidian! Enter - [ ] in the search bar to see all notes with empty checkboxes. Check them off in preview mode. Enter - [x] to see completed tasks. Much easier than tags, a dummy page, and backlinks, @deftdeg, or am I missing something?

A simple categorization scheme for ToDos is also possible, without any plugins. If you’re trying to avoid context-switching for research and thinking tasks, use the first word after the checkbox to describe the type of activity. i.e. Search for - [ ] Lookup to find your - [ ] Lookup Pangaro's latest paper on cybernetics as well as any other notes that you flagged as needing a source consulted. Search for - [ ] Finish to find - [ ] Finish that paragraph in the introduction and any other editing tasks you’ve flagged. Alternately, if you’re doing directed research toward a set of classes or deliverables, and are likely to work on one per session, use the first word after the checkbox for the project. i.e. Search - [ ] Dissertation to find - [ ] Dissertation: Lookup Pangaro's latest paper on cybernetics.

I can also see checkboxes being an alternative to an inbox folder for processing notes into a Zettelkasten. You might have a template with blank checkboxes for
- [ ] Will make sense to me a year from now
- [ ] Links to related ideas
- [ ] Linked from an index or MOC

Search for unchecked boxes on a weekly basis to find notes you either need to clean up or get rid of.

Haven’t tried this, just thinking out loud. I’m still learning the method and the software! :smile:


I’m a little late to this conversation, but ti would seem this doesn’t work. Sounded great when I read your post, but when I actually try to search for - [ ], nothing. Wonder why that is?

Are you using 0.8.0? There was a bug that’s fixed in the incoming 0.8.1.

Ha! I was literally reading the bug fixes in 0.8.1 when I saw this notification.

So I think one feature that would really make this useful would be only returning one-line in search results. Then you could literally see a list of tasks as search results.


Two other features that would be helpful, but not necessary:

  • Editable search results
  • Embeddable search queries

See my post here for a regex that works to find unfinished tasks in 0.8.0

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I have 0.8.1. Worked for me in an older version, but looks like now you have to put quotes around it. "- [ ]"

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I’m thinking of creating tasks as individual notes, and then using an external Python script to scrub through my vault periodically and search for #task tags, and then add those links with a checkbox to my master task lists. Tasks that get tagged as #done would get a strike-through and moved to the bottom of the list.

I intend to keep a few separate lists pinned, and operate them as if they were a Trello board, except I get to own the data, not some other company. I agree with @ryanjamurphy and the @Alem-B: my productivity system will be more efficient if I’m not having to constantly move data between apps.

Fun idea. Please share if you ever set it up!

I once built something similar to extract tasks from notes and import them into OmniFocus. It worked wonderfully until I got tired of managing so many apps.

Perhaps the nicest thing about the workflow you’re imagining is that a note can be a task - just sub in a link after a - [ ].

Some day we’ll have transcludable searches built into Obsidian, so you don’t need the extraneous interval scrubbing.

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I’m glad it’s planned somewhere in the future. This will allow to make great workflows.

For example, a weekly review:
The weekly review template could have such a transcludable search query that would embed everything under the header # Work Log in all my daily notes of the week.


Man…it would be great if Obsidian could handle taskpaper functionality. Probably not realistic.

I’ve been thinking more and more about tasks at two levels. The surface level, where scheduling appointments and filling out forms and such live. Then the deep project work, where you don’t want to see what’s in the surface level stuff…and it is more functional if it lives within the app/body of work itself…


:grey_exclamation::grey_exclamation::grey_exclamation: exactly!

It doesn’t make sense to stuff a bunch of “think about why the sky is blue” tasks in a task manager, then turn to a couple of documents to do that work. The only reason that’s the paradigm right now is because an alternative hasn’t been tried, I think.

I actually think we’ll get TaskPaper-like functionality as a plug-in pretty soon after the API are public. I might build it myself…


this is my answer to the question: i just embed the web app of my todo app (ticktick) inside an obisidian page using iframe tag.
<iframe width= "1000" height= "500" src=""/>
The only help this does is not having to leave obsidian window to the browser. But to at least some people looking at this post this may just be enough :wink:


I have developed a system. I use it to manage my goals, tasks, and more. You can check it out here: How I use Obsidian to manage my goals, tasks, notes, and software development knowledge base


Great post! A completely different workflow to mine - good for inspiration & ideas

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I’ve been using imdone for tasks recently. The scope and functionality is a bit different to a typical task workflow as it is a Kanban implementation but it is the best pure markdown task system I’ve seen fit alongside Obsidian!


I have extreme aversion to anything that involves clicking around the UI to get a regular task done. So the only thing I’ve found to work so far is to enable zettel notes (I don’t use zettel style notes for anything else) so that I can have a hot key for it. Then making the directory they get saved to automatically a ‘todo’ directory. This way I can use a custom hotkey to create the note, ctrl-a to highlight the title, name the task, then tab to start writing out the next actions and context for the task etc.
This is direct enough to be able to be used as muscle memory.

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mew, this link is brokennnnn, i’d like to read your article :slight_smile:


I use grep as well. Your prototype sounds amazing, does it already work?