How do you handle tasks in Obsidian?

Obviously others may have very different needs but I do think folks often get obsessed with making a system work a specific way without asking whether that way actually adds value.

For better or for worse, my notes aren’t always just a knowledge base of information and ideas. Sometimes I’m documenting changes to a website during a phone call or collecting ideas for a marketing campaign during a meeting. And there might be screenshots and links, and files associated with all of this.

As having access to that information when I tackle the task is extremely helpful, my workflow typically involves me linking the tasks to my notes. But is linking back to my tasks absolutely necessary? No. I can simply switch apps and the task I’m working on is usually still in focus. But when I have crazy days with lots of calls, lots of meetings, and lots of requests (like I had today), I find it’s just easier to click a link in the note in front of me and jump right to the task.

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Schemar this is wonderful. Why isn’t it in the community plugin list?

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Thanks! I am still testing and it requires obsidian 12. I will ask for it to be added later. Possibly after v12 is available to everyone :relaxed:

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I’m tracking tasks by moving away from the - [ ] construct and tracking actions as entire notes.

Then I’m using metadata in the note to link the action to relevant daily note or meeting note where it is from, person note it is delegated to or due to or waiting for something from, due date attached, etc.

An action note can contain 1…N - [ ] tasks if warranted, but so can a project note, etc.

Then dataview plugin to aggregate everything together. Daily notes have dataview queries that look for all items overdue or due in the next 3 days for example. Person notes have queries that show things like action items due to them, actions delegated to them, things I’m waiting for from them, notes that mention them, etc.

Creating new notes is easy with tools like Keyboard Maestro and Alfred. Ctrl M to create a meeting note that prompts for a title, Ctrl A to create an action, etc. Then just type [[name of meeting note]] in the From:: field and they are immediately tied together.

Even without dataview I think the key is creating that intermediary layer where an entire note represents an action that in turn can contain discrete tasks. It changes everything about task management because then you can use all of the note management features in Obsidian and its plugins to help solve the task management problem.

My approach is VERY similar to the one described by @arminta in her other threads. Easily 80% overlap.

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Thank you for the write-up! Could you please elaborate on the section I quoted? I am curious what task management problems specifically you are solving with the intermediate layer.

Sure, its really straightforward. I’m no longer restricted to the one-line - [ ] format meaning I can put paragraphs into the task, screenshots, links, whatever is needed. (those aren’t really needed most of the time, but still)

Since each action is a note it can get tags, metadata for dataview queries, etc. Any plugin that works with notes therefore also works with my action item notes. I can even diff each action item note via git if I really wanted to, because its a note and not a random string floating around inside a note with all the various efforts to try to figure out how to manage those random strings – Obsidian is very good at managing notes, not strings inside notes, hence the friction with - [ ] management. So I just cut the Gordian knot and make each “action item” a note and it works so much better.

The power really comes with dataview because I can embed a query like this in a person or project note:

table from #action
where 
    file.from = this.file.link
    and 
    !completed
    and
    (
        date(today) > dueDate
        or
        dueDate <= date(today) + dur(3 days)
    )
sort 

And then in any action that includes the field From:: [[The Project or Person Note]] and completed:: N and has a dueDate:: within the next 3 days automatically shows up in the table it generates, and is updated dynamically whenever the action note is updated. (i.e. if I set completed:: 2021-04-27 it no longer shows up on that query)

Examples of metadata fields I use include delegatedTo:: [[Somebody]] and waitingFor:: [[Somebody]] and I have a query on each person note that rolls up all open actions where they are mentioned in either field. Etc.

Daily note has queries to identify all notes in the timeline folder with the same date, including meeting notes & significant actions I record, each as a separate note with the same date stamp. So with keyboard maestro I can press Ctrl M to create a meeting note and I just type in the title and the note is created automatically associated with the day. During the meeting I can create an action item and set From:: [[The meeting note name]] and now I have action items that came from a meeting, and the meeting note has a query that shows what action items are still open etc.

I have 2-4 queries on most notes in my project tracker. As I said very similar to @arminta in that other link.

Side note: I have a Zettelkasten that is managed completely differently from my projects, and thus they are in two separate vaults. Very different concerns, very different flows, very different in almost every respect. Separating those concerns made the above flow possible because I could tailor the vault to project management only.

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I’ve been using Kanban boards for years… sometimes even in physical form. My tasks have previously been in Trello, but I recently migrated everything to the kanban plugin. I have folders for all active projects with various bits of notes and details within. Each folder gets a todo note with a standard task list. This note then gets linked to a Kanban card. It’s a very straightforward and simple approach.

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I actually like OF because I need its power and perspectives for the large number of projects and tasks I manage. What I want to do is send a list of follow-ups that I write in meeting notes in Obsidian as discrete tasks in OF without the need to copy/paste each follow-up/todo in an Obsidian note to OF. Is that possible?

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Ok, shoutout to the best solution so far: google tasks integration. More ideally, ical specification integration options. tasks.org is a solid open-source project that would mesh amazingly well with obsidian for task management.

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Quick Capture

  • Mobile → Google Keep ( Integrated with Frames plugin in Obsidian )
  • Desktop → Note in Obsidian Root Folder or a quick note with Typora

Obsidian Task Management

  • Plugin Tasks ( Basically checkboxes in notes ) and Daily Notes
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Someone liked me post, funny thing is my system is already totally different :rofl::roll_eyes:.
Main reason is for the TickTick App I’m now using.

TickTick

  • Quick capture to inbox
    • Tasks or Notes (With Markdown support)
  • All Tasks go in here - with a priority system and due dates if needed
  • Useful information exported to Obsidian.

Obsidian

  • Custom PARA System (Projects - Wiki - Resources - Journal)
  • All Projects are managed here, not in TickTick.
    • Dataview helps me to collect projects

I using plugins Tasks, it allows me sort and group my tasks. Right now I finished last task on this day and I understand what i should do tomorrow

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This plugin (Obsidian Tasks) is CRAZY HELPFUL. Thank you for creating it & sharing it with us.

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After months of testing different apps and workflows, the following seems to be a consistent and suitable one for my personal & work management, considering my professional profile is a combination of IT Consultant, teaching and also Architectural & Engineering technician.

I share it here just to highlight how I keep Obsidian as purely a note-taking/making tool, combining PKM & D on one side and Project management on the other. One of the essential decisions was decoupling Task Management from PM. The decided tool for that purpose is Todoist, but It could be MS To Do or another TM dedicated tool.

At the same time, due to the engineering background, there is a need for more granular and deep task management and a team-oriented system for some particular business projects. Those usually require applying Agile, and Scrum approaches. For that aim, we use MS Teams and MS Azure DevOps Boards. We have implemented a highly customized system in Azure Boards that fits our needs for Team Task management.

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As a mechanical engineer who started a PhD 3 months ago, I basically landed on a similar system to yours. I tried for months to combine PKM, TM, meetings, review, plannings and such all in Obsidian and I just ended up with an incomprehensible clutter. The best solution for me was to find purpose built tools which could integrate into Obsidian (as it’s still the core of my system) thanks to plug-ins but which could also work stand-alone.

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Happy to hear it. Quite aligned, then!

My current approach is quite similar to @ottovanluchene 's.
After trying to integrate task management in Obsidian for a few weeks, i gave up. There are too much friction to do it. Currently I manage the tasks in the following way:

Obsidian:

  • Custom PPV system to break my vision to goals to projects (using plugin dataview)
  • projects management (using plugin dataview)
  • Create key tasks for projects success (using plugin tasks)

Todoist:

  • task management of all tasks
    • quick capture
    • key tasks from Obsidian (manually copied)
    • any other tasks ( household…)

Google Calendar:

  • all events with fixed timeslot
  • Tasks from Todoist are synchronized in Google Calendar (2-Way-Synchronization)
    • Time-blocking for important tasks

I’m ridiculously messy and also very lazy, I can’t be bothered to put my tasks in one place, move them around etc, I’d rather focus on completing them instead. Often I read some paper or watch some video, and it reminds me of something I should do – I just add a task in the middle of my note, whatever it is about. On mobile I use Markor → Quicknote; this Quicknote is located in my vault, so it is also searchable and query-able at any time. I just add a quick line of text directly from a widget on my mobile screen. From time to time I cut & paste the QuickNote contents to a new note with a timestamp, and a not-nice-but-true tag #dump, just to make sure it doesn’t get too big.
Obsidian is a godsend for people like me, because I can query my vault. Wherever I jotted my tasks, they all come up. I have daily notes where I see the tasks scheduled for today or overdue, I have a weekly overview where I see upcoming tasks when I need to plan for the next week or so, I also have project pages where I see the tasks with a certain word or tag in the description (project name usually). I sometimes have these project pages for contexts (e.g. when I’m abroad in a certain country, to make sure to buy this or that). This is the most effortless system I’ve ever had – and I think I have tried (and used for extended periods of time) most of them, because as said above, I am messy and I need something to keep track of my stuff.

The only thing I am missing is a conventional weekly layout with columns (I have a clumsy version of it, with embedded pages for each day in a table, it’s not too pretty). OK and maybe something like a Gantt chart, to visualize tasks with start and end date & to make sure I’m not trying to do too much stuff in parallel.

Shout out to the amazing Tasks plugin folks - they made it all possible.

PS: reading other people’s workflows… wow. I have really no room in my head to manage multiple tools :slight_smile: another good thing about Obsidian, flexible tool for different people