How to capture notes as a minimalist?


I will start by saying that I have been using Obsidian for a few months. Yesterday, I had a mental breakdown, where I removed all of my notes and decided to start fresh. Something was wrong with my way of making notes. I felt like most of them are meaningless. I looked into available knowledge management methods, but to me they are too complicated. Do we have a method where we manage notes/knowledge in a minimalistic way? Do we have that kind of methodology? I want to collect a lot of notes, but if I keep everything in one folder (root), that will become clogged with bunch of random notes. Any ideas where to start?

I am a beginner. I started using the method suggested by Brian Jenks.
He uses the # to Indicate the status of the note. I have very few of those and I can see them in the left-hand column if I tap on the #Icon. So notes that are just ideas, something that is the beginning of draft, and finish short notes like zettlekasten I marked with a Limited number of #Categories. The rest of the notes are marked by
Links With double brackets around them. When you start writing A link, you get a list of related links. I hope that’s helping me not to have the Slightly different link names or even totally different names which would cause chaos. Also, I’m putting my link names into templates. I can cross them out later when I use the template, but it helps me to remember what my link names are for a particular kind of work. I’m just a beginner so I’m really worried that I’m heading into chaos. Do you have any idea what caused this chaotic situation that you’re in? I would really like to avoid that. Looking at what I’ve described someone who has more knowledge might be able to judge if I’m setting up things in an orderly way.

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I see that hashtags can also be used to find what to you link blocks or areas of textI’m using double or triple hashtags for titles of notes. I hope this will be enough to differentiate from the single hashtags that indicate the status of the note.

I am not trying to do you finish pieces of writing in obsidian. My goal is just to get my ideas organized. I work on writing elsewhere. I see Obsidian as a place to organize ideas, sources, projects.

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Would you mind sharing a few screenshots? That chaotic situation was caused by lack of organization in my notes. I had folders related to various things, but there were no connections between it. I felt like that’s not what Obsidian is and I decided to start fresh : >

First, I don’t think any notes you take are “meaningless”. Every note has a meaning - otherwise you wouldn’t take it in that moment.

The more interesting questions are:

  • how can you find your interesting notes at a later point in time when you would need them (even without remembering that you once took that note)?
  • how do you make your notes relate to each other so that after some time they are not just a single note anymore but have become a piece of a bigger puzzle?

And, basically:

  • what is your long-term aim of taking notes? Why are you taking them? How do you want to make use of them in some weeks/months/years? What is your background: scientific work? knowledge base? classification of private stuff?

These latter questions are the most basic ones - the answers to these questions form the foundation of deciding which “method” could work for you!

So what I want to say is also: it is difficult to give advice without this background knowlegde - because there are actually plenty of successful ways of organising your notes. It all depends on what you finally want to achieve!


It will sound a bit of optimistic, but my long term goal is to have a total recall. My background is software development, but I like to dabble in a lot of areas. For example, I am running a small podcast where I talk about books. I read a lot and prepare scripts for a show. Books have a lot of valuable insights that I want to capture and reuse. Be it an argument, a point or a citation. I also read books for leisure, but that’s also a lot of good information, that could be used later for something. Same with software development. I am learning a lot, at my job. I want to store that information, so I don’t need to use Google next time. Some tasks are repetitive and it makes sense to offload the instructions or steps to Obsidian, rather than Google. The current structure is Home and Work Folders. Home - private life. Work - work life. I just haven’t started making notes as I am looking for ways how other people are arranging their notes.

My personal view is that it is not possible to finally decide about the way of arranging or structuring your notes before you start taking notes. Because if you then realize that this might not be the “right” approach this could lead to frustration… :wink:

So I would advice to start as open/flexible as possible. Don’t create too many folders and subfolders, don’t think too much about directly linking your notes. Maybe just start with two folders: “work” and “personal”, for example. Write your notes and use tags. This way you can easily find any note you have ever taken on a given topic - and the advantage of tags is: you don’t have to decide where to put your notes. And they help you to build relationships between your notes.

After some time you will get more and more of an idea how to formally arrange your notes, if it makes sense to build some subfolders or not, where to put direct links etc. This is my experience, at least.


Thanks for a simplistic advice. I will try to start today.

Thanks for sharing your approach.

I use a Zettlekasten type system for my Knowledge Management:
Please Note carefully

  1. I write the Main Categories on which the Notes fall in my home page in bold
  2. I put related notes in those categories so they are linked
  3. But here is the thing I want you to know: I use different numbers before the notes You don’t need to Panic If I SAID NUMBERS! I will share my screenshot:

  4. You see that I have reserved a Range of numbers for the Specific Categories under which my notes fall.
  5. You might also have noticed that I use only the Numbers in the range for notes that are under the same categories. But if My Notes are more than the 100 range! I will do something like 101.1 or 101.2 or something like that.

Now come to your point about how to take notes minimalisticaly. You could just make a note describing what are the ranges you have specified for the notes Categories. So when you come across some useful information that might be useful to you in the near future you could just open that note and see what category it might fall into and name it and link it under the category with a unique Number.

Honestly! This is the closest thing I made to mimic:

  • Zettlekasten
  • MOC System
  • A Mimicry of folder hierarchy but at the same time you are not bound in a static environment as it encourages you to make links!

Hope You get something from the system I made!


The key for me isn’t folders or tags, it’s the links. I link everything to at least one page “above” it. They aren’t physically nested in folders or subpages like other systems, but they are linked. There are big category pages and then smaller category pages. I may end up having a mix, such as some content on a page and then links to other pages above or below that, but I am also just starting out.

It’s totally your personal decision but you could try whole numbers before Big Categories and Decimal like 10.1 etc for Small categories. When you search for a whole number letter in the search even 00 or something, you would get all the main categories on your disposal, and searching your small categories will be searching for a decimal point " . " in the search!

Hope it helps!

I try to do what you’re doing, but it seemed like too much work to put notes into individual folders and then sort them into smaller folders. The number preface on the title is not really a folder, but you have to remember them just as you would if you were using folder titles. There must be some trick to it when you use those numbers.

There is a trick my friend. As I told you that the categories of the folders have notes that fall into those categories. Now these notes will always contain a number with some range like for example in my Vault: Management starts for 000 to 099
Plus these Categories are not more than 10 or 12 for any person so this should be easy to remember if we put some time into it!
Hope it helps.

So, you actually remember those numbers. I guess I could too.

What is the process for easily putting notes in each number link? I realize I could drag and drop in folders. But that is a bother. Am I just super lazy?

You can right click a folder and then “New Note”.


Do you mean that you name the new note [[100 link_name:plus note content?]]

It’s more like [[100 Topic ]] the type of topic is self explanatory from the number!

Thank you. I see. Do I put the content of the note on that note? Otherwise [[100 Topic]] would become the title. I might want to identify the note specifically with a title.

I didn’t understand what you said?

Well this is a small backdrop, you are stuck with the numbers with every note name, you can workaround with the link name in your notes if you link it in another note! Just type " | " in the note link end (inside the braces) and name it just the " Topic "!

Plus! When 0.11 update is public! I know you will get more minimalistic approach to new notes formation.