How to manage information like "he works at the place B every Wednesday"

Hi folks,

Though I don’t know if this question is adequate for this forum, let me explain my question here.

Yesterday, my collaborator told me that he works at place B (other than his main office) every Wednesday. I thought I would put this information in my obsidian vault to avoid forgetting it. Suddenly, it didn’t seem easy to manage this information effectively. It is related to my calendar, map apps, and journals. It should pop up when I think of him, his office, our collaboration, and the place. I don’t know how I can put this information in my PKM.

Can anyone share any ideas on this?

I appreciate any help you can provide.

I put this kind of information in the vcard notes of my contacts; that way I have it on the contact list both on my phone and my email client.

To address these type of questions, I weight the “Cost of filing” (how long is it to store the information) vs the “Cost of retrieval” (how much time will I spend retrieving this information over its lifetime)

I first try and imagine the retrieval scenarios: in what circumstances would I want to retrieve the information? How frequently will I retrieve that information from Obsidian?

Then I make sure that the cost of filing is proportional to the total cost of retrievals, i.e. I don’t spend much more time filing it than I estimate I will use the information over its lifetime.

So if I work through your example the way I would approach it.

I will retrieve this information every time I want to pay that person a visit. I estimate this happens once a month. I estimate I will retrieve that information maybe 3-4 times before I learn it by heart. So I estimate I will retrieve the information 3-4 times.

Assuming I write a small sentence in that person’s page, I will spend about 2-3 seconds on retrieval each time, which is enough time to search for that person’s page in my vault. I estimate I will spend at most 12-16 seconds retrieving this information in its lifetime.

So in the end I make sure I have a “Person X” note and in it I write: “Works at [[place B]] every Wednesday”

I don’t spend time interfacing this information with my calendar, map and other data stores, because I estimate it is “too easy” to retrieve.

You may have different retrieval scenarios that will change your answer (I need the list of all my colleagues at location B so I can visit them when I go there, I need the list of all my colleagues that are away on Wednesdays for my boss, I want to save directions to locations B, etc). In that case the cost of filing can go way up.

Hope this helps.


I like the simplicity of your thought!

I like the idea of the “Cost of an action.” The former answer using ‘vcard’ actually addresses it elegantly.

From a bit different perspective, the iterative prediction and re-evaluation will improve the overall efficiency of this “weight” process. I think the value of PKM comes from the ease of re-evaluation.

Thank you for your thoughtful answer!

It’s one of those scenarios where I would like to have attributes on the relation, so I can add things like role, start/end date, days of work on the relation between the person and the organisation, that way it can be queries in many different ways. A pretty standard features in graph databases that fits the PKM model very well but unfortunately obsidian doesn’t support typed relationship nor attributes on relationship.

So in obsidian you get to put information on either the person page or the company page according to the most likely retreival scenario (what is the most likely question you want your notes to answer). Usually I tend to favor the information on the leaf instead of the aggregate, in this case i would put role, employments date, past employers, day of work and rests on the contact page.

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Tough question. Really depends on the circumstance.

I don’t see this as a problem where Obsidian is necessarily the answer.

If this is someone you communicate with daily, you might put a note on your calendar for Wednesdays

I do a regular Friday meeting with three other people. Recently, one of the participants in the meeting has taken a job where he often can’t attend meetings. He is very good about letting us know … but we forget and we sit around like dopes saying, “Is Bill coming this week? How long should we wait for him? Should we message him?”

One day a few weeks ago I remembered there is a low-traffic channel on our Slack team that we always check before the meeting starts. So I left a note there whenever anybody said they would be out for our meeting. Problem solved!

I heard about a man who needed to remember to bring a package to the post office one day, and so just before bedtime the night before, he put the package inside the front door, where he’d have to step over it to get out of the house. What’s the digital equivalent of doing that with your teammate’s whereabouts information?