How to setup a workflow for a middle manager

I’m a risk manager at a small firm (<50 employees). My responsibilities include:

  • Weekly check-ins with employees to see if they are having any difficulties that relate to my area
  • Monitoring various metrics and reporting on any breaches, errors etc.
  • Writing policy/process documents in Confluence
  • Leading ad hoc projects
  • Keeping up to date with industry developments

Is there a best practice for this type of setup? I will definitely have a use MOCs.

Many thanks!

What exactly are you asking for?

There are infinite numbers of “setups” and “workflows” in this category to draw from and configure to your exact specifications as you listed. The entire forum is a community building off of each other, and sharing as newer, better irritations are created and pushed out.

There’s 3 very popular systems actually pinned to the board, with entire vaults generously made to show you how they are implementing them.

I guess my main question is around using Obsidian as tool for helping with business as usual operations.

Say for instance - do people just create a daily calendar note and dump meeting minutes and random ideas inside there? I currently use Simplenote for storing things which I may need later, but I suspect I could do better with a structured approach.

Are you referring to this thread?


You cannot go wrong.

Then look at what you got in a week.

You can change what you wrote, you don’t have to do it all in first try. You can rewrite notes from scratch, you can delete them, you can merge them, modify them, create MOC’s MOC’s for MOC’s. You can delete everything and anything you don’t like.

Write to yourself. Actually share with yourself. Like “I don’t know how to tackle this problem, I’m scared”.

You’ll be surprised how helpful you actually are to yourself.

There’s nobody else there, only you, you’re the best, you can figure it out :slight_smile:

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This won’t be what you’re looking for but I’ll share my personal experience. I’m also a corporate manager, and I’m using Obsidian only as my PKM. My productivity setup involves an analog Bullet Journal for tracking my todos, and Agenda for meeting notes.

The reasons for this setup:

  • I get easily distracted by everything happening online (it doesn’t have to be time wasters, it might simply be incoming email and such), and I found the analog Bullet Journal to help me a lot with disconnecting, focusing on what’s important, etc. However, it’s really hard to manage meetings in an analog tool because you can’t search…
  • For meetings, I am using Agenda for two reasons. One is the ability to link to specific meetings in my calendar, making it easy to find the note from a given meeting. The second is that Agenda shows you complete notes both in folder and search-result views, which makes skimming through them much easier. (E.g., I tag people who participate in every meeting and then I can easily go to a view that shows me a dated view of all the notes from meetings where that person was present.)

If I were to use Obsidian instead of my setup, I’d probably do the following:

  • use daily notes and still follow the Bullet Journal methodology of daily reflections and migrations, using the daily note for todos and most notes from the day. I really like the extra friction the analog creates which forces you to reflect on your activities. It’s too easy to dump thousands of to-dos into a digital tool and get drowned.
  • create meeting notes as separate notes linked to the daily note
  • tag people on these meeting notes like this “participants: [[John Doe]]”), and then have a query under the persons note that shows me a nice list of all meetings’ contents, likely using Dataview.

Brilliant. This is exactly the guidance I was looking for. Thank you

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As a follow-up to the good advice provided by @gestaltist let me share my current workflow as it is actually pretty close to what he suggested. Maybe there is something useful here for you to consider.

Like @gestaltist I also used to work with a mixed system (analogue journal and Obsidian) and I use a mixed workflow combining elements of GTD and a minimalist version of the Bullet Journal method].

Recently I have replaced the analog journal with an iPad and Apple Pencil, making my workflow completely digital. This handwritten notes are also imported into Obsidian.

My current workflow:

  • When on the move at the office, in and out of meetings and conversations I bring my iPad and jot down my notes there. This way I still have the analog experience and the laptop is not interfering with the attention I want to give to the person(s) I am in conversation with. I then use a shortcut to convert this handwritten tekst into a note in Obsidian. It is quite easy to create this, and explained well by Matt Seigal in this video. I periodically go through these imported notes and process them.
  • While behind my laptop (either during a virtual meeting or when working on things outside of meetings) I work directly into Obsidian. I do not like to have many different separate notes on the same topic, so I define main topics and add notes here by adding the date and something to identify the item added.

How I organize it in more detail:

  • New notes (and the imported notes from my ipad) are created into the “00 Inbox” folder so I always know which notes need to be processed still.
  • asks are just added on the go to the notes they belong to and then aggregated into a dashboard based loosley on this blogpost by Ben Newton.
  • Daily notes go into the daily notes folder. Using the Daily Notes plugin to create quick daily notes and natural language dates plugin to easily add date related links into notes.
  • Notes on projects or other themed meetings go into my projects folder.
  • Notes for 1:1 conversations or other notes related to a person go into my people folder. For each person a note is created, when into a new conversation I just add the date to the existing note and some topic to identify the particular entry (like: 2021-12-06 - Personal development chat) (using the natural language date plugin to quickly add that) so everything is interconnected.
  • Notes regarding teams, including notes taken during team sessions, are added to the teams folder. Like I have a note for each team I lead and add notes to this file again by adding

An impression of what it looks like, with the daily note as the central hub for each day:

This way I can easily jot down notes and find them all back into 1 inbox (the main idea of GTD) not matter the input method and I have easy access to the information based on date and topic.

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That looks great. I like how you’re not trying to shoehorn your workflow into the trendy frameworks like PARA.

  1. Do you think that your individual note for John Doe may become unwieldy over time? Sometimes you may wish to include images or pdfs…

  2. When you create a meeting note for a project, is this also in one long file?


  1. How do you handle email tasks, where the task is to respond to the email itself and this might take some time? Isn’t it tedious to create a new todo in Obsidian, then when you are ready, to fish it out of your email client and complete the job?

I just result to starring the email and hoping that I don’t accumulate too many starred emails…

  1. I think it depends a bit on what you include in your notes, for meeting notes I think it is ok as the value of the information reduces quickly over time. I tend to stick to actions I need to take and important input. As I add my new input at the top of the note, the old info is moving down and only there if I do need to reference to it in the future.
    For information that keeps it’s value, if you include it into Obsidian, I think it makes sense to create a separate note that is linked to the individual note. So for instance if you have a document related to John Doe that you want to import in Obsidian, just create a separate note and link it back to the John Doe note.
    Personally I do not import files that often, I like to link to the original file instead. Especially if it is a document that others contribute to as well.

  2. Project files are not that information dense for me, as I am managing more that executing. It is usually a collection of notes, links to the original files and thoughts. But if there is for instance a brainstorm or I spend time working on my thoughts for a particular topic I do create separate notes and link it to the main project note to avoid too much clutter.

  3. E-mail never get’s in my action list in Obsidian. The only actions I put in Obsidian are things that popup during meetings or during the day and I jot them down so I do not forget to do what I promised of thought of. For my e-mail I use the inbox zero principle that is part of the GTD methodology. My mailbox is always empty except for those e-mails I didn’t read yet. I open e-mail when I actually have time to read it and then follow these simple steps:

  • Check if answering/action is required. If no > Archive
  • If yes, can I do it in less than 2 mintues? If yes > Do it
  • If no, put it in my Action folder (subfolder in my email inbox) which I process whenever I have actual time to take the action.

So what I do is build in time to check both Obsidian tasks/inbox folder and my e-mail/action folder periodically to process and clean up. At least once a week every Friday before the weekend starts to ensure stuff is either done or migrated into my calendar as a due task. A great way to make sure you are set for the next week and can really have some down time.

Well, this is a longer answer than I expected, hope it makes sense.

Well explicated. Thank you

Would you please elaborate on your Bullet Journal workflow?