Lookin for advice on how to review in Obsidian

I’ve been using Obsidian for around 2 weeks and I’m finding it incredible. I’ve already built a vault of around 300 notes and it’s really helping me. What I’d like advice on is how to start curating my vault. As it grows I find myself getting a bit lost on what to look at. I come from an Anki background so I’m used to the software showing me what I need to look at. With Obsidian, I have no system in place yet for knowing when to go back to a note or how to start making more connections.

I’d love to hear from other users on how you streamline your process of reviewing and studying using Obsidian.

The Spaced Repetition Plugin is basically Anki for Obsidian. And it has an incremental writing feature that lets you schedule out short writing/review projects. I’m a heavy Anki user for language but not for ideas, but the SR plugin’s incremental writing feature has been huge for moving my writing and thinking projects forward.

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That sounds really helpful. How does it work? Is each note scheduled for a specific due date? What is your workflow like for moving writing projects forward? I’d love to hear more.

Just thinking out loud here, but is it possible to set a note to a specific interval and keep it at that? For example, setting a note to an interval of 7 so that it becomes a weekly review note on a certain day?

For me, tags are my main review tool.

I use tags like #idea #followup #research #todo for different purposes in my workflow and my daily and weekly review checklists include reviewing specific tags.

The general purpose of the “tag and review” pipeline is to generate new tasks (or delegations) in my work.

So I guess you check those 4 core tags on a daily basis or several times a week, populating a to-do list with the ideas in the tags. Is that accurate?

Essentially, yes. Some are daily, some are weekly. And while some might result in a todo item, others might result in an email to someone, or something much bigger like starting a new project (which has it’s own workflow).

For example, #todo will be checked end of day in my daily review and usually generate a todo item. #followup is similar but will result in needing to contact someone else.

#idea is something more long-term that I want to put a little creative thought behind (and doesn’t have a pressing deadline) so it’s something I look at weekly and think about a bit.

Most importantly, these tags are ephemeral. They get removed on review.

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Interesting. So let’s say you had an idea about starting a new project. You tag it with #idea but you need some time to think about it. After a week you might review it again. What would you do then? Keep the #idea tag on it and perhaps review it again having thought it over for another week? Or if you feel ready to begin concrete steps, actually create the project and then remove the #idea tag?

I won’t ever leave the tag on it. For me the tag is a reminder to “do something with this”. It will always get removed on review and some action will be taken: do it, delegate it, defer it, archive it, trash it.

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Yes, each note in the queue has yaml data indicating when it’s due next. There are shortcuts to space them out in different ways, and you can also just write in a date.

I use this for notes and short essays I’m working on but not sure if they’ll evolve into full scale writing projects. Each day I have a queue of notes due that day. I work on the ones I want to work on; if it was productive I mark as “hard,” which makes the due date relatively soon; if not, I mark as “easy,” which makes due date relatively distant. If I didn’t work on something I mark it as “good” which spaces it out a moderate amount.

I have limited time to write every day—ideally 30-60min, usually more like 20-30min. I spend about half of that working on this queue and half on more “active” long term writing projects. I like that, even with my limited time, this system allows me to work on several ideas at once (albeit very slowly), which helps me stay creative and not be bored with my main project.

If you didn’t work on something today, wouldn’t that require a ‘Hard’ rating so that you get prompted to work on it sooner rather than later?

I use a few tools to review.

First, I use the Smart Random Notes plugin along with a custom search to randomly go through some notes in a few of my folders.

Second, the Graph Analysis plugin lets me see things that may relate to those notes I end up on with the process above. It reminds me a lot of the “See Also” feature in DEVONthink, which shows you things DEVONthink AI feels are related to your note.

Third, I use the Incremental Writing plugin to review things in a repeated fashion. I actually will be recording a video of using this plugin on Friday for publication in a week or so on my YouTube channel.

I’ve also already recorded a video using some of these tools to develop a book idea. That one publishes on Nov 29.

The biggest hiccup to any of these tools is me and making sure that I in fact put the time aside to do some sort of review.

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Its up to you. The idea is that if you were productive on a note today, you should keep working on it, so you mark as Hard ( = show it to me sooner); if you weren’t, you probably need to step away from it for a bit, so you mark as Easy (= wait longer to show it to me again). The labels are wierd, but you get used to it.

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Makes sense!