Managing notes for meetings and one-on-ones effectively

This is somewhere between a help request and just generally wanting to hear what has worked for other people, but I’m wrestling with how best to handle my meeting notes. My job involves quite a few one-on-ones as well as various other meetings. I’ve been using icalBuddy (icalBuddy) to generate a markdown representation of my daily schedule which I then paste into my daily note. (Side note: I intend to automate this more after I settle into a routine that’s well defined.)

Up until now I’ve been just adding notes below each heading directly in my daily note. The thing that’s bugging me is that I also have a note for each person I meet with regularly. Early on I was just keeping the one-on-one notes there, but then I decided to try keeping them all in the daily notes. Overall, I like being able to quickly see which meetings I had on a particular day and quickly reference the notes from those meetings. But I’d also like to be able to reference all the one-on-one notes (and possible other meeting notes) from the people pages as well.

I’ve been playing with various strategies. One I’m trying out now is using the Note Refactor plugin to extract those one-on-one notes (I may try this with other meeting notes later) into a new note, adding some metadata, and then creating a dataview block in each of the people pages to make it easy to list all the meetings I had with them. This works, but the workflow right now to add all the metadata feels clunky. I’m tempted whip together a template I can just insert for each meeting or one-on-one, but before I go down that road, I wanted to see if anyone else had an approach that they really liked. Perhaps I’m missing an obvious strategy here.

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I use two (simple) methods for this, both in my daily note.

  1. I’ll mention that I “Talked to [[Person]] about [[Topic]]”
  2. If a meeting happens that needs more notes/research, etc, I’ll link to a meeting note titled [[2022-02-07-Meeting Name]], then link participants, topics, resources, or projects to THAT note. This meeting note stays in the same folder location as my daily notes.

I like that I can simply go to a person or topic note and look in the backlinks to immediately see dates I talked to them, and usually there’s enough context to know what I talked to them about. Note - I don’t always link to a topic unless it’s related to a larger concept or project specifically.

The other benefit is that I use no metadata in my vault for “normal” notes, like dailies. I do use it sparingly on research notes and to mine things like birthdates and anniversaries, but I really find that having to enter it all the time is… really, really distracting.

I’m sure you’ll find many methods that use dataview or complex queries, but I find I don’t need anything complicated for this. YMMV. I personally leave dataview to more complex data mining.

In short: Links and backlinks can be really powerful, and are often overlooked and underused as a fast way to tie things together.

I’ll be interested to see other approaches as well, but for now I’m sticking with what works for me. I’m more apt to use it that way :slight_smile: !

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Similar to Erisred, I’d make a note for each meeting and link to/from them as desired.

Back before he came across to obsidian and gifted us with one of the best visual plugins ever, @zsviczian blogged about his process for managing one-on-ones.
He was using Roam at the time, but the same pattern and best-pracices he described can be applied in obsidian.

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@thoughtship - that’s anything but simple, but there is some really good stuff in there (and in the rest of the blog) I might find a way to adopt/adapt myself.
Thanks for sharing!

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At work I use Obsidian pretty much as a personal CRM. The system depends on the calendar plugin and the most awesome Tasks plugin and is glued together by extensive use of backlinks.

To start with, my daily notes template is extremely basic, the main part contains some filters to show me the tasks that are scheduled for today. Apart from writing down my most important task of the day and a brief reflection in the evening I don’t use this for note taking.

For my actual notes I abuse the Zettelkasten plug-in. So with a simple keyboard shortcut I create a rapid note with date/time stamp in a dedicated folder based on this template:

[[🟦]] : 
📅 : [[{{date:YYYY-MM-DD}}|{{date:DD-MMM-YYYY}}]]
📧 : 
👥 : 
⏪ : 
***
- …

In the first row I just give the note a simple title. The second row creates a link to the daily note. If the note refers to an email then a link with the name of the person goes in row 3. Otherwise I use row 4 to add all names of the people in the meeting. Finally, if this note is a follow up then I create an link in the last row.

Within the note text itself I make sure that I include further links eg to relevant projects, clients, etc. as well as any tasks.

With all this, my rapid note than shows up in the backlinks section in all relevant notes:

  • I can click on the calendar and by hovering over the backlinks I see what happened on that day.
  • A file simply named :blue_square: in my root folder shows me all rapid notes in chronological order (including title) and by using search within the backlinks section I find what I’m looking for very quickly.
  • For each person I have a nearly empty note that basically only has a filter for incomplete task that include that person’s name. It’s extremely powerful to just quickly open the note of a colleague and have the full overview of what to talk about right there.
  • My project notes are actual notes with what this project is about, action tracker and anything else I want to see at first glance. A living backlinks section allows me to dive one level deeper very easily.

In a way I’m emulating the Zettelkasten principle with atomic notes and all of that, just for productivity. By linking my rapid notes to each other I create stories. My daily notes and contact notes are entry points to my ‘knowledge’ and through my project notes I can be creative, have new ideas and create value.

I’ve now had several attempts at this workflow and believe I’m finally getting there. The key for me is to keep it as simple as possible and while the explanation turned out a bit longer than I thought, this is really easy to implement and manage.

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Lots of helpful input here. Thanks, all! I think a lot of this comes down to me just needing to tweak my workflow a bit and perhaps set up the right set of hotkeys to smooth over the steps involved. I was actually originally attempting to replicate some of what @zsviczian described in his Roam setup, but ended up running into some items that seemed a little less straightforward. Though, I admit I can’t recall what those were now and suspect some of it was just a matter of figuring out the equivalent Obsidian “way” of doing it.

Yeah, I read this before, but it was when I hadn’t had as much hands-on time with Obsidian. I’m a big fan of his work in general, so this is a good reminder to go back and dig into the depths of everything he’s shared with us.

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Hi @tlockney,

Have you heard of Witful. I links to your Google calendar and tracks/organizes all your meeting notes. I run operations for a couple small companies and this is the only way I can stay on top of all my meetings/post meeting tasks.

I like this a lot. Thank you for posting.

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