One single massive daily note instead of a note per day

Has anyone tried using a single daily note file instead of a different file every day, like described here? I feel like daily notes are so deeply embedded in Obsidian and its plugins, that this unusual workflow may potentially break too many features.

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I have found that large files, leveraging the six levels of markdown headings, are more effective than many small ones. For the reasons in your link but also because they are more portable and every markdown program understands the headings.
The relatively recent improvement in the core outline plugin helps.

But you are also right that most Obsidian plugins assume they are working with huge numbers of small files and there are very few designed to make the most of large ones. For me, the advantages of large files outweigh the disadvantages. I have merged most of my historic small files into large ones.

Personally, I don’t se daily notes, but I do have a date/time shortcut that inserts it whenever I want. I do use this in my large files, where it feels appropriate.

If your workflow depends on plugins that are designed around small files, you are probably best to stick with them. Otherwise, I’d suggest you consider the advantages and disadvantage of each approach for your usage and switch to large files when they look more effective. Remember that it is as easy to split large files at headers as it is to merge small files into large ones.

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Re long notes/ daily notes. I create several new notes each day (anywhere between 3 and 10 new notes, sometimes more) and I hate cruft. I want each of my vaults to contain useful material, not junk that takes forever to go through.

I still use daily notes, based on a Daily Note template, but I delete the previous note each day when I create a new daily note…

Although this sounds bizarre and useless, this creation/ deletion helps me to realize what’s important RIGHT NOW. My template for these daily notes contains lots of embedded notes; basically, the info I MUST remember–bills to pay, receivables, vital info on current clients etc. I edit my DN template several times each week.

I add/ delete these embedded notes to and from the Daily Note template as necessary.

For daily tasks, I have a monthly note, which I simply rename every month. This is a MOC of sorts, with daily tasks, ideas, information, links…

This “monthly” note is for stuff I need to do/ remember every single day, and new info… In a sense, it’s a never-ending note.

Usually, it’s somewhere between 500 words and 1,000 words. It’s not overly long. Once it gets beyond 1,000 words, I create new notes from some of the material.

For example, if I chat with a client, I add the info into my monthly note. When I’ve done whatever we discussed, I either create a new note for the material, or I copy/ paste the info the client’s main document. Or, I delete it, if the info hasn’t any further use.

My motto for these monthly notes, is “everything I need, right now.” It’s always one click away, so I know exactly what I should be doing, right now–and what’s next. :slight_smile:

This strategy keeps me from feeling overwhelmed. I’ve always got what I need right now, but I can riff right in my monthly note, then hive off the riff to its own document when I need to do that.

Obsidian makes it simple to create a personal workflow, while you work. :slight_smile: It’s magic.

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How do you search within this megafile? The article mentions using something like

file:Daily.md section:("# 2022-01-18" /^- read/)

to see what he’s read that day but that search query is crazy long!

For long searches (like the one for what I read on a given date) I usually have the base search as a keyboard shortcut (I use Keyboard Maestro for that), so I can type ;;reading and it expands into a search string. Then I’ll just change the date. I also sometimes save these longer searches in their own note using Obsidian’s query function to render the results in a note. For instance, but this in its own note to render the search results:

```query
file:Daily.md section:("# 2022-01-18" /^- read/)

Mostly, though, I do in-note searches using Cmd-F to quickly find a text string or phrase in the file. It’s fast, and it works pretty well for me. We’ll see how that goes as the file grows. Since it is just plain text, I don’t expect there to be problems searching, but part of this experiment is to see what works and what doesn’t.

I have also encountered the same problem, several daily notes polluting my vault, but the solution to use a sigle file daily note is one that does not work for me. The solution that I found was to create a shell script that from time to time I execute and it compiles all the daily notes from a month into a single monthly note.

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If this is a bash or python script, if it is simple enough, and if you don’t mind, can you please share the code here? I am not much of a programmer so I could use a little help on making such a script.

I use one big file as my journal in obsidian instead of a new daily note everyday. I do this primarily because sometimes I write about the same thing on different days (these things are not yet “mature” enough to be made into their own atomic notes) and having this related content spread across different files is hard to make sense of later on when I want to write in continuation to something that I had written about on some previous day(s).
So my current approach is to use date stamp whenever I write in this big journal note and when it makes sense to put the content in a note of its own I use the note composer plugin to select the required content and extract it into a separate note… Leaving an embed in the original big journal note. Therefore I can now see my train of thought over time in this big journal note as I scroll through it.

If I used a single daily note called Daily and I linked to a note A from this, the backlinks of A wouldn´t show me the date when I linked A, but only Daily, so that´s a huge drawback.

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That is a problem. Currently, it is easy enough to click on the backlink to see the date, but that’s not idea. This could potentially be resolved if the backlinks could display the header path of the file where the link comes from. In other words, in addition to displaying a snippet of the file where the link is located, it would also display something like:

Linked mentions:
- Daily > 2022-02-22 Tue > Agenda
     - [[Link to file]]

where “Daily” is the name of the file, “2022-02-22 Tue” is an H1 header, and “Agenda” an H2 header under the H1 header.

That way you could see the header path, which in the case of a single daily notes file would include the date so long as the date was included in the header path. I think this could also be useful in other use cases as well.

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I’ve thought about this as well - I’m curious if you want a single note or just the ability to infinite scroll?

I ask because personally, an infinite scroll would be super useful (similar to Roam). Instead of clicking in and out of different daily notes (or linking them), Daily Notes (or any folder or set of notes with a tag, etc) could maybe have a UI plugin that stacks the notes in that group one above the next to facilitate this.

Curious what you think!

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Yes, In my case the ability to infinitely scroll through all past daily notes is the only reason I use one big daily note file.

I’d be excited for a feature like that too! Some talk here about it: Note infinite scroll / opening folder of notes

@jamietr I really like your idea of simply showing the heading for the backlink. I made a request for sorting backlinks by headings because sometimes I use a workflow that utilizes the same headings in different notes which would make that type of sorting useful. Perhaps it would also be useful in the context of the discussion here. Here’s a link Option to sort backlinks by heading

Thanks.

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Sorry for the long wait for a response. Here’s a link to the script in my github repo . The bash script is commented in brazillian portuguese but feel free to message me on any questions.

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Thanks :slight_smile:

Here i write my solution for this topic: Is keeping daily notes separate a best practice? - #18 by Wolfgang_Godlinski

Jamie Rubin has gone back to using individual daily notes.

That last post was really neat, but his solution would be much easier to use in my opinion if you could search and edit directly within the transcluded note sections. I posted more about that in the related feature request here. Hopefully that functionality will become available eventually, but even if not, I think this is a decent way to get the best of both worlds.

Hello, interesting post. Thank you very much for your work here! Many good ideas. I think / I want the same function that the app logseq has. There you automatically have a journal with all notes in a chronological list. Each note can be a single note. Then you have both. I don’t like all my thoughts in one big and long note. But I like a journal with a scroll function and the possibility to search through everything. Loqseq also has the advantage that it lists all the notes in the journal and not just the Daily Notes. There is an Obsidian Plug In “Daily Notes Viewer”. This offers a partial solution. But only for Daily Notes. Searching the displayed notes is not possible either and you can set how many notes should be displayed in the viewer. So not all notes but e.g. the last 60 days.

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