Organizing daily information

Daily notes is a friction less way for me to take notes about everything and gives a nice timeline view of the day but it has a drawback that information about different subjects are scattered across several notes.

If I meet a person, John Doe, I’ll create a section for this meeting in the daily note and link it to [[John Doe]]. This will appear as a backlink on John Doe’s page. But information about John Doe is now scattered across several daily notes.

On the other hand, I can add meeting note(s) under a section titled with [[daily note]] in [[John Doe]]. It’s a little bit more friction compared to writing in daily notes but has better grouping - all information related to a subject is in one note. But now I lose the timeline view of my day.

How can I have best of both approaches - less friction to take quick notes, timeline view and co-located related information? I have read on how others are handling their daily notes but didn’t find a solution.

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I do the same. However, for specific info about John, like how we met, or where they work, their projects, contact info, other people they know, etc., I add that info on John Doe’s note.

Interactions stay as backlinks to either a daily note OR a meeting note, and it doesn’t matter which. Some interactions and meetings are o or significant enough to merit mention on the daily note. Other meetings are important enough to have their own note.

You can also use tags to help you winnow backlinks down when you’re looking for something specific. For example, for 1on1 s, I capture on a daily note and tag with #1on1, so I can quickly go to someone’s page and search for just the backlinks that were from a 1on1.

If the person’s backlink is related to a project, I can search their backlinks for that project name, and see only those.

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In the daily note you could include only a link, perhaps with a brief summary. That would give you an overview of the day.

  • 11:30 [[John Doe#Meeting 2022-03-06]]
  • 11:30 [[John Doe#Meeting re bat problem]]
  • 11:30 [[John Doe#Meeting 2022-03-06]] Discussed bat problem.

And/or you could, in the section for the meeting on John Doe’s page, include a link to the daily note so that the daily note’s backlinks will be a list of things you did that day.

And/or you could just put everything in the daily note and move things to more appropriate places at the the end of the day, leaving behind a link (perhaps using the Note Composer core plugin or similar).

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I do something similar but use the ![[note-name]] format. I put my goals for the meeting in the note and it has a history of past meetings/notes for that person. But you can also get that with one of the plugins and not use the ! prefix and see the note on hover.

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I took and adjusted what Zsolt wrote up on his blog based in Roam, but extremely easy to adapt

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It seems to me that all the solutions being proposed within Obsidian have “friction” of one sort or another, and so let me offer a slightly counter view to those offered to you so far: it may be that Obsidian isn’t the best tool for your purpose.

Just saying this is sacrilege on this forum, but before you shoot me down let me explain the principle that I think you are grappling with here. Explaining the principle should help you solve for it, whether or not you decide to do so in Obsidian.

To headline the issue for you: two other software solutions you might consider would be AirTables (free version) or Notion (free or paid). Personally, I use Notion for the sorts of tasks you are describing, because it is in my view a better fit for this purpose. There is no friction at all of the sort you describe, but the downside is that Notion doesn’t do what Obsidian does well: finding the relationships between information you have stored. But there are pros and cons: see below.

As I’m sure you know, most professional CRM systems (Customer Relationship Management) that have the functionality you are describing - such as Oracle or Salesforce - are built using “relational databases”. Relational databases allow you to view or analyse the same data in multiple ways, and to re-use data across different tables such that updating the source data updates all the tables that use that data, and all the reports/data views based on those tables. You can enter data once, and see that data reflected in multiple reports and tables.

Neither MS Excel nor Apple Numbers are relational databases, the best they can do is “pivot tables” (in Excel) or Apple’s equivalent “Categories” that allow you to sort data in a table.

Pros of Notion for CRM:
(AirTables can achieve something similar, and is a more advanced tool, but is not as easy to use with a steeper learning curve)

  • Notion is just a relational database with a very friendly and aesthetically pleasing user interface; so it overcomes the friction of using the same data entry across different ways of viewing that data
  • You can create “relationships” between columns of one spreadsheet, and those of another… this “lookup” allows you to create “reports” that automatically populate, so that you can see the customer data in different ways for different purposes
  • You can create your own data entry forms, for example a customer meeting notes template… and have it automatically populate your customer database
  • Notion’s spreadsheet-style views allow you to easily create columns and rows, which you can then sort or filter; and you can put anything in a cell: a photo, a link to another cell, a page link etc
  • Notion has built-in functionality like Kan-Ban boards, Gantt charts, Calendar views etc which are ready to use - you just have to format/structure them to your liking
  • Notion is aesthetically pleasing, it is the exact opposite of a markdown environment, and so has less “formatting” friction

Pros of Obsidian for CRM:

  • At the cost of the friction you mention, you can link your customer records to other information that you might want to connect it to…
  • Obsidian is IMO a far superior tool for PKM
  • Obsidian is a far better tool if you want to be able to navigate from anywhere to anywhere, using hyperlinks… and if you want to connect your Obsidian data with other data sources, such as databases, pdf folders, etc…
  • Obsidian is a better tool for situations when you cannot structure the data entry and reporting formats in advance, because you don’t yet know how you want to use the data or even what it means… ie it is FAR BETTER than Notion for exploring ideas and connections

Hope this helps.

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I use a two-pass approach to managing my daily notes and ad-hoc capture that works well for me.

If I want to create a quick note or meeting minutes or something similar, I either add it to my daily note or create a new note for it. Either way the note lives in my Inbox folder. About once a week, I go through the Inbox folder and review each note. During the review phase, I move the info to their own notes if needed, and then link to the new note from the associated project, product, or people. Likewise for quick reference or journal notes. If they are no longer needed, I simply delete them.

The reason the system works for me is that capture is low-friction – either Ctrl-N (new note) and start typing, or Ctrl-Shift-J (today’s journal) and start typing. I don’t have to think about where the info goes or what should link to it, I can just go. But I also have the security of knowing that within a week or so, this note will be reviewed and sorted into its proper place (or deleted). I move all the friction to a designated time when I’m in a frame of mind for refactoring.

This works well for me. Hope it’s helpful to you.

Craig

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  • Daily notes in my vault are in the format YYYY-MM-DD ddd ( 2022-03-07 Mon ).
  • I have a note for each person I interact with [[John Doe]] and when I have to persist a contact with John I add a section on his note. Before entering the text for that section I use a template to preface a link to my daily note. That backlink shows up on my daily note automagically.
  • With regard to meeting notes - in my world, a meeting is either with an individual or a group. The individual is a person and can be handled as above. If the meeting was with a group or about a project, I create a note for the group or project and, similarly, create a section in the group or project and preface with the templated daily note name. Again, they automagically show up on my daily note.
  • This is also how we can achieve “normalization” of our data (implied in earlier post); links are referential offering one to many and many to one - not sure I can ferret out how to do a many to many.
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Thank you everyone for sharing your approach/solution to this. Meeting with John Doe was an example on how to take everyday notes, keep track of your day and also have all related information in one view.

Do you create a separate note per meeting or use John Doe’s note? And do you embed it in the daily note?

I use a single note per person and per project. My meetings are with people (1-1) or project teams. For each meeting or upcoming meeting I have:

MM-YY-DD

things to discuss
notes
actions/todos

This keeps the history in a single note. The info per date might have a link to materials provided at the meeting, other notes I have that are relevant, etc.

I vary as to whether I embed or just link. No hard rule although I’ve been trying to get link to blocks blocks to work for this but have found that deining a block that matches what I want to link to isn’t straightforward

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