Using Daily Notes as a convert from Roam

This is also why I’m preferring atomic pages to using nested headers and the section/subsection search.

I’ve also found this to be very beneficial. It reduces coupling between notes, making it easier to make changes in notes without breaking links/queries/etc in other notes.

Just like software packages, notes should have high internal cohesion (the note should be focused on one core idea, not necessarily short but can be) and low coupling between notes.

Coincidentally this is a fundamental principle in the zettelkasten method.


How do you group atomic notes into a larger structure?

I’m still very new at Obsidian. Currently, the two pillars of my workflow are Daily Notes, and a Dashboard. The Dashboard attempts to be a ToCo of everything in the vault.

So let’s say I break the Dashboard into many, many atomic notes. How do I do that and still retain the overall structure? Keep the Dashboard, with that document consisting of nothing other than links to individual, atomic notes?

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This thinking only goes as far as making pages amenable to searches and reducing false positives. This doesn’t always matter. I think that’s especially true in project pages vs. knowledge pages, or for how much of a “verb” a page is in your workflow vs. a “noun”

I like having contextual dashboard pages for my projects. For example, one of my projects has a few embedded searches on it to bring in the relevant notes from elsewhere. I wrote this post a while ago but it actually applies quite nicely to Obsidian as well if you can structure your searches well.

Alternatively, a contextual dashboard with commentary. Instead of putting everything on one page, it links to all of the smaller pages. You can even ![[embed]] those pages if you want them all viewable from one location but not muddying up search results. The embedded search approach is more a way to “automate” that.


You can maybe even call it functional note taking. I see a lot of parallels between this modularized note taking approach and functional programming.


Good insight. I’m not sure how applicable to my own work, but useful nonetheless.

Your description of your work could apply to mine as well: Juggling many projects simultaneously, with information coming in from a many sources. I’m in marketing, rather than product management, however.

I’m thinking of scaling via hierarchical dashboard pages. One dashboard – and folder – per project, with a dashboard-of-dashboards to manage it all.

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I’m experimenting with a template vault from @mdee that provides dashboard views for projects and tasks using the dataviewer plugin. It’s got a lot of promise but there are some issues where the query syntax in the plugin may have changed a bit recently (unclear) and there may also be a new bug where the views don’t automatically update (also unclear). The workaround for the non-updating views is simply to close and re-open the note showing the dashboard.

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Funny… I arrived here looking for an Obsidian+Figma workflow and ended up learning a ton as an Obsidian newbie.

Still working on my strategy of balancing atomic notes vs dailies, so thank you.

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I’m glad it was helpful :slight_smile: I use both Figma and Obsidian as well… you can actually embed with iframe! Just copy the embed link from Figma and then you can make a page for quick access in Obsidian.


Yes! Thank you for this. This makes all the sense in the world to me.

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Another expat here.

I didn’t know you had switched over. I’m following behind you. About 3 weeks ago I started working on learning Obsidian. I’m all in now but finding some of my work practices/mental models to still be trying to follow Roam rather than shape to Obsidian. I appreciated your conversation here as helping me further develop my practice (I was a very heavy DNP user as well).


RobertHaisfield, I found your compare/contrast piece very enlightening with respect to how Roam and Obsidian differ in their approach to handling notes. In light of your criticism(s) of Roam, can you share with us why you didn’t switch to Logseq instead of Obsidian. It seems to me that Logseq does not have the constraints that you mention that Roam has, yet the functionality of Logseq is near clone-like to that of Roam.

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Last I tried Logseq it wasn’t performant on my database. Regardless, I’m loving Obsidian!


A simple question @roberthaisfield . What do you use instead of Roam’s /today in Obisidian to include a link to today’s date?


This plugin allows you to use @today to do the same.


also wondering this, looks like it is included on the roadmap in the next release

@roberthaisfield Thank you very much for the writing, it was very interesting and insightful. :slightly_smiling_face:
Quick question: how do you use daily notes with this workflow? Are your daily notes just empty pages being referenced by your fleeting notes, or do you still write content in your daily notes? If you do, what content do you write there? I’m curious :slightly_smiling_face:

@PR-C If I understand correctly, you still write most things in your daily notes, and you extract sections of them to their own page when it makes sense to do so…? If that’s correct, based on what conditions do you decide to extract something out from your daily notes?

Since then, I have moved away from daily notes (DNs) in exchange for templates for notes that absolutely require dates (meeting notes, research breakthroughs, grant apps, etc).

Back when I wrote this post, I started to notice that what I used to do in Roam with tags/links and queries could be further enhanced with an organizational paradigm (a-la MOCs, Johnny Decimal). I started to think about all the information I wrote on my DNs as a path for these bits to be “catalogued” according to my areas of work/interest. Slowly, I developed a cataloguing system for myself that I could naturally send all writing on DNs to. Meeting notes go a note with a template for meeting under a folder for that particular project, fleeting thoughts attached to specific writing projects or developing notes (e.g. zettels), and so on.

I stopped using DNs in replacement for the Text Transporter plugin by @TfTHacker and a single file I titled “Junkyard” where I download all the daily writing that needs to be catalogued afterwards. At different points in my week, I go to that file and use Text Transporter to ship all my writing bits to where thy belong. If something remains in the junkyard, well, maybe that’s where it belongs until I truly need it.

I settle for this workflow as it is an intentional system that constantly reinforces the design behind my information/knowledge system while adding an extra layer of navigation and discovery.

Lengthy answer, sorry about that :slight_smile:


Thanks a ton for the answer. You actually confirmed thoughts I recently had regarding Daily Notes in Obsidian :grinning:
After doing some research, observing myself and reading about how people use daily notes in Obsidian, I got to suspect that people only try to use daily notes because it’s the backbone of everything in Roam Research, and therefore they feel unsafe leaving it.
After reading @roberthaisfield 's post at the top of this thread, I stopped using daily notes to rely on the Zettelkasten plugin like he demonstrated. I have not run into any issue since. And now that I know you left daily notes as well and you are not reporting any problem with that, I feel more confident about my decision :slightly_smiling_face:

Thanks a lot for taking the time to explain the rest of your workflow too. It was very interesting! There are things I would like to think about and maybe ask questions about, but that would be for a different thread since it would be off topic :sweat_smile:
Thanks again!

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Hello @roberthaisfield,

Very interesting post ! I still think the possibility to toggle a block-level search in the backlinks pane would be a game changer for Obsidian. We would have the best of both worlds.

As you’ve perfectly described, It would allow to :

  1. Use daily notes to quickly get down some ideas,
  2. Add inline tags / links in these inputs…
  3. …To then be able to filter them at block level using backlinks pane of other notes.

Obsidian already shows each block where the backlink appears : it seems so close to being able to filter each block, and it would be a game changer !

I really miss the simplicity of complete daily notes where each block can be easily recovered through search and filters in the backlinks panes of other notes.

I created a feature request mentioning this :

It also has been mentionned in this feature request by @rishiraam a few months ago :

Has your workflow evolved in this direction since then ? Have you heard of some plugins that would help this workflow ?

As of today, I have no idea if this is something that may ever happen, or if this is in contradiction to Obsidian’s philosophy.

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