What do you store in Obsidian?

I’m still using Evernote at the moment with a sprinkling of Notion here and there, and after a few days worth of YouTube tutorials and my own experimentation, I think I have finally drawn some conclusions on Obsidian. Most notably, Obsidian isn’t a tool to store other people’s thoughts (e.g. articles, web clippings, emails, files), but rather a place to store your own thoughts and ideas.

But when I turn on YouTube and watch a tutorial, I see a person with a graph view that looks like something from the Matrix, and I wonder what it is that they’re thinking about all the time that warrants such a massive index of text notes.

Here’s an example of how I used it in order to get to know how Obsidian works, and maybe some of you will share similar stories to help understand how you personally use Obsidian. It may prompt other people to try it for things they’d not considered before.

I was listening to a podcast called Focused with David Sparks recently. It was about setting goals and tying each goal to a ROLE in your life. He was pushing the Ancient Greek idea of “arete” which is basically saying “if you were the perfect father, what would that look like?”. Then, once you wrote a few sentences or paragraphs you could look back and pick things from that which would give you ideas for things you could do to work towards that.

So I created a “base note” called Arete, and then branched off from that with Brother, Father, Friend, Husband etc. Then from there, certain things would crop up from time to time. For example, to be a better husband I might list being a better listener, so that would branch off my “husband” note. But then as I go along, being a better listener may also tie to my “friend” note. Then to my “Father” note. I thought this would be a good exercise to help me learn the intricacies of Obsidian, and show me the power of linking and visualizing my notes.

It’s done that to some extent, but I’m still left wondering, what is it you all are actually putting into this thing? I can understand if you’re doing an intense research project or taking notes for school, that’s obvious. But these YouTube personalities who have a web of notes that looks like cells under a microscope – what are they doing in life that requires so much horsepower?

I guess the point behind this post is that I’d love to see more concrete use cases for how Obsidian is used. It’s not Evernote, it’s not Notion, it’s not Dropbox, so looking at other people’s use cases will help me determine how best to fit this into my life.

And don’t say “it’s a place to store ideas”. :rofl:

I know that. WHAT ideas.

Nick Milo imported a decades worth (I think) of notes from a similar system.

Lots of people import from something like Evernote and have a ton of notes and then link them together.

Some people auto-generate a bunch of notes and links just to make cool graphs.

If you make contemplative, more evergreen notes, then your vault will grow slowly. If you make Daily Notes and record everything you do at work, it grows much faster.

If you’re a writer, academic, or student who takes notes and writes for a living, your vault will also grow pretty quickly.

Thanks. Importing from Evernote is an interesting thought. I think the “idea” notes from EN might be worthy Obsidian files, but I have a lot of web clips, screen shots, PDF’s, images. My initial trial with storing these kinds of notes in Obsidian was not great. I found the separate “attachments” folder to be clumsy and it feels like that’s not Obsidian’s MO. In fact, my first post on here was on just that subject.

I’m satisfied with the division I’ve come up with for the kinds of things that go into Obsidian, but the lines aren’t always clear. It’s great for my own ideas, but if my ideas suddenly start to require screen shots or screen clippings, then I feel like it’s better suited in Evernote – for me. YMMV of course.

It’s funny. I can’t imagine going through life without some of these PKM apps, but I don’t think I have a single friend, family member, colleague or acquaintance who dabbles in any of this stuff. In fact, their attitudes would be “why in gods name do you need that?”.

So whatever I end up using Obsidian for, I’ve found my people here on this forum. :relaxed:

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