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Obsidian is my everything app

Posted on:January 25, 2024

Elon Musk dreams of creating the ultimate Everything app. Surprisingly, I already have my version of an Everything app, and it’s not what you might expect. It’s a note-taking app called Obsidian, and I spend more time in it than any other app. If you haven’t encountered Obsidian yet, I’m thrilled to be the one introducing it to you. I’ve converted many people to using it; they should be paying me for my evangelism! Seriously though, why am I such a fan of Obsidian? Let me explain.

Firstly, Obsidian is simple, minimal, and well-designed. Its writing interface gets out of your way, reminiscent of how Sublime Text felt as my go-to code editor back in the day. It’s one of those products that feels good to use, allowing you to focus on your work without distractions. Unlike many alternatives, Obsidian isn’t bloated, but instead has a rich plugin ecosystem created by community developers. As a side note, if you’re a developer interested in extending Obsidian, it’s an Electron app, meaning it’s just JavaScript under the hood, so you can easily write your own plugins.

Secondly, Obsidian notes are all Markdown and saves files to your local file system. Unlike tools like Evernote, Notion, Coda or even Word and Google Docs, your files aren’t locked in a proprietary format. This means the company behind it can’t lock you out or suddenly increase prices and limit device usage. That peace of mind is invaluable for something as personal and important as notes—you want control over them. Markdown files are also portable and flexible; you can write in Obsidian and open them with any other app.

Thirdly, Obsidian emphasizes linking between notes. You can create your own knowledge graph, establishing connections that map better to the human mind than traditional directories or taxonomies. This offers more flexibility than frustrating categories and tags.

When I say Obsidian is my everything app, what do I mean? It’s not just a simple note-taking app with links; it’s a powerful tool that provides unmatched control and flexibility in organizing thoughts and ideas.

At this point, I use Obsidian for so many tasks. Mainly, I take notes on books, articles and podcasts, or write down my own ideas, but it’s also great for studying by turning those notes into flashcards. The templates make it easy to structure your content for any purpose. I keep a daily log, journal, and even draft blog posts and emails in it.

For project management, Obsidian excels because of its versatility. You can create powerful documents and use plugins for simple yet elegant project management. The Kanban plugin turns your note into a Trello-like board. As a huge nerd, I’ve created an entire Zettelkasten system in Obsidian – which you’ll likely discover if you dive in.

For years, finding the right note-taking and task-tracking apps stressed me out. I tried countless productivity tools, but many were lacking. Once you start using Obsidian, you realize how much can be simplified.

The one missing killer feature Obsidian misses is group collaboration and real-time syncing. My wife and I share a vault mounted to Google Drive – it works well for two people but isn’t perfect. For a tech-savvy crowd, storing your Obsidian vault in Git works well.

Imagine an entire company or team relying heavily on Obsidian instead of other wikis – the advantages I mentioned work just as well at the team level. I suspect someone will create an “Obsidian for teams,” and it will take off. There are already solutions trending in that direction.

So go ahead, give Obsidian a shot. It’s fantastic – the everything app Elon could never make for you.