My 2023 Digital Life in Practice – Obsidian Daily and Weekly Notes

In my two prior productivity-focused posts, I walked through my productivity mindset and the various apps I use.

Saturday is my Weekly Review Day. I take time every Saturday morning, sometimes no more than 10-15 minutes, to review the digital and mental cruft that piled up during the previous week and reset towards the next new week.

About a year or so ago, I set up templates in Obsidian for my Weekly Reviews that have worked very well for me. In this post, I’ll walk through my Daily and Weekly Template and explain how it facilitates easy and fast Weekly Reviews that keep me focused and moving forward.

Note: This long post represents nearly two full years of Obsidian daily use as the central application of my life. If you’re also an experienced Obsidian user, I’m excited to get your feedback and suggestions. If you’re new to Obsidian, please don’t be overwhelmed. Obsidian can be as simple or as complex as you want. Start simple and build your use cases over time.

Obsidian doesn’t come with any of this structure out of the box. When you start using Obsidian, you have the framework to create Daily Notes, but the content, look & feel, and everything else is entirely up to you. While Obsidian itself is closed-source, community plug-ins are all in public Github repositories where you can see the code (if you’re conversant in typescript, javascript, and CSS), review issues, review release notes, contribute, and more.

I’ll call out the plug-ins I use as I go, but here’s a tl;dr:

Daily Note

Here’s my daily template in source mode (click to see larger).

I’ve tried many themes in Obsidian, and the one I keep coming back to is Minimal. The fonts, colors, lines, and spacing combination works well for me.

While Obsidian has a built-in Template core plug-in, I use the Templater plug-in to generate dates throughout my daily and weekly templates. Templater can do so much more, but it requires more advanced javascript knowledge to take full advantage. I also use Templater to insert templates with keyboard shortcuts and map specific templates to specific folders.

For example, this heading:

Obsidian Templater screen shot

Becomes this when applied to my daily note:

Obsidian rendered day of the week

My Daily Notes are titled simply in YYYY-MM-DD format (today is 2023-03-19) to take advantage of other date-driven features.

The following section is pulled from my Weekly Note, which I’ll walk through later in this post. I leverage the Periodic Notes plug-in here. On Saturday, I’ll set some weekly goals for the following week. Then every daily note in that week reminds me of those goals I wrote to keep me on track.

Obsidian screen shot

It looks like this when rendered in preview mode on a Daily Note. The ! before the backlink [[ ]] means the content is embedded from the original, not linked or copied. When I update the original, all the references update automatically.

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These are my main headers for notes that don’t warrant separate pages in my vault, and I tend to do the quickest writing.

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When I start my day, I try and type out a few bullets for what I hope to get done, using the overall goal for the week as guidance if needed.

I use the QuickAdd plug-in for keyboard-driven automation that populates automatically to the appropriate section. For example, when I have a meeting, I press ⌥ - M (the keyboard shortcut I decided on) and type in the title. The meeting notes page is automatically generated with templated headers for attendees, purpose, notes, etc., with a backlink in the “Meeting Notes” section of my daily note. Perhaps I’ll do a whole separate post on all my QuickAdd configurations. It’s powerful.

I use the Raycast app for quick journaling without opening Obsidian, which populates a bullet in my Journal section. No matter where I am on my laptop, ⌘ - space brings up the quick entry window where my Daily Note command is a favorite at the top.

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Then when I hit return, it appears in my daily note with a time stamp, as I configured to be my preference in the Raycast settings.

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Next, I have a view of my most important tasks. This is all driven by the great Obsidian Tasks plug-in. This is by far my most-used plug-in.

I rarely enter tasks directly on my daily note. Instead, the tasks come from other files in my vault that have the context.

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When used in a daily template, the Templater dates automatically update.

CleanShot 2023 03 19 at 10 52 46 2x Tasks use Markdown code blocks (the text between ``` – “tasks” means it’s for the Tasks plug-in to render) for configuration and then renders like this in edit/preview mode:

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Tasks are not goals. I’m not thinking about creating a checklist for the day. I’m trusting my system to surface the task I need to think about at the time and where I need to be thinking about them. I have a separate page for “Low Priority Tasks” with all those things I’d love to do but aren’t driven by date or priority. I review that list as part of my weekly review on a page with all incomplete tasks and add dates or priorities to things ready to schedule and get done.


Integrations that create notes land in my “Capture” folder in my vault. I process and organize these notes outside my trusted PARA organization system. I don’t want anything important to fall through the cracks. This simple block in my daily note surfaces what came in the background to the Capture folder as I pushed links and notes from other apps. Once read, the file is either archived, deleted, or moved to the correct Project, Area, or Resource section elsewhere in my vault.

It’s a simple Tasks block:

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My Obsidian vault is built for action. It’s not a bookmark manager. It’s not a black hole. Every page is there for a reason. 

I use various tools to capture and highlight resources. I detailed some of them in my previous post.

There’s a Raindrop plug-in for Obsidian that I’ve configured to pull in to my “Capture” folder with a task. I only bring in pages that have highlights.

Omnivore is a free, simple, open-source Read it Later app. I send newsletter subscriptions to it that I know I want to capture in Obsidian. Readwise Reader has a similar feature.

For example, there’s a fabulous Obsidian Roundup newsletter. I subscribe to it using my Omnivore email address. I read it in Omnivore and highlight what I want to spend more time with later. If I read something and don’t highlight anything, there’s no reason to bring it into Obsidian. I’ll just send it to Raindrop or discard.

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As I’ve established as my method, I’ve configured the Omnivore plug-in for Obsidian to include a task when it creates the note with the newsletter content.

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It shows up on my daily note simply because it’s an undone task in my collection folder:

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And now I can follow up, create additional tasks, move content to other pages, etc., or whatever is appropriate directly from the created page:

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I also use the ReadItLater plug-in for random pages, videos, and other content. Like other integrations, I configured it to include a “process this” task for my attention, even if it’s just pushing to my backburner task list.

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File Tracking

The List Modified plug-in does an excellent job of listing created, modified, or deleted files in a daily note. But it’s just a list of links. I prefer to see a bit more detail.

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Dataview is one of the most powerful plug-ins there is. It has a bit of a learning curve to get the syntax down, but once you do, it’s so powerful and valuable. I use it throughout my vault to create tables of files that meet set criteria. Here’s how I use it on my daily note to give me more detail on the files I’ve created, including the exact location and creation time of the file (including the daily note itself, which was created automatically).

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Pulled all together, a typical day looks something like this:

Weekly Note

Phew. That was a lot, wasn’t it?

There are seven files created every week, and every day is a different adventure. Saturday is my day to reflect on the week and figure out what’s working, what’s not, what’s done, and what’s not. What do I want to make specific changes or get done in the following week?

Like the Daily Note template, here’s my entire Weekly Note template in source mode (click on the image to enlarge). I’ll walk through the details below. It looks daunting. It’s not. It’s the same thing copied for each day of the week, with Templater offsetting the days.

Very little is typed directly into the Weekly Note. It’s pulling most of its content from the Daily Notes of the week in embedded links. The links only function correctly if I create the weekly note on Saturday, so I have a standing task and a reminder at the top of the page.

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Each day of the week has its section automatically pulled from the correct day. Now you see why I use the Templater plug-in. I copied the same section down the page, increasing the offset (from Saturday) to get the right day.

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If the daily note hasn’t been created yet, the weekly note will look like this for that day:

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But once the daily note has been created and used, it will dynamically pull in the right content from that day’s page:

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Then on Saturday morning, I read through all the entries on that single page and write my reflections at the bottom. In addition, I make sure there’s no junk in various inboxes and write up a few goals for the next week. Those goals appear at the top of every daily note for the following week, and life goes on and on in a continual circle of planning, doing, updating, and reflecting.

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And that’s it.

Again, I didn’t start using Obsidian this way on day 1. I started using Obsidian at work in May 2021. When I was laid off in January, I applied what I learned in building that vault to my personal vault. My personal vault now has over 800 connected files that have become my second brain.

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I’m making constant tweaks and improvements as my needs and life change, and new updates and insights are revealed.

I’m sure it will change again when I start my new job on March 27 (yeah, you read that right…more on that next week).

Any questions? Leave a comment!


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