I run a small CPA firm. Boring, right? Perhaps not when you consider that success hinges on juggling projects and tasks, managing client relations, and meeting government-imposed deadlines.
I have tried to use various task management apps, but most suffer from the same issue: they treat all tasks the same. This does not map to my reality. In my world, some projects are huge macro tasks made up of many smaller sub-tasks, and yet some reminders are very small microtasks. Some require nary a note, and others require volumes. I have built a system in Obsidian that helps me manage all of my tasks successfully.
One of Obsidian’s most endearing features is extensibility. Obsidian’s unopinionated nature means you can use it to build a system to behave almost any way you want.
At the heart of my system are two Obsidian plugins:
I use this plugin to create a huge whiteboard for my projects. I can move tasks to shuffle priorities and manage statuses.
This plugin is at the heart of great task management. When I mark a task done, it handles the housekeeping that allows me to make useful queries later.
At the heart of my task management system is my project whiteboard. I have it set up as a four-column Kanban note.
Macro tasks and microtasks live in harmony on the project whiteboard. Microtasks exist only on the board. Macro tasks have an underlying note, which may contain task details, subtasks, or any other information. I can drag tasks to visually arrange priorities. Additionally, I have the MetaEdit plugin installed (by the same author as Kanban), so dragging macro tasks between Kanban lanes updates a status property in the underlying note. Each Kanban has a hidden lane called “Archive,” so archiving a macro task on the Kanban sets the underlying note’s status property to ‘Archive.’
The whiteboard’s Kanban settings allow me to hide tags. Each item in the Kanban is formatted as a task and given a ‘#task’ tag to make it visible to the Tasks plugin. This allows me to manage my KanBan tasks seamlessly with my other tasks. (Not every task (e.g. daily reminders) belongs on the project whiteboard.)
I can use all the wonderful functionality from the Tasks plugin to manage and query tasks. I have several task queries in my daily notes, and I have set up a ‘built-in’ Obsidian panel when I need to manage tasks without regard for how they appear on the project whiteboard.
The one thing I wish I had with this system is integration between the Tasks and Kanban plugins so that dragging tasks up or down in a Kanban lane would change their priorities within the Tasks plugin. As it stands now, I must manually change the priorities of my tasks if I want them to appear correctly in my daily notes.
Is this system useful to you? How would you improve it? What would you do to change it? Please comment below.