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How to Use Obsidian in More Effective Ways

In this post, I’ll share some of my experiences and tricks after practicing card writing and writing 1500 cards with Obsidian.

Obsidian is an open-source note-taking app that enables you to organize your thoughts, ideas, and knowledge in a single place. It allows you to create links between notes, tag notes, and export your notes into multiple formats. With Obsidian, you can easily connect related notes and ideas together for easier access and better understanding.

The smaller the card, the better
In the card writing process, it is easy to write a lot of cards at once, maybe 400 or 500 words per card. It’s good to have the ability to write, but cards with 400 or 500 words, or even 600 or 700 words, are not easy to reuse.

For example, if we need 1000 words to write an article, it is difficult to use the cards directly when we see 600 or 700 words, and we need to make more cuts and changes. If you see a few cards of one or two hundred words related to the article in the card library, you can easily embed them into the article and use them directly.

My personal experience is that each card should be no more than 200 words, and that a suitable size is between 100 and 200 words.

What if you write too many cards at once, for example, 400 or 500 words?

My advice is to see if you can break it down into multiple smaller cards, which will make it easier to use (reuse) in the future. It is also important to develop the habit of writing concisely, using as few words as possible to make your meaning clear to others, rather than using many words.

Cards that are understandable to a young person

What is the format or pattern of what should be written out in card writing? The positioning of the card is more like meticulously and patiently imparting a certain knowledge to the other person, who reads it, understands it and gets something out of it.

I have a simple criterion here, that is to send this card to a person who has just joined the industry, who has just entered the industry, he can read, gain, and know how to do. Of course, if people with some experience in this industry, see this card also feel valuable, that is the best.

Ultimately to achieve the standard of reach should be: easy to understand, in-depth.

Everything can be written

Card writing lowers the threshold of writing and enhances the sense of participation in writing. The questions and problems we usually think about, whether or not we find the answers, can be written on cards. Maybe the answer is found as we write.

For example, I was planning a new course one day, and at that moment I thought, what should I include in the course introduction? I remembered that I had seen some courses before that included a wealth of information in the introduction, such as feedback from previous students, answers to questions, and so on.

So, I spent some time summarizing the introduction pages of several courses and put together a completed course introduction template, containing a dozen items such as instructor introduction, course description, course features, and post-class questions. This way, on the one hand, you can use it yourself in the future, and on the other hand, you can share it with others.

Another example is that I recently intended to do some video output, but the requirements of each platform for video are different, so I thought while writing and wrote a card Why do I only do videos within five minutes? Both solve their current problems, but also can share to others.

So, card writing, combined with our usual questions, combined with the thoughts in our mind, capture, write, think, get the answer, and share.

Writing cards in this way, it is easy to write more than 10 cards a day.

Creating a knowledge collider

When you write more cards, it is possible for two cards to collide with each other and generate new knowledge. I call it a knowledge collider, which means that you can choose two knowledge points that you are interested in or have accumulated to collide and think about their differences and correlations, and whether they can be innovated.

For example, the “tomato work method” and “knowledge in action” are two seemingly unrelated concepts, but I tried to build a collider between them in my brain, and after careful consideration, I had an idea.

Could I practice Knowing and Doing in one tomato time? After thinking about it, I realized that it was possible.

For example, when I encounter a work problem, I first go to study and ask for advice, then practice, and after practice, I have the result, I record the result and reflect on it, all these are done in one tomato or these two tomatoes time, which means that the unity of knowledge and action is achieved.

In this way, we can learn and practice effectively in a smaller time dimension, which improves the efficiency of our learning.

Finally, I also gave this method a name, called “Knowing and Doing Capsule”, which is a collision between cards to produce cards.

Don’t expect cards to replace the brain’s memory

We can write and record through cards, but that doesn’t mean our brains don’t need to remember deliberately anymore. There are some points that are good to put into the card system, but there are some points that still need to be put into the brain to be called up in 1 second. My personal habit is to review regularly some contents that are necessary to become long-term memory through some software (Readwise), so that my brain can remember and do it to help myself think and solve problems at any time.

Knowledge networks are more valuable

What is a knowledge network?

Knowledge network means connecting knowledge points and connecting them into a network to become related and systematic knowledge. A knowledge network is the foundation of a knowledge system, where multiple knowledge networks from different fields are linked together to form a knowledge system.

In the card writing process, a separate card is written, and the next step in the process is the need to organize and connect the individual cards. Specifically, this can be done by categorizing through tags, or by creating connections through internal links, or by finding a piece of paper (or tool) yourself and drawing as you think.

Taking multiple isolated cards and connecting them into a network will reveal some new patterns that will enhance perception and generate new value. The value, moreover, is much higher than the sum of the individual cards.

Knowledge points, which have value when you don’t know you don’t know them, are available once you know you don’t know them, once you look them up online.

And building a knowledge network is not easy. Not only do you need to master multiple knowledge points, but you also need to sort out the connections between them. After connecting the points into a network, the understanding will be deeper and the memory will be more profound.

I prefer to transfer knowledge through a knowledge network, so that on the one hand, the audience can have an overview of the whole picture and find out the knowledge points that they don’t know they don’t know, and then they can also understand the connection of each knowledge point through my explanation, and they will gain more and remember more deeply.

After writing cards to write articles

Card writing, lowered the threshold of writing, so that many people began to enjoy writing and accumulated a lot. The next question comes, the content of card writing, how to output in the future, ah, what is the relationship between cards and articles? In which articles?

This question, I initially thought it was very simple, not difficult. But I didn’t expect it, it took me a long time to figure it out.

Here is an analogy, write 1000 cards, as if you have a big box with 1000 beads, with different materials, such as gold, amber, beeswax, and different sizes, 9 mm diameter, 10 mm diameter, 11 mm diameter ……

These beads are not very valuable when they are mixed and put together. When needed, design, organize, find the same material and size, and match them to form a beautiful string, that’s when the value will appreciate.

This process of design is the process that produces the greatest added value. This process of design is also the process that generates the most creativity.

Therefore, card writing, is a basic work, as if preparing various beads, will make the later design and creation more efficient, but cannot replace the later design and creation.

Finally, welcome your comments and sharing.

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