I Used Obsidian for 224 Days — Here’s What Happened

Matt Giaro
Geek Culture
Published in
5 min readFeb 27, 2022


Screenshot provided by author

7 months and 10 days. This is exactly the number of days I’ve been using Obsidian as “My Second Brain”.

In this article, I’m going to share with you the biggest takeaways from this experience.

Why Did I Switch to Obsidian?

I’m a content creator. I rely on ideas to run my business. Ideas are the backbone of everything I do. Poor ideas = Poor content = Poor income.

I took my first note in Evernote probably 10 years ago (if not more). But then I simply forgot about it because I couldn’t find the proper structure and workflow.

Years later, I rediscovered note-taking with Bear.Bear allowed me to find and retrieve my notes easily using tags.

All the ideas I’ve taken over the years were supposed to be in a safe place inside my note-taking apps. And for years, I’ve been taking notes the wrong way, just gathering more and more notes without revisiting them as I planned to. (You know, the “coming back later to them” lie that we tell ourselves.). I was caught in the “Collector Fallacy”.

“Linking notes” seems to be the latest hot thing. And as an online entrepreneur and content creator who’s not strange to shiny object syndrome, it wasn’t hard to sell me on the idea to –at least– give it a try.

While famous productivity YouTubers were talking about Roam… I found that others praised Obsidian. And since Obsidian was free, trying it was a no-brainer. Since I was taking useless notes, it couldn’t have become any worse.

So I bought into the “ObsidianMania.”

Obsidian Is Free but I Paid for It

I thought that putting some skin in the game wouldn’t hurt and would also help the devs. Especially given the fact that I was on the verge of buying a Roam subscription for $165 a year.
(Plus, at that time… Obsidian mobile’s app was only available for paying users.)
So I bought the Catalyst license for $50

Screenshot provided by author

What did I do with my old notes?

I’ve been (and still am) a Bear user. I think it’s the fastest and most beautiful note-taking app out there. By the time I was about to make the switch, I had around ~1200ish notes.

What was I supposed to do? Migrating them? Or leaving them rest in peace? I decided to migrate notes on an opportunistic basis, which means bit by bit, when I saw that it made sense.

The goal was not to clog my brand new Obsidian vault with “incompatible” notes.

I Was (Really) Scared of Using Backlinks

Obsidian was built to leverage the power of backlinks. Backlinks freaked the hell out of me for two reasons:

First, I didn’t want to create a personal Wikipedia. We all know Wikipedia. You start by reading an article about solar panels and end up on a list of people who died on the toilet. (Yes, this article really exists!)
So I knew, for a matter of fact, that I didn’t want this rabbit hole in my note-taking system.

The second problem with backlinks was to get rid of my “classification” tags.
Which means that I was afraid of not being able to recall my notes — as this was the case with Evernote in the past. The feeling of chaos daunted me. I was afraid of losing my notes. I was scared of the giant mess that would emerge.

But I remembered that growth happens outside our comfort zone. I remembered Niklas Luhmann, this prolific German sociologist. And as I mentioned earlier, the worst thing that could happen? Is going back to my old note-taking system…

So I took a deep breath and jumped out of the comfort-zone plane...

How Standardization Saved My Notes

From now on, I decided to do things differently and get rid of my bad note-taking habits. One of those bad habits? Not having a standardized way of doing things.
First, I took notes randomly. Sometimes it could be a sentence, and sometimes, a whole article that I wanted to save (and come back to it… “later for reference” — haha), or sometimes a summary of an entire book.
All this created confusion when I tried to retrieve my notes.
But Bear got me covered: with its powerful (and fast) search function I was able to retrieve almost anything in no time.
Yet, this unstandardized way of taking notes was nothing else than a hurdle in my creativity. Because I still had this mental fogginess and never looked for a relationship between ideas.

Creating My First Notes

As mentioned earlier, I started creating my first notes in an empty vault. The more I started putting in notes, the more I saw that creating backlinks made sense. In the beginning, a lot of notes were missing. So I imported those who made sense from Bear.
Day after day, my note network started to grow:

Screenshot provided by author

The Drawbacks

I have to say that I’m pretty happy with Obsidian. The only thing that really sucks (and it’s a big one) is their mobile app. As I have to limit my time on a computer due to health issues, it creates a barrier on how to interact with my notes. The worst thing here? I don’t think that Obsidian plans to do anything about it.

The other drawback is that outlines don’t work as well in Obsidian as in other outline apps like Dynalist of Workflowy. I’ve been trying the popular Outline community plugin, but yeah.. it doesn’t work for me.

So I’ll keep an eye open for alternatives while trying not to get obsessed about it.

Should You Go All-Into Obsidian?

I think that Obsidian is not a tool for everybody. Neither do I think it’s perfect. In fact, most people who took my free 7-day email course “How to Take Better Notes” aren’t just ready for it.
Why? For two reasons. First, because this way of taking notes is harder than just “dump and forget”. And guess what? We humans like the easy stuff. (Even if they say that they’re “serious”…)
Second, is that some people are just looking to build information databases that contain notes about products, suppliers, or customers.

Obsidian is a tool for people who want to spark creativity, and reinforce their thinking.
So what I can say is that if you’re looking to implement the Zettelkasten note-taking methodology… you can’t go wrong about giving it a serious try.

If That’s You, Feel Free to Check Out My FREE 7-Day Email Course “How to Take Better Notes” by Clicking Here (Safe Link to My Website).

— Matt Giaro



Matt Giaro
Geek Culture

6 Figure Creator. Helping experts turn their ideas into income with online content (in just 2h/day.) Start now 👉