PTPL #10: Paper Notebooks, Slow Productivity, and a Puzzling Obsidian iOS Question
Is there a reliable way to get text into an iCloud vault, independent of Obsidian?
Plain Text, Paper, Less: Exploring productivity through a future-proof, plain text mindset, with a soft spot for the paper that counts.
Welcome to the tenth in a series of posts documenting my plain text, Obsidian-flavoured journey. From this 10th edition onwards, I’m renaming the digest’s headlines to give room for a taster of what’s inside.
Past Episodes are listed here.
Today I’ll be talking about —
- Time spent on productivity systems versus time spent actually being productive
- Slow and simple = a valid productivity choice
- Paper notebooks as tools for creativity
- Obsidian on iOS: a question with no answer (please help if you know of a reliable solution)
Quote of the week:
Don’t spend more time on the productivity system than you do on the productivity. At minimum, 51% of your energy would go to producing. Then, the question becomes about how you might you grow that ratio. — Mike Tannenbaum
I love the quiet beauty of this article. It shows me my centre, and helps productivity to settle into its proper place.
What if all I want is a small, slow, simple life? What if I am most happy in the space of in-between. Where calm lives. What if I am mediocre and choose to be at peace with that?
The world is such a noisy place. Loud, haranguing voices lecturing me to hustle, to improve, build, strive, yearn, acquire, compete, and grasp for more. For bigger and better. Sacrifice sleep for productivity. Strive for excellence. Go big or go home. Have a huge impact in the world. Make your life count.
What if I don’t want to write a cookbook or build a six-figure business or speak before thousands. But I write because I have something to say… Because bigger isn’t always better and the individual matters. —Krista O’Reilly Davi-Digui
Remember to check in with your productivity apps and systems. Do the tools get out the way and let you get on with the work they’re supposed to help with? Where’s the friction?
I do think folks often get obsessed with making a system work a specific way without asking whether that way actually adds value. — greasemonkey
Creativity and productivity are close relations
Could a notebook be your ultimate creativity tool? I’m with Michelle Mac: nothing beats paper when it comes to free-form creativity. Read Michelle’s article here. Here’s what I’ve written on this topic:
- 1 Crazy Notebook Will Super-Charge Your Creativity
- Paperless: The One notebook And Pen I’m Never Giving Up
- 3 Productivity Tools and a Digital Calendar Are All I Need
Adventures in Obsidian
2 interesting plugins
Late to the party perhaps, but last week I discovered the power of the Excalidraw plugin. Read about my enthusiastic first steps with it, here:
Editable Graphics in Obsidian is the Best Thing Since Plain Text!
Methinks GoodNotes is going to be a tad jealous
The Obsidian Memos plugin will be useful to some. For me, it’s a reminder to keep things simple. I prefer to write things directly onto my weekly log page.
Do you know how to reliably write and append text files directly in your iCloud vault, without opening obsidian?
Firstly, why would you even want to add a file to — or add text to a file in — your vault without opening the app?
Answer: If Obsidian takes a good 20 seconds to start up on your iPhone as it does on mine, and it feels the strange need to restart every time you look at another app, you’ll want another way to add notes from that device.
FYI: I’m using iCloud, not Obsidian Sync.
I thought I had the answer with a simple iOS Shortcut, but it’s unstable at best. Yesterday it worked perfectly; today it’s horribly temperamental and can’t even find the correct week of the year when it does work. Unicode #35 specifies
ww for a 2-digit week of the year, but that's one week ahead of where I want it to be. I count the first week of the year as the one containing a minimum of the first four days of January.
This article from leancrew has some tips, but thus far I haven’t been able to get them to work. Here’s another that claims to have an answer. Both make my brain hurt because of gaps in my geek knowledge bank. It’s frustrating because my Dropbox workflow was so smooth!
iCloud has really thrown a spanner in the works that I’m still somewhat resentfully working around. It’s possible that the paid Obsidian Sync service would solve the issue, because (I’m assuming) the app would start up a lot quicker.
How to update the Obsidian Installer
Did you know that the Obsidian installer also needs updating from time to time, not just the app? If you haven’t updated the installer recently, go to obsidian.md and download a fresh copy of Obsidian. Replace the old version and you’ll be good to go. (This tip is from Nicole’s video that I referenced in PTPL#9).
Find past episodes of this Digest in my PTPL List.
Other things I’ve written about Obsidian live here.
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