If you have been playing around Obsidian long enough, you probably have a big, tangled web of a graph right now. Those who don't, they're probably thinking "I can just do a global search and find it anyway, there's no need to link". But most of you on either side of this spectrum have probably come to the point of ranting about this point just like I did: What's the point of a fancy schmancy brainy-looking graph if I'm not going to use it? Why should I even bother linking my notes to other notes?
This is totally understandable! I mean, the only times I took notes and actually made use of them were usually for studying for tests and exams or needing to take action on them immediately like groceries, or a list of things I need to do for a project or research for the project itself. I didn't even find linking notes useful except for when I was browsing Wikipedia.
But what if you learned a piece of knowledge and don't know what to do with it yet, or how to link it? I mean yeah, you have probably started applying some of it to your life, but didn't you have this feeling I did, like you wanted to do something more with it? Didn't you want to at least create a higher purpose for it?
Creating a Purpose: Give Your Notes a Why
A few months ago, I almost wanted to quit Obsidian because I found it to be nothing more than a connecty-graphy note handler. But I have changed my mindset since then. My new mindset is take notes because I need to do it for work or show my work to someone. If it's not for your REAL work, make sure it's something you can share with the world on a blog or youtube video. That's right, even making a random, off the fly blog post like the one you're reading right now is just enough to give me a reason to use and link my notes. I have to make imaginary work to make my notes work for me, pun intended.
Mind you, I'm not using "work" in a bad way. I find that word "work" is fun because it creates a feeling of urgency to my notes; and such controlled pressure is fun for me. Now in the next step, I will try to make a case for "linking" your notes.
⛓ 🌲 Evergreen notes: Where the Linking Happens
Here's how I link my notes on Obsidian. I create a new intermediary note that links notes from different disciplines and genres. The note should be more conceptual (i.e. generalized or abstract) and transdisciplinary (i.e. can cover more than one so-called school subject) than the sources they originate them from. This intermediary note may be called "evergreen note" or "zettel" by the note-taking community. In simple terms, I make notes on my original source items, then make a new note if I see that the two sources I have studied have a common theme. If this is still unclear, the example below will hopefully make it completely clear.
Example use-case for intermediary notes
Let's say I learned from a business book to "Answer emails in a concentrated batch for 1 hour every 3 days, rather than 3 times every single day". Then I learned from a chemistry book that "lower activation energy yields more results".
Here, I would probably of a "Eureka!" moment. I would create an evergreen note and title it "less is more" which is or will soon be backlinked in both notes because I reasoned in both notes that "doing less work creates more results and saves time" and wrote a [[less is more]] link in that note to generalize both findings.
Of course, I'd have to quote the examples to support them in my final blog post. But the beauty of it is that my examples are already back-linked in my evergreen note, I can just click through my evergreen's linked mentions to find where and what they were in context if I need to use them.
With all that I've said so far, let's now assume that I randomly thought of writing a blog on "Why not being productive is productive". Since I have a rough idea of a few key points I can make, such as "less things can give more output", I can just do a fuzzy search on Obsidian for "less more" and Obsidian can help me take the guesswork out of the exact file name and show this evergreen note immediately.
I could then click my evergreen note "less is more" and then copy and paste the two examples I linked to it to support that "less blablabla gives more" paragraph in my blog or YouTube video.
You'll definitely come across more links you can make between different mediums such as books, articles, podcasts as you consume more, so be sure to be on the lookout for how you can make the notes you make more general and applicable to multiple subjects that you encounter in life.
Give your notes a purpose. Add more generalized intermediary notes linking notes from totally different subjects. If your notes are not for work, make a blog post about it to share your knowledge to the world, someone out there will google it and thank you for it (+ many other benefits I haven't mentioned).