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Practical PKM

by Mike Schmitz

A weekly newsletter where I help people apply values-based productivity principles and systems for personal growth, primarily using Obsidian. Subscribe if you want to make more of your notes and ideas.

Featured Post

🧩 A Complete Walkthrough of All My Obsidian Plugins

In this edition of Practical PKM: 💡 The Big Idea: A deep dive into my Obsidian plugins & workflows 😎 Something Cool: A new Kanban ⇆ Tasks integration (🎉) 📚 My book notes from Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport 💡 The Big Idea: There’s an Obsidian Plugin for That One of the things I love about Obsidian is that you can make it do just about anything. Using community plugins, you can extend the functionality of the app and craft your own productivity and creativity workflows exactly the way you...

6 days ago • 12 min read

In this edition of Practical PKM: 💡 The Big Idea: Tips to help you sleep better 😎 Something Cool: An Obsidian web clipper that I actually like 📚 My notes from Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker 💡The Big Idea: Sleep is the Killer App The purpose of your PKM system is to help you make sense of the world. Unfortunately, that’s almost impossible when you don’t get enough sleep. So in this newsletter, I want to share a few tips for helping you think better by resting better. It’s a little bit of a...

13 days ago • 6 min read

In this edition of Practical PKM: 💡 The Big Idea: Unlock the Potential of Your PKM System with Atomic Notes 😎 Something Cool: Obsidian Tasks 7.1 FINALLY Cleans Up the Modal Window 📚 My notes from How to Take Smart Notes by Sönke Ahrens 💡The Big Idea: The Smaller the Notes, the Bigger the Potential The promise of PKM is that you’ll be able to get additional insight from your connected notes. However, many (maybe most?) people fail to get the payoff because they just dump things into their...

20 days ago • 5 min read

In this edition of Practical PKM: 💡 The fundamental building blocks of motivation 😎 How to use multi-colored highligts in Obsidian 📚 My notes from Master Your Motivation by Susan Fowler 💡The Big Idea: Motivation is the Key to Progress Last week, I talked about how I use my LifeTheme to create motivation to take action on the things that are important and clarity to cut the things that aren’t. But where does that motivation come from? That’s what we’re going to talk about this week 🙂...

27 days ago • 5 min read

In this edition of Practical PKM: 💡 The Big Idea: You need a direction, but not a completed plan 😎 Something Cool: Note Toolbar plugin 📖 Book Notes: Your Best Year Ever by Michael Hyatt I’m a planner. I like to have everything figured out. No surprises please 😂 But when it comes to sensemaking (an important PKM skill), the path isn’t straightforward. Life often takes twists and turns you don’t expect or see coming. When that happens, you need to be able to reorient quickly. Which is why it’s...

about 1 month ago • 5 min read

Cartography (the study and practice of making and using maps) is somewhat of a lost art. On one hand, the rise and fall of cartography makes perfect sense as the exquisite handmade maps of ancient times have been replaced by readily available satellite imagery. The word cartography itself is antiquated, combining two Ancient Greek words that mean “write” and “sheet of papyrus.” It’s a bit difficult to translate that to modern times. A collection of map-making tools. But while you may not see...

about 1 month ago • 5 min read

In this edition of Practical PKM: How to use the 4 Levels of Reading to get more out of books you read An example of how I use MOCs to connect ideas Details on my upcoming Reading Masterclass A cool Obsidian plugin to streamline creating book notes My book notes from How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler “How to Read a Book has to be the stupidest book title I’ve seen!” That was my first impression when my friend Joe originally picked this Mortimer Adler classic for Bookworm. Turns out, it’s...

about 2 months ago • 6 min read

I remember several years ago being enamored with people I followed online sharing their OmniFocus setups. Custom perspectives were the big thing back then (views that showed only tasks that met specific criteria), and everyone was coming up with clever ways to slice and dice what they needed to get done. I carefully studied how my Internet heroes had set up their systems believing if I just had the right tools, then I could be as productive as they were. So I bought OmniFocus, went through...

about 2 months ago • 5 min read

In this edition of Practical PKM: The problem with pseudo-roductivity (and what we can do about it) How to apply Slow Productivity principles using The PKM Stack A great new podcast about the creative process My notes from Slow Productivity by Cal Newport Pseudo-productivity is a term Cal Newport uses in his book Slow Productivity to describe the use of visible activity as the primary means of approximating actual productive effort. And to be honest, it’s not a new concept. Managers and...

2 months ago • 7 min read

In this edition of Practical PKM: Why the idea of work/life blanace is a myth for the modern knowledge worker How to live a more balanced life through the application of intentional imablance A step-by-step walkthrough for setting up the Wheel of Life in Obsidian A cool new Obsidian plugin for taking notes on YouTube videos My book notes from The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly The whole idea of work/life balance is a bunch of baloney. Maybe in the past you could establish firm boundaries between...

2 months ago • 6 min read
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