It’s been a while when I started using notional tools for my day to day. I use these tools constantly, trying to use it as a second brain.
I used Notion for 3 months and it was amazing.
I could organize my entire life creating my life’s dashboard, work section and so on.
I could track everything quite smoothly for those 3 months and it’s been an happy journey till I found myself on an airplane. Above the clouds I wanted to track something down in my Notion instance, but then I realized the worst: Notion doesn’t have the offline support.
My second brain was for offline, was unreachable, and let’s say for a so important organ being offline it’s a shame.
Once back to the interconnected world I decided that I wanted to have my second brain always available, always there for my needs, always up and running.
I started googling around and I found a bunch of Notion alternatives, one of these is Obsidian.
Obsidian is a powerful notional tool where everything is a markdown file which means you have the file always available, being able to edit your files with any editor on any platform. You don’t have a fricking database, instead you have a directory called
vault which contains all your sub-directories and files.
You can find it here: https://obsidian.md
One of the most outstanding Obsidian feature is the one which allows you to link markdown files between them, also using hashtag visualizing the connections in a graph that is generated by a core plugin. It helps to visualize your “ideas”, clarify the connections between ideas, topics and thoughts.
Out of the box obsidian does its amazing job but it’s quite limited to a basic usage, if you want customize more your second brain you have to work a bit on the configuration which is very simple thanks to the amazing work done on the GUI
One of the best part of the tool is the community behind it. You can find literally thousands of plugins made by the community for the community.
Most of the authors use their plugins which are open source, so it means that the whole community can contribute, review and approve them.
You can find the available plugins on Settings → Community Plugins → Browse
I really recommend to use few plugins to enrich your experience according to your needs.
My favorite plugins are:
- Natural Language Dates
- Obsidian Git
- Zettelcasten prefixer
You can customize the Obsidian’s theme using different themes made by the community, having a comfortable environment is the key.
You can find them on Settings → Appearance → Manage
How to move from Notion to Obsidian
I had lots of Notion’s notes so I needed an hand to move everything from there to Notion but luckily the community already thought about that, I found a nice script made by a member of the community to move all my Notion notes to my Obsidian vault.
- You can find the script here: (https://forum.obsidian.md/t/import-from-notion/636/2)
- You can find the whole documentation about how to do that here: https://forum.obsidian.md/t/notion-2-obsidian-migration-instructions/2728)
- For the generic import you can find everything on the Obsidian documentation: https://help.obsidian.md/How+to/Import+data
I backup my vault using a personal repo on Github and the Obsidian Git plugin.
It backups my files every 15minutes with a specific commit.
You can customize your settings as you prefer and it is fully integrated with your git instance so you don’t need to provide any kind of token or credential.
This is a screenshot of my Obsidian instance when I was writing this article:
I find Obsidian very flexible and simple enough to stick with it for a while.
Of course there are always windows of improvement but I’m happy about my choice so far.
I think that all the hype around Notion is very well deserved but still it has downside which forced me to think about the future of my notes.
Obsidian is a way to be sure to have my notes forever and you should think about it too if you don’t want to find yourself in a particular uncomfortable situation where you can’t get your note and you need it.