A map of my year in Obsidian

Posted on 2023-09-11 20:07 +0100 in Life • 3 min read

Some time around late October or early November last year, around the time I started working at Textualize, I "discovered" Obsidian. While I didn't need another note-taking application (having gone through Evernote, trying to use Org, dabbling with a couple of other things and finally settling mainly on Apple Notes), I was quite taken by its style and ubiquity and the fact that it was, at heart, just a bunch of Markdown files.

So quite quickly I started using it; not to replace Apple Notes (which is still my general note-taking tool of choice), but to keep work notes and a daily coding journal, the latter coming in useful for the quick end-of-day meetings we normally have.

One of the things I was quite taken by was the graph. It was interesting and fun to see how each of my work days related to other work days, and what subjects kept getting pulled in, etc.

So come the start of this year I had an idea: what would it be like to keep a personal vault, but one where I track things I've done. Not a journal as such (I do keep one of those too, have done for many years now, but that's for other far more important reasons -- perhaps I'll write about that one day too), just a daily record of stuff I've achieved, stuff I've actually done, the routine things and the exceptional things?

What would that graph look like?

While it's not the end of this year yet, here's how that's shaping up:

The main graph

Each of the yellow circles is a day, each of the blue ones is a tag of some sort. As you'd imagine, the size of the circles relates to how often that item is tagged. So I can see what proportion of my days so far this year have been tagged with being heavily involved with work:


Likewise, if I want to see how many days this year have involved a significant spot of gaming:


Ditto for days where I've done some coding on pet projects, or even some personal-time coding relating to work projects (it might be work, but it's also Free Software and I do like to support FOSS!)


I sort of have a curated set of tags I apply, but I've not made it a strict set; if some new situation crops up that calls for a new tag I'll use it. Mostly though I try and keep the tags pretty general so lots of days can relate to the same general subject.

Another thing I've done is tag each and every day with the day of the week, so while it's not really surprising to find that Sunday doesn't dominate over other days, I can see which days are Sundays and perhaps wander along the connections and see what I get up to:


I don't quite know what I hope to get out of this, I don't really know if there's anything useful to be had here at all, but it will be interesting to look back over it at the end of the year. It also means that I'll have a directory hierarchy full of Markdown files, all tagged and filled with information, which I'll be able to grep and slice and dice and count and perhaps pull into a database and cross-reference with stuff and things.

Or perhaps it's all just really me not having a good use for Obsidian but inventing one anyway. ;-)