How do you organize tasks, files, emails and notes?

How do you keep all your systems synchronized? Work for me fits into four different systems.

  1. FILES: iCloud, DropBox and work is forcing me to use OneDrive now, too.
  2. EMAILS: Work making us use Outlook, which is mostly fine but it doesn’t allow URL’s to messages.
  3. NOTES: Obsidian
  4. TASKS: in Things

Each of these systems has a set of folders within folders. A particular project may contribute to several of these buckets. I may get a few emails with instructions or attachments, take notes on these, then derive a set of tasks, etc.

Seems like a lot of systems to keep organized. Does anyone have a way to synchronize this or is it just a manual process?


FILES: iCloud
EMAIL: Airmail
NOTES: Currently migrating from Evernote to Apple Notes
TASKS: Omnifocus
CALENDAR! Fantastical

Maybe I don’t understand the question, but all of the systems, you mentioned, are normally syncing themself. So there is pretty much nothing you have to do about the synchronization, beside enabling it within each system.

Do the areas/projects and folders in folders match up in tasks, email, files and notes – how do you keep everything connected? For me they are four disconnected systems.

I was trying using callback-url links in Things, Mail and Obsidian.

Obsidian for all of these since 2020!

I used to think about these issues a lot. I don’t anymore. I’m not sure what changed. I think I use links and search and it “just works.”

There’re times when it takes a while to find things, sure. But I think it’s still less overhead than the cost of procrastinating by trying to build the “perfect” system.


Files: Onedrive
Emails: Outlook
Tasks: Things / Microsoft ToDo (Work)
Notes: In flux between obsidian and evernote - looking for an option.

files : iCloud and Google drive
email : currently Mailmate
tasks : goodtask and reminder
Notes: Obsidian, Upnote and

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I know what you mean and my solution to this has been using Hookmark. I use the same apps as you and work is also pushing Outlook on us, but I still use Apple Mail, which is why I can create links from mails as well (this isn’t YET possible in Outlook, but they have been promising AppleScript for a long time). So by creating a note in Obsidian with Hookmark links to all the different apps is working out quite good for me.

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Ok, now I understand, and I do it also via links (either from the App itself, or via Hookmark), that I then collect within Obsidian.
I created a form there, with all the different possible sources preset, so I could just use the form to set up a new project within Obsidian, and then fill out the blank spaces there, with the links.
That form helps me to not miss an important link on a project.

I wouldn’t count on that. If AppleScript (which dates back to System 7) had a future, why did Apple get rid of their Product Manager of Automation Technologies in 2016?

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn Applescript was left for dead back at 1 Infinite Loop.

For any significant project, I create a project in Things and a project note in Obsidian. They are both linked to each other. Files I keep in iCloud, I have a pretty flat folder structure, mostly rely on search to find things. But I’d say most of the information I need is in Obsidian.

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Do you use it for tasks as well? I’ve been trying tasks in it, and it works well for capturing the actions from meetings, but I struggle with others.

Depends on what you mean by “task.”

I track things like “Put out the garbage” in Due, because I don’t have very many of them, they’re all pretty regular, they don’t get changed very often, and I want to be annoyed until I do them.

Most other things I track as tasks in projects, in a GTD sense, following this principle:

I.e., I create notes for different projects, put any tasks and ideas about them in those notes, drop the notes in a big Kanban status board, and keep up a rough/good-enough review practice.

For any given project, though, the only task that actually truly matters is whatever the topmost one is. Often that task is just “Keep writing.” And usually the only projects that matter are the top ten or so.

This has been better for me than trying to atomize everything I want to do in strict, object-oriented task statements, then juggling all of those in OmniFocus and the like.


Seems like pulling all incomplete tasks into one note would be a good use for the dataview plugin.

I’m really starting to consider using Obsidian as a task manager as well, however it’s a few more steps to get to the list of tasks as compared to Reminders or Things.

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Thanks for the insight.

For me it’s the tracking of minor but necessary tasks that need to be done, such as following up on emails and the tasks that generally grease the wheels of work (or at least stop issues becoming train wrecks taking up more time).

I think in reality, it’s not the tracking system, it’s my adherence to checking the tasks list that I currently need to work on.

For what it’s worth, Shortcuts is a great way to get things like this set up. I’ve been building one that creates a project in Things, a tag and a starting communication log in Drafts, links between them, a set of nested folders in iCloud and, hopefully, a designated folder in Mail.

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  1. FILES: iCloud
  2. Emails: forward to Omnifocus mostly
  3. Notes: any notes that I want to preserve in a project will end up as a document in the folder, temporary notes are in Drafts with a heading and eventually end up somewhere else
  4. Tasks: Omnifocus

So far it is up to me to keep this stuff in sync, but I get that an automatic process for creating new folders in the various areas would be a good idea.

  1. FILES: iCloud and DevonThink
  2. Emails: Fastmail and Apple Mail(for links)
  3. Notes: Apple Notes for quick capture, Obsidian for long term notes.
  4. Tasks: Omnifocus

I’m using the PARA organization method to organized items the same way across applications. I just need to know what it is ( project, area, … ) and I can find it.


This is a fun topic!

Files: Dropbox for any current work that relies on normal files. So Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, some text files, etc. PDFs. GitHub for any code. Lightroom has its own file structure in the Photos folder. Backups and archives/completed projects on a Synology. The archives are backed up to a Mac Mini with hard drives attached to it. That Mac and those drives get backed up to Backblaze.

Emails: Fastmail. I just the normal Mail app everywhere like a schmuck. Works for me.

Notes: Obsidian, although the whole linking system without structure is not how my brain works. I really just want Ulysses to add links and back links, and maybe checkboxes, because that’s all I need to use their system and organize things the right way for me. So this is in flux. I’m also still looking for a good documentation system for work. Obsidian isn’t working in this regard for me either. Craft might be the answer but I don’t want to pay and regret it later when all the files are stuck in there. Plus, I like plain text a lot. Like, a lot a lot.

Tasks: was Omnifocus, but the beta for v4 feels worse and worse all the time. Currently slowly transitioning to Things. We’ll see if it sticks. In most ways, I much much prefer Things, but I’m losing some flexibility in return for a UI that’s much easier to parse.

Sorry to be a part of necroing this thread, but gosh, this is a good thread.


Is that a term? I like it. I’m not sure what our etiquette is on reviving old threads (and what do we define as old?), but personally think where possible it’s nicer to revive old threads than start new ones if the topics are the same!

Anyway I shall join in this “necroing”, because as you say it’s a good thread!

FILES: DevonThink and iCloud. And I suppose desktop for things I’m temporarily working on (though my desktop syncs to iCloud so does it count as separate?). I have clear rules that define both spaces, so rarely fret about where to save something. Work uses GDrive, so some work things never actually hit my file system (I haven’t downloaded any Google apps and work in browser).

EMAILS: Apple Mail. My work uses Gmail though and I do often open in browser when I’m at my desk - the web version has a couple of functions I can’t easily replicate on Apple Mail (one of which is that branding control is better in GMail and you can use templates.)

I archive historic work email in DevonThink (historic mostly being stuff more than a year old - for personal email I file weekly). The search in Apple Mail is rubbish, so archiving email like this means I can utilise DevonThink’s search function.

NOTES: DevonThink, NotePlan, Apple Notes. NotePlan and Apple Notes are mostly for temporary notes, and I delete or archive in DT as needed.

TASKS: NotePlan, with a little bit of Apple Reminders on the side.

CALENDAR: I’m using both BusyCal and iCal at the moment, and I don’t like it. BusyCal isn’t syncing in real time for me, it stopped a few months ago, and it means I can no longer rely on it to have an up to date calendar. iCal is working correctly, so I leave that open. However, I like the BusyCal reminders, particularly that you can position them wherever you like on screen and set your snooze minutes, so I’m still using it for meeting alerts for the 90% of meetings it decides to sync :roll_eyes: (I need to sort this out, but I’ve lost trust in BusyCal now and haven’t had the headspace to start looking around and setting up a new calendar app.)

As others have mentioned in this thread, my main problem is lack of attendance to my own system, not the apps themselves (except for BusyCal). I am very poor at doing a weekly review.

Most my “across app syncing” is from Google files (for work) to my task manager, so I just copy and paste URLs to files and save them in my task manager. It is one thing I am diligent about (mostly because our filing on GDrive is horrendous at the moment and if I don’t copy a link to a file I need to work on I may never find said file again).

I don’t add links to emails in my task manager or notes, but I link to Slack messages very regularly which I guess is the same thing (I just copy and paste as I go). So I guess what I’m saying is all this behaviour is manual for me. But I like it that way - I used to have Zapier running between Slack, Trello and Todoist and it was far too easy to clog up my inbox with millions of little tasks with no clear action. Doing things manually means I’m thoughtful about writing down what I need to know and thinking through the next steps.