I’m currently using Obsidian as my task/note manager. Most of my challenges with it aren’t related to the software at all. It tracks everything I’ve asked it to track; I just have an overwhelming amount of stuff.
One of the things that’s falling through the cracks though is follow-up on various things that come in via email and are delegated via email. In other words, I’m not in “task mode” - I’m in “replying to email mode”, and it doesn’t take much for these things to fall through the cracks if I get sidetracked.
The “end result” I’m going for is something in Obsidian where I can grab a “people” tag like “Jane Smith” combined with tag “Waiting For”, and it gives me a quick list of everything I’m still waiting for from Jane Smith.
I know I could transcribe summaries into Obsidian, but I frequently have to wind up re-sending emails, quoting previous messages, etc. So I’d ideally like to either have the original email linked up, or a copy/paste of the text.
When I used to use OmniFocus, I remember that Omni’s service included an email address to send to, and there were a collection of scripts from Joe Buhlig that would magically convert various incantations into task descriptions, due dates, etc.
It would be awesome if there were a way I could do something like that (schedule a follow-up for a configurable future date at send time, with message thread attached) without having to jump around and find message IDs, manually copy/paste, etc.
Thinking through this, I could probably theoretically automate this with Keyboard Maestro and a send-time interactive screen that prompted me for names, dates, etc.
This is one of the key reasons why I use Airmail. I have a one-mouseclick “send to Obsidian” automation that ships [the subject line of the email](link to email thread) to a task on my daily note.
It’d be easy to add certain tags to such a thing. Harder but doable would be retrieving the name and such. You could probably even do some date math to set up automatic follow-ups or reminders. Or, as you’ve suggested, you could just throw it all to an Ask For Input for quick confirmation and the like.
I’m sure you could do a lot of this with Mail or Mailmate and macro-automation instead of using Airmail’s Send To Workflow (yes, it is still called that, not Shortcuts).
In Mailmate it looks like I can get the message URL of any given message, but I couldn’t get the URL of the message that I just sent without some serious finagling. I’d get the URL of the message I replied to.
I don’t really use conversation view, so that doesn’t help me nearly as much.
I use a simple, partly automated approach to do the same thing with Noteplan – pretty sure it’s 100% transferable to Obsidian.
I use two keyboard shortcuts in KM; both take a line of text input and both work through NotePlan’s x-callback URLs (including some plugins):
The first adds a new task to an “unsorted” subheading in today’s daily note.
The second adds a new bulleted item to a “log” subheading in today’s daily note.
From there, I can schedule them, move them, sync them to a project note, add detail, link to other notes, tag them, etc. – all manually.
I know I could automate more of it – in fact, I have written many, gloriously complete automations to do all that kind of thing. Then they broke, or I didn’t remember the many keyboard shortcuts, or I didn’t use them because they were too slow (too many options to click or tab through) and I figured I’d get to it later…
For me, simply getting it down – follow up on Project X email to Bob by Oct. 5, replied to so and so at institution Y – is the most important part. I’ve trained myself (pretty well) to check the unsorted-tasks heading periodically, and to fill in missing details in log items by the end of the day (most days).
So it isn’t fully automated, but I actually use it.
Playing around with Obsidian, I can’t seem to figure out a way to put the task in the middle of an existing note. I can append, and I can create new - but “in the middle” is a challenge. @ryanjamurphy, are you just appending?
That said, I can always just make a whole new note with the task and surface it in a different way.