I think this entirely depends on your workflow. I am a doctoral student in a theoretical science so my day consists of (1) almost no meetings; and (2) uninterrupted chunks of work with very high concentration (à la Cal Newport’s Deep Work).
I use the Daily Note for the following:
- Planning my day via time-blocking. It’s not perfect, but I often have a good idea of what I’m going to do that day-- the difficulty is how much time it will take. It’s a learning process, I recently switched fields so I’m not as good at time estimates as I once was. I use Obsidian’s Day Planner plugin for this.
- Collecting a summary of what I did that day, questions for my advisor, questions for myself (i.e. stuff I don’t understand) and a broad next actions list to discuss with my advisor.
- Some “Lab Notebook” style notes.
(1) and (2) are self-explanatory, but (3) might seem redundant, why not keep a note for each topic I work on? Well, I do! But a lab notebook needs to be chronological and datestamped, so I use the daily notes to fill that function.
For Example, here’s what a typical note might look like (I just came up with this, they’re usually more complex. The physics is real though!)
(YAML front matter with just tags)
(some navigation stuff)
(links to OmniFocus perspectives)
(Some day planning stuff where my day is broken up into slots and each slot is assigned a task from my OmniFocus Mission Critical perspective)
- Perform spin texture calculations on [[Bi2Te3]]
- Read Section II of [[Fang2013]]
Questions for Advisor
- Why does the Z2 invariant require a smooth gauge across the whole BZ?
- Can I get a new M1 MacBook?
- Revise the proof of A-[[Time-Reversal Invariant Momenta|TRIM]] vs B-TRIM
- Determine the Energy of the Dirac Point w.r.t the Fermi Level
Today, I performed a [[Density Functional Theory|density functional theory]] calculation of [[Bi2Te3|Bi$_2$Te$_3$]] to obtain the [[Spin Textures in DFT|spin textures]]. As shown in the figures below, we see that we have proper spin-momentum locking, as expected, and the [[Dirac Point]] occurs at ==XXX== eV w.r.t. the Fermi level.
Moreover, I took extensive notes on the paper by [[Fang2013|Fang et al.]], namely on Section II regarding the proof of [[Kramers Theorem|Kramers’ degeneracy]] by symmetry.
Now the power of this comes when it’s time for my weekly meeting with my advisor. I have a weekly note that, using
DataViewJS will do the following:
- Creates a table with all the tags from the week’s daily notes, arranged by frequency of occurrence, so I know what topics I worked on the most.
- Collates the “summary”, “questions for advisor”, “lingering questions” and “next actions” lists into one big list for each.
- (To Be Done) Collect all figures from the week’s daily notes into a section of their own
That way, when I work on my weekly PIDoc (principal investigator document, an agenda-like document for meetings with my advisor), I have everything I need in my weekly note! It takes less than 5 minutes to cobble together the PI doc and I’m basically done.
I hope someone finds this helpful, and sorry for the messy writing-- I started writing this at 7 AM