Workspaces instead of applications

As most of my work I do lives on my computer one of the main things I do is switch applications. When referencing something on the internet and applying it in a editor or copy-pasting an address from a contact to google maps search, most of it is done while switching applications.

For some switches the friction is reduced, for example lookups through or pretty printing some JSON with jq. But oftentimes I find myself lost when I tab wrong once or I end up in a random tab of Chrome that was last open. There are switching costs here and the last month I’ve been thinking on how this might evolve in the future.

Workspaces in Obsidian

One of my applications that serves different purposes is Obsidian, but the one thing that sticks to me is the use of workspaces within Obsidian. It’s best compared with a kind of save-state for the interface, allowing you to configure windows, panels and even notes, save it to a workspace and recall it at a later moment.

You might wonder how this differs from different desktops? Well, the main thing is that all information is still there, without starting another app or switching to one and losing context. So right now I have 4 different kind of workspaces in Obsidian:

1 Main

The main workspace in which I do most of my work, I take my daily notes here and do most of my work in this space. The calendar plugin allows me to quickly switch between dates.


This workspace allows me to organize my contacts which are all stored in the folder 400 Persons. A search panel and tag list allows to easily filter and a local graph let’s me see which other persons are connected.

3 Explore

A big view with the graph, mostly combined with the use of the Journey plugin allows me to explore all the notes in my graph.

4 Process

As I often clip notes and need a space to organize everthing I have a workspace dedicated to this. A workbench embedded note, a panel with linked & unlinked backlinks to notes everything I need to quickly process things..

Future ideas on workspaces

The interesting thing is that each workspace builds upon the same interlinked data, but with a different approach. There’s no switching cost involved if you can do everthing inside the same application. Ofcourse there are still some things I would like to improve upon. Right now every workspace looks the same, it might be nice if you could somehow color-code them!

And each workspace might even have their specific plugins, so the CRM workspace might have something for more easily adding contacts in a good way..

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