The Bento Method With Things and Obisidian

Bento boxBento box

A while back I listened to Episode 151 of the Focused podcast. David and Mike had Francesco D’Alessio on, and they discussed Francesco’s new iOS app, Bento.

Francesco has a good overview of the Bento method on Medium, so there’s no need for me to go into detail about it here. The key thing to know is to choose three tasks to focus on: one small, one medium, and one large.

I like the concept, and I might end up giving the methodology (or something close to it) a try. The catch is, I don’t want to buy yet another app just now. (No offense to Bento! It looks gorgeous and is very reasonably priced.)

So how to go about it?

As it happens, I’m already doing something similar in a daily page in Obsidian (though I haven’t been consciously selecting a small, a medium, and a large task —— I’ve just been choosing three). What I’ve found tedious, though, is looking at my task manger (Things 3) each morning, manually selecting three tasks, and then typing (or copying and pasting) them into Obsidian.

Surely, I thought, there must be a better way. And there is!

I checked to see if multiple tasks in Things can be selected and shared to another app via the share sheet on iOS and iPadOS. They can! I then checked to see whether Obsidian can receive these tasks. It can, and it gets better. When you choose Obsidian as the share destination, you’ll be offered some choices: you can insert the tasks into the current note, choose a note to insert them into, or insert them into the daily note. Because Things uses standard Markdown syntax for export, Obsidian even formats them nicely as tasks.

One potential glitch I’m seeing is that Obsidian appends the shared tasks to the end of the daily page, so a daily page template with tasks higher up on the page will need a little rearranging to get the tasks in the right place.

On macOS, unfortunately, Obsidian isn’t available as a sharing destination. It’s still a simple matter to move tasks to an Obsidian note, though. You can either select the tasks in Things and drag them onto the Obsidian note, or select the tasks, copy them, and paste them into Obsidian. Either way, they’ll show up in Obsidian as nicely-formatted tasks.

Because Things supports tagging, it’s a trivial matter to mark each task as small, medium, or large when adding it. Then it’s a simple thing to select one of each from available tasks in Things to send over to the daily page in Obsidian.

While I haven’t yet decided if I’m actually going to try out the Bento method, it’s nice to know that it should be easy to do with tools I already use.

Photo by kofookoo.de on Unsplash

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