zettelkasten thoughts

2020-07-26 16:40

More thoughts from others on the zettelkasten method:

  1. it’s not a system

Over the years I’ve had plenty of “productivity epiphanies” like when I read David Allen’s “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity” or Charles Duhigg’s “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.” Or when I discovered the bullet journal and the simpler variant, the strikethru system. system design

All these systems feel like they were comprehensive enough to handle organizing life. But I feel like this time is different.

Systems, programs, and man-made constructions in general are static. They are pre-fabricated to fit an intended use. They can become obsolete, ill-suited, or otherwise out-grown. https://zettelkasten.de/posts/no-categories/

Zettelkasten is a set of principles designed not to impose rigid structure, but to adapt over many years of use.

  1. the process of pruning it imposes an evolving structure

Apparently the best way to grow a good zettelkasten is by being quick to add new notes. Structure will resolve itself slowly over time.

As notes begin to reference one another more and more, eventually you will need to create meta-notes to organize them.

In this way it is best to treat tags as specific keywords rather than larger categories. Forming categories at the outset limits exploration and runs counter to the spirit of a non-heirarchial notekeeping web.

In the same way, even though full-text search is awesome, you shouldn’t rely on it too much.

Instead, searching should take the following order of preference:

  1. direct links from note to note

  2. keywords or tags that join notes

  3. full-text searches

  4. creating a zettelkasten helps spot trends

a zettelkasten is like having save-states for your consciousness

By spotting the patterns in how your thinking evolves over time it is easy to transport your headspace back in time to what you were really thinking and feeling in response to something when you originally made the note.

Other thoughts available here