Zettelkasten

The Zettelkasten Method – German Edition

Staying on top is key to manage knowledge and information. It’s important to be quick and have a flexible process you can trust to achieve this.

The Zettelkasten Method is that flexible technique to deal with knowledge in an individual way. You can realize the principles with a few keystrokes without having to learn complex or expensive software.

The Zettelkasten Method is second to none in its power and simplicity. Your Zettelkasten will become the almost invisible helper throughout your day and life.

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Latest Posts

Zettelkasten Live Ep. 5: Automation is Dangerous

In this week’s episode we talked about the dangers of automatization. In short, the computer may help you find stuff, but if you rely on its power 100%, you will end up with a homogenous mush of notes. That’s when we also mentioned Nassim Taleb’s notion of the “barbell method” to antifragilize your life .

Thanks to our long term question asker Mr. Andersen, Sascha demoed branching of notes from two directions: top-down and bottom-up. You can find that in the last 15 minutes or so. (More precise annotations are always welcome in the comments!)

Zettelkasten Live Ep. 4: Structure, Structure, Structure. Bringing Order to Your Archive

In today’s episode we used our crappy English (I don’t know what went wrong today) to talk about misconceptions when using the Zettelkasten: you cannot automate yourself away. The archive always needs an intelligent (!) user to help generate ideas, and you need to take note of them for later retrieval.

Also, Mr. Andersen was with us again and this asked about a proper reading workflow. (Answers about 55mins into the video.) Our response was pragmatic:

  • If you think the text is something you want to refer to as a unit later, create a structure Zettel note that resembles the text’s outline or table of contents.
  • If you only need parts of the text, take what you need and add proper citation. Don’t worry about being thorough for the sake of being thorough.
  • All in all, strict rules like “you always have to create a book note that resembles the book’s structure” don’t take you far. Go with the flow and experiment. Different things works best at different times.

Relevant posts:

A Few Website Changes

I’ve updated this website a bit. Apart from minor visual tweaks (icons!), the highlights include:

  • The navigation now includes other cornerstone pages!
  • There is a new Zettelkasten Live overview with the calendar and important links to watch us talk.
  • I finally added a list of guest posts to highlight the amazing community contributions! The blog archive now also highlights them. This was long overdue, sorry!

Oh, and Sascha and I scheduled the next Zettelkasten Live episode to upcoming Thursday, Feb. 16th, 4:00 p.m. UTC+1! We collected a ton of questions and I don’t know where we’ll start, yet. Thanks for sending your questions to us!

Using Trello as a Zettel Note Archive

If you paid attention to the comments feed of the past couple of months, you will know Nick already. He’s tinkering with interesting plain text stuff – I won’t spoil anything right now; I hope Nick will some day show us the power of plumber, instead. Then just like that he tried out Trello as a Zettelkasten note archive and wrote this amazingly detailed review, including animated GIFs and a sample Trello board to demonstrate what the Trello software can do. This is probably the most detailed post on the entire blog, with more than 50 links and 15 images!

Continue reading…

Zettelkasten Live Ep. 3: Collaboration Using the Method, plus Zettel Extraction Demos

In today’s episode we had a lot of interaction with you, dear readers and listeners and watchers. Thanks for being great! Here are some show highlights:

  • Peter K. asked: How do you use your Zettelkasten setup for collaborative work? (That’s roughly the first 30 minutes.)
  • At 37:45, you see a demo of creating and maintaining structures, based on Tanya’s question: “Can you go over what goes into a single zettel? And also how do you make the Zettels ‘talk’ to each other? How do you manage not to get lost in all the Zettels?”
  • At 1:01:00, you’ll see an epic demo of how to write a long Zettel, then splitting it into multiple notes.
  • Mr. Andersen asked if we have daily Zettelkasten routines. I don’t have any knowledge work routine at the moment, but Sascha reveals his twice-weekly routine (55:00).

We mentioned a few posts along the way:

If you watch the video and find note-worthy topics, drop us a comment on YouTube or in the comment section of this post with the times. (On YouTube, you can type 30:00 to denote “30 mins into the video” and it’ll be clickable by default!)