In his essay Atomic Thoughts, Matt Gemmell writes about the atomicity of ideas. The principle of atomicity is a guiding principle for understanding a larger and complicated idea. Its power lies in the fact that it mimics how our mind works. The recommendation for application could be summarised as follows:
This article is structured in two parts. First, I summarize the Building a Second Brain (BASB) method by Tiago Forte. Then, I will compare it to the Zettelkasten Method (ZKM). I will first discuss the differences, because they can help to understand BASB and the ZKM more deeply. Then I will explain how to reconcile BASB and the ZKM. Spoiler: they can be combined perfectly. I have made some changes in my own way of working. I will include these as examples at the end.
The benefits of your Zettelkasten highly depend on the longevity of each note. Since the Zettelkasten as life-long companion and comrade in the battle for and against knowledge is a long-term endeavor, it is crucial that you create notes and structures that will last a long time. The minimum goal should be that they last a lifetime, so they are optimally designed for yourself. Ideally, they last forever, so future generations can benefit from your work as well.
A while ago, I offered free feedback on individual notes to seven people. I did this to showcase the importance of putting effort into individual notes. The ability to write a good single note is one of the main pillars of the Zettelkasten Method. In fact, it is a skill that is universally needed and independent of the Zettelkasten Method.