Blog Post Archive

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How to Improve Your Zettelkasten by Learning from Athletic Training

May 2023 by Sascha

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.

Why the Single Note Matters

April 2023 by Sascha

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.

Feynman's Darlings – Or: How Anyone Can Become Brilliant

January 2023 by Sascha

You can become brilliant. You just have to be smart and work hard. You asked me if an ordinary person by studying hard would get be able to imagine these things like I imagine. Of course! I was an ordinary person who studied hard. Source


The Archive 3rd Party Macros

December 2022 by Christian

List of macros for 3rd party apps like Keyboard Maestro, Alfred, and other launchers that can enhance your workflows with The Archive.

The Archive is Ready for macOS 13 Ventura

November 2022 by Christian

The Archive is ready for Apple’s latest version of macOS, available since the start of this week. We recommend you wait with upgrading to macOS 13 Ventura until 13.1 comes out, if you haven’t already, because the initial .0 releases often ship with annoyances or bugs that get sorted out in minor updates a couple of weeks later.

How Value is Created in a Zettelkasten (and Any System of Knowledge Work)

August 2022 by Sascha

The first question we need to ask ourselves is: What is value? I propose a simple answer to this question: Valuable is what is useful to us. Let’s look into knowledge on nutrition as an example: Knowing how to eat healthy is not very useful to a lot of people because this knowledge is not put into practice. Most of the time this knowledge is not what is needed. Eating healthy is rather about building habits. Then again, knowledge on healthy nutrition becomes useful when those healthy habits are built.

Field Report #6: The Zettelkasten Method Works for PhD Students Very Well!

August 2022 by Jeannel King (@jeannelking)

This is a guest post by Jeannel King (@jeannelking on our forums), a follow up to her Zettelkasten use in class from 2 years ago. Enjoy! Update now that I’m three years in to my PhD program and am about to start on my lit reviews and dissertation research…

Analog vs. Digital Zettelkasten

August 2022 by Christian

Join Scott Scheper and Sascha in this video as they discuss analog vs. digital Zettelkasten. Among other things, they talk about: Popular Zettelkasten videos and their odd focus on software demonstration.

How to Assess the Strength of Claims in Your Zettelkasten

August 2022 by Sascha

Evaluate how much trust you have in a claim as you process the information. Introducing the Lindy Filter and the Zettelkasten Method Evidence Scale as tools to do this. Your future self will thank you for better backed statements.

The Zettelkasten Method for Fiction Writing

April 2022 by Sascha

The Zettelkasten Method will support your goals relating to both consuming and producing fiction texts. It is designed to create a thinking machine out of your notes you are already making that supports all of your thinking.

Introducing the Antinet Zettelkasten

March 2022 by Scott P. Scheper (@scottscheper)

My goal is twofold: (1) I hope to motivate those who prefer paper-based thinking systems, and (2) I hope to present an alternative perspective for those who use digital Zettelkasten systems. I hope my perspective will add one or two valuable insights you can add to your Zettelkasten workflow (even a digital one).


February 2022 by Christian

Overview of debates and arguments around the topic of 'Folgezettel'.

Field Report #4: I spent six months using a Zettelkasten to write my thesis. Here's what I learned

January 2022 by Caleb Winebrenner (@Sociopoetic)

We users of a Zettelkasten strive for a set of ideals: that we don't only collect knowledge but integrate it and use it in the service of our own knowledge work; that use of a Zettelkasten generates new connections and insights for us in that work (as Luhmann said, as a conversation partner); that our organization of notes allows for clear thinking and organized ideas.


org-roam (Emacs Zettelkasten Package) Version 2 Released

July 2021 by Christian

Last week, free and open source knowledge management package org-roam was updated to version 2. org-roam is an Emacs package (or “plug-in” as we normies would call it) that adds Zettelkasten features to connect small pieces of knowledge.

RE: Backlinks Should Be Context-Rich

July 2021 by Sascha

Jared Gorski wrote a response to my article “Backlinks are bad links”. Since it’s a short and concise response, a re-response is warranted. He summarised my point fairly and sufficiently, so I don’t need to repeat myself here. If you are not familiar, please read the article linked above. I’ll reply to Jared’s post point by point.

Create Image Previews for Your Notes From Links With This Tool

July 2021 by Christian

Stephan Bogner (@st_phan in the forums) shared a neat and free web tool with the community the other day, a link preview generator. It creates image previews of a website from a link. The result is optimized to be embedded into your notes without taking up too much space.

Field Report #2: Lessons Learned From Processing "Team of Rivals"

June 2021 by @boxcariii

My research area is machine learning. My first zettel was created on 02/23/2020 and most of them focus on my research area or research in general. This mostly consists of extra the key ideas in short 4-10 page article. Throughout my life I have read many books, but I remember little about them. For instance, I say books like “The Double Helix” or “The Art of Learning” made a big impact on me, but outside of a few anecdotes, I remember nothing. More than that, I have no notes to go back and refer to. My plan this year was to change this and systematically process any book I read.

Field Report #1: A PhD About Writing with His Zettelkasten

May 2021 by @henrikenggaard

It is not difficult to find articles that herald the benefits of using a Zettelkasten and because of this, a dose of skepticism is perhaps healthy. Do you really get magically productive? Produce world-class research? Uncover secret connections for elevated understanding? Write 10 books spontaneously?

Insert a New Zettel Where You Are with Will's Macro

May 2021 by Christian

Forum legend @Will showcased another Keyboard Maestro macro this week that does a particularly interesting thing: from anywhere you are in your web of notes, his macro ties a new Zettel into the web.

Use Case: Investing with the Zettelkasten Method

March 2021 by Sascha

I am not an investment professional. I do invest in stock and some other assets to create passive income through dividends and to build a safety net. I don’t make the time-commitment for in-depth research. I merely want to avoid dumb decisions.

The Archive: 3rd Anniversary

March 2021 by Christian

To celebrate the 3rd anniversary, everyone who bought the app can claim 1 additional free license!

Chinese Introduction to the Zettelkasten Method

January 2021 by Christian

Someone recently reached out to us and sent us a Chinese translation of the Introduction to the Zettelkasten Method: This generous person is Zhixiang Cai, Ph.D in Oil and Gas Well Engineering. He is a programmer and loves knowledge management and did an amazing job translating the article. We happily publish the translation on our page, so check it out!


How to Use Tabs in The Archive

November 2020 by Sascha

The Archive allows you to open multiple tabs for individual contexts. Here’s a presentation of how you can use tabs to have multiple workspaces, each with a different focus.

First Teaser for the Second Edition of the Zettelkasten Method Book

November 2020 by Sascha

This little snippet is from the section One Sentence Summary in the chapter How to Write Good Notes. You will read from other sources that a Zettelkasten is idiosyncratic. It can hardly be understood by another person. The reasoning is that you write in your own Zettelkasten in such a way that only you can really understand. But the thought of the future self does not allow such a weak position: You are not yet who you will become. The future self is someone other than oneself. Technically, we always write for someone other than ourselves. It is difficult to be understood – even by yourself. If you write in such a way that you can be understood by as many other people as possible, there is a high probability that you will understand yourself later, too. In the span of two decades we all (hopefully) develop considerably. We are not just a little bit different. We are (hopefully) a completely different person. Arrange your Zettelkasten in such a way that anyone could operate it.

The Archive v1.5.7

October 2020 by Christian

Today, v1.5.7 of The Archive is available on the “Cutting Edge” update channel. It’ll become available on the regular, stable, “Release” channel in about a week.

Leave Breadcrumbs on Bookmarks for Your Future Self

October 2020 by Sascha

A little trick from my desk: You can rarely process a book in one session. The question is how to continue from where you stopped the next time you pick up the book. If you use a slip card as a bookmark, there is a neat solution for you: Just write a hint on the slip card.

Alfred Macro Collection for The Archive

October 2020 by Christian

Paul Ryley (@pryley on the forums) whipped up an amazing Alfred macro collection for The Archive. – Huuuuge thanks go out to Paul for taking the time to working with The Archive better for Alfred users!

Welcome Visitors from Jooble!

October 2020 by Christian

Jooble, the job search portal, kindly reached out and offered to feature our site on their page. According to Wikipedia and their references, “Jooble is in the top 1000 most visited sites in the world” and “the second most visited job search site”.

PhD Student Reporting What It's Like to Use a Zettelkasten for Classes

September 2020 by @jeannelking

This is a recent highlight from the forums: Jeannel King reported how the Zettelkasten Method and preparing for a PhD at university work together. This is the first semester where I’m using my Zettelkasten for my courses (PhD program in humanistic psychology, creativity studies specialization). Now that I’ve got some reps under my belt, here’s how it’s working so far:

Don't Dehorsify the Horse

September 2020 by Sascha

The Zettelkasten Method seems to get more and more popular. With popularity of methods there always comes a problem: Overzealous Orthodoxy. Some people, for various reasons, try to state what a Zettelkasten is and what not.

Video Demo: TextMate as a Zettelkasten App

August 2020 by Christian

TextMate is a free, open-source macOS text editor that we mention on this site since forever. It is also damn good at navigating files in a big folder. So it’s a good alternative to dedicated Zettelkasten software.

Baker and Me -- Joe Pairman Uncovers Universal Principles

August 2020 by Sascha

I’d like to highlight this article by Joe Pairman: Take notes as online help for your creative future self. The rare feature of this article is that Joe is extracting universal principles by comparing one of my articles with ideas of Mark Baker from Every Page is Page One. (Affiliate link.)

Zettelkasten Method Online Video Course Announcement

June 2020 by Christian

The online course is getting real. We’re very far with the preparations for the first recordings, so now’s a good time to start telling you more about it. The first step is to prepare our course page, so there you go.

Zettelkasten Chatrooms

May 2020 by Christian

Ever wanted to quickly bounce off ideas, get to know the people from the Zettelkasten community better, and hang out with knowledge nerds? There’s now chat rooms for that!

The Archive Turns 2 Years Old

March 2020 by Christian

The dominating topic of this month is COVID-19. Nevertheless, The Archive is celebrating. We don’t let pessimism grip us and carry on. Last week, on March 15th, was The Archive’s 2nd anniversary. Just like we’re all supposed to not celebrate big birthday parties or gather for festivities in general, this year’s app anniversary is toned way down as well. Here’s to what has happened in the past year.

Make [[WikiLinks]] Clickable in Marked 2

March 2020 by Christian

In the forums, @mjknight shared a Marked 2 preprocessor script that you can use to transform non-standard [[wiki link]] to become regular Markdown links that you can click on.


Beginnings of Bryan Kam's Zettelkasten Journey

November 2019 by Christian

Bryan Kam wrote two posts about his embarking on a Zettelkasten journey in recent months. Especially if you’re getting started, posts like his can be a nice place to get inspiration and a feel for the early days.

David Epstein: "Range" - Book Processing Ep 01

September 2019 by Christian

The episode is live! Please comment in the forums; we’d like to know what you think of the format. Sascha’s discussion starter, repeated here so you know the context when you comment below:

Some Q&A on the Zettelkasten Method and Student Life

September 2019 by Sascha

@diogenes, a student of philosophy, psychology and history in Vienna, asked some questions on the forum. I’d like to elaborate a bit on that. There will be specific use cases for the Zettelkasten Method. The method itself is a meta method of knowledge work. It translates what we understand of knowledge acquisition into basic actions that can be incorporated into any (knowledge work) workflow. Here, I will show a couple of applications to a more specific case.

The Zettelkasten as a Lattice of Thought Strings

September 2019 by @gescho

Please welcome Gerrit Scholle, aka gescho from the forums! Gerrit kindly took the time to write up his recent thoughts as a self-contained blog post, with colored pencil drawings and all! Enjoy.

Trust the Process

August 2019 by @nickmilo22

This is a recent highlight from the forums. Nick Milo posted this the other day; we’d like to feature his essay on the blog so you don’t miss it. The following is a verbatim copy of his forum post, plus a link to @daneb’s post that @nickmilo22 added for context.

The Archive (v1.4) Introduces Multi-Tabbing

August 2019 by Christian

We’d like to introduce to you the latest update to The Archive. It comes with multiple tabs and windows! You can now search for different things in different windows without losing the context of your previous work.

The Archive (v1.3.0) Browser Navigation

June 2019 by Christian

We’re proud to announce the latest big update to The Archive! It adds browser-like navigation, so you can get back to the results of an old search quickly.

Breadcrumbs in Your Archive

May 2019 by Christian

Here’s today’s fun story. Sascha asks me if I remember the connection between an author (Heinrich von Kleist) and a concept (Maieutics). I hesitate a bit but then agree: yes, it’s his concept. The association feels just so familiar.

Three Layers of Evidence

May 2019 by Sascha

In a Zettelkasten – if done correctly – there will emerge layers of evidence. These layers represent the necessary processing steps from data to knowledge. It is very rare that raw data is put into the archive. You can do it. But normally, you will process the data outside your archive. So I will ignore this possibility. The three layers are:

Zettelkasten and Personal Knowledge Management for Business Founders

March 2019 by Christian

André Chaperon got in touch and told us how much he loves The Archive and the Zettelkasten Method – and then went on to summarize the gist of the method and app usage for his fellowship of small business owners. His process includes paper-based notes, which are taken in a leisurely manner, meant to be thrown away later manner, and ends with Tinderbox-based visualizations to get an overview. With all the “Getting Started” links and helpful details, this is a great resource to get started. Read “How to create Idea Babies: A Knowledge Processing System for Marketers, Creators, and Knowledge Workers”.

The Archive Turns 1 Year Old!

March 2019 by Christian

This day a year ago, The Archive became publicly available for sale! To celebrate, we chopped 50% off of the regular price for 5 days. You can now also purchase a license for a friend, colleague, family member, or your favorite pet by using the new Gift Purchase option in our store.

Using The Archive to Teach Music

March 2019 by Christian

Dr. Christopher Foley is a piano teacher based in Toronto, Canada. He set up The Archive to write, send, and curate lesson notes for his piano students. Read “How I Use The Archive and My Music Staff to Create Engaging Lesson Notes”.

iA Writer as a Zettelkasten Note Archive

January 2019 by Christian

Lorenzo wrote an article about how to use iA Writer for macOS as your Zettelkasten note archive. Apparently, iA Writer has a sufficiently quick search for large archives (10,000 notes big, in fact), which surprises me.

Zettelkasten & The Archive at The Appademic

January 2019 by Christian

Jai of The Appademic wrote a blog post about The Archive and the Zettelkasten Method in combination, how The Archive superseded nvALT for him, and how he found the Zettelkasten Method to go with minimalism and portability of data.


Zettelkasten Method and Tinderbox (macOS)

December 2018 by Christian

Beck Tench recorded 45min worth of inspiring “Literature Review” video showing her current workflow with a Bullet Journal and the app Tinderbox for Mac to implement the Zettelkasten Method.

1Writer 2.9.1 Adds [[Wiki Links]]

November 2018 by Christian

When people ask me, “Christian, what’s the best Zettelkasten Method-compatible app on iPads and iPhones?”, I always tell them about 1Writer. Its search is good. It syncs files with a ton of services. It handles #hashtags.

Sascha and Christian Talk about Structure in a Zettelkasten on MacMittwoch (German Podcast)

October 2018 by Christian

In the nearby town of Paderborn, there’s a community-organized meetup called “MacMittwoch” (literal translation: “MacWednesday” – guess when they meet :)). These fine folks produce a podcast, too, and their Farid Mésbahi and Gordon Möller visited Sascha and me in Bielefeld for a very nice chat. The result is Episode 15: Der Zettelkasten.

The Difference Between Good and Bad Tags

September 2018 by Sascha

When I search in my archive for the tag #diet I get really annoying results. I don’t only get notes on diet. I get notes on carbohydrates, insulin sensitivity and many other. “Why is that a problem?”, you might ask. “All the above topics are relevant for diet, aren’t they?” No, and here is why.

The Barbell Method of Reading

May 2018 by Sascha

Our reading habit is one of the corner stones of our knowledge work habits. Reading is the most efficient way to create an influx of information that can transform into knowledge. Therefore, we should devote some thought and energy in the optimization of our reading habits.

Sascha and Christian talk about All Things Zettelkasten at Der Ubercast (German Podcast)

May 2018 by Christian

We were invited to join Patrick Welker of rocketink.net and Andreas Zeitler aka Zettt of the German Podcast Der Ubercast to introduce our Zettelkasten Method to their audience and talk a bit about The Archive. Sascha explains a lot of the thinking behind IDs, structure, and why plain text is just the best. Thanks for having us, folks!

A Tale of Complexity – Structural Layers in Note Taking

March 2018 by Sascha

A Zettelkasten is neither a neatly structured filing system for notes easy to access nor a turmoil deep sea generating ideas out of the ununderstandable chaos. There are three layers in my archive which emerged from the years of working with the Zettelkasten Method. I didn’t plan them in advance. It rather was an organic process.

The Archive Has Arrived.

March 2018 by Christian

The definitive note-taking app for heroic authors and prolific writers is here. Download and enjoy.

The Archive: Available March 15th

March 2018 by Christian

We plan to release The Archive on Thursday, March 15th, early in the day in UTC. So if you wake up anywhere in the U.S. that day and the sun is up, it should be online.

What are Buffer Notes?

January 2018 by Sascha

A buffer note is a note that is like a specific container of notes that you will use later. They buffer the gap between note production and assignment of notes to projects. I came up with these kind of notes when I had written a couple of books but still wrote more about the same topic and was sure that I would be making a second edition.

Another Win for the Zettelkasten Method

January 2018 by Sascha

Hello dear knowledge workers, I just want to announce another win for the Zettelkasten Method. I successfully published a new book, called Lebenswandel: Reflexion und Analyse. In English, it should be translated to “Way of Living: Reflection and Analysis”. It is a very comprehensive overview on designing and thinking properly about one’s lifestyle. Here is a rough translation of the blurb:


The Next Edition of the Zettelkasten Method Book

November 2017 by Sascha

Hi folks, I just want to announce that the first rough draft of the second edition of the book is ready. I wrote it completely from scratch and added a lot of learned lessons by myself and through the communication with other knowledge workers.

Reference Manager JabRef 4 Released

November 2017 by Christian

I just noticed that the developers of JabRef released version 4 in October. JabRef is still our go-to recommendation when it comes to cross-platform reference management. The BibTeX support is great, and with BibTeX + MultiMarkdown you have an open source publishing toolchain at your fingertips. (On macOS, BibDesk is still our favorite, but JabRef is a close second even there.) Note that JabRef requires Java 1.8+ to run.

Sublime Text 3 Zettelkasten Plugin

November 2017 by Christian

Rene from the forums did publish a Sublime Text 3 Zettelkasten plugin for better note-taking with Sublime. (See the discussion there.) The plugin features:

Overview Notes and Clickable Links

October 2017 by Christian

Sascha created a short video (sub 4min) about the usefulness of a little feature: clicking on stuff to change the search. Once you design your workflow to center around search terms, search shortcuts become super powerful.

Maybe Sublime Text Works Well for a Zettelkasten

September 2017 by Christian

Forum user Chris wrote a blog post with a dozen assorted things, including cool features that make Sublime Text a good fit for the Zettelkasten Method. I did not know you cannot print from Sublime, that sure came as a surprise.

Come and Visit the New Forum

August 2017 by Christian

Folks, the time has come to open the private forum to the public! We were using it during the beta of The Archive until today and it seems to work. I’m still experimenting with the design, but it’s a start. There still is a hidden sub-forum for us to work on The Archive behind the curtains, but now we’ve added more useful categories and opened up registration.

Christian's Impressions of Sascha's Book's 2nd Edition

July 2017 by Christian

I finished reading and commenting Sascha’s manuscript for the 2nd version of the Zettelkasten Method book. Here’re a few first impressions and why I’m excited to get a hold on the next draft.

The Next Edition of the Zettelkasten Method

June 2017 by Sascha

Hi folks, I just want to announce that the first rough draft of the second edition of the book is ready. I rewrote it completely and added a lot of the lessons I learned on my own and through the communication with other knowledge workers.

Book Processing Workflow (Video)

June 2017 by Christian

Today, Sascha talks about his workflow of processing books. The demonstration is supposed to highlight the power of a useful search – in opposition to overly fancy software features. At about minute 22:00, Sascha also demonstrates using The Archive for this in all its buggy glory.

The Archive App – Why We Chose the nv-Core

May 2017 by Christian

In this video, Sascha talks about the “nv-Core” – that’s our secret name for the kind of interaction facilitated by famous Notational Velocity, and made even more accessible thanks to the nvALT variant we are raving about for years on this blog.

The Archive App – Introduction to the Introduction

May 2017 by Christian

Sascha is preparing a video series showcasing the unique features of our app The Archive. Here’s the intro: Remember that we follow a “software-agnostic approach”. That means our app will be great, but it will still be replaceable. Because we don’t want to lock people in with things they couldn’t do by any other means. The workflow and the method are important, not the tools!

Is Bear for macOS a Zettelkasten Archive Fit?

May 2017 by Christian

I spent a few minutes importing a copy of my archive into Bear, a note-taking app for macOS. Bear seems to be popular at least because of its clean look. This is by no means a review, just a first glance at the app.

No Beta Invitation Video Today ☹️

May 2017 by Christian

I screwed up with my schedule and put a “Beta Invitation” video entry in our Zettelkasten Live calendar. Sorry, folks, that’ll not take place today! Instead, we’ll upload a not-live video in the upcoming days.

Writing Links

April 2017 by Christian

Been sifting through my blog subscriptions today for a while an found a few articles I ended up liking: “How I self-published a book, sold 180,000 copies & 2X’d revenue” – I don’t like the character of “imitate this formula and double/triple/… your income”; the numbers in the post title are easily revealed to be click baits. But the article is huge, and it has some real-world numbers about self-publishing with a team of professional editors, designers, etc. Worth the read, but don’t you get lost in dreaming!

The Archive (Mac app) Beta Invitation

April 2017 by Christian

Folks, the time has come to reveal THE ARCHIVE – our very own app for knowledge work. It’s not just another note-taking app; you can get note-taking solutions anywhere. It’s an app for productive knowledge work, built with a software-agnostic approach in mind.

Displaying Flow Charts in nvALT's Preview Window Using Mermaid.js

April 2017 by Christian

nvALT’s Markdown preview uses a browser to display HTML output of your note. That enables you to include a lot of modern web technology in your note previews. Mermaid is such a thing: it’s a JavaScript library that renders flow charts from plain text graph definitions.

Zettelkasten Live Ep. 7: Visualizing Branching Off in your Archive

April 2017 by Christian

In this week’s episode, Sascha pulled out the digital pen and visualizes the notes from the archive that grew over the past couple of episodes. You’ll see how local structures turn into entry points of new topics and how note sequences (“Folgezettel”) can be created from a messy start.

Note Archive for Music?

April 2017 by Christian

Reader Kekeli reached out via e-mail a while ago and told us about an interesting problem: how do you organize, annotate, and file audio files? This must be a problem similar to organizing video footage. In other words, it must be a problem that’s been solved at least once over the years for DJs.

Zettelkasten Live Ep. 5: Automation is Dangerous

March 2017 by Christian

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 .

A Few Website Changes

February 2017 by Christian

I’ve updated this website a bit. Apart from minor visual tweaks (icons!), the highlights include: The navigation now includes other cornerstone pages!

Using Trello as a Zettel Note Archive

January 2017 by Nick

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.

Next Zettelkasten Live Episode Today

January 2017 by Christian

We’ll be on air today – Thursday, January 12th, 3:00 p.m. UTC. Go to our live stream page on YouTube to see the countdown and localized times. I have to get this “Live” page up here, soon, so all of you can see the calendar with ease.


Zettelkasten Live Ep. 2: Limits of our Zettelkasten Archives

December 2016 by Christian

In this episode, we respond to Peter’s question: What do we not put into our archives? Here are a few links for stuff we discussed in the video. Christian’s inspiration for note meta-categories back in the day made him include diary entries. Now they’re out.

Reader Question: Why Not Use a Plain-Text Wiki?

December 2016 by Christian

Sujith Abraham asks on YouTube: Why did you choose nvALT, where you have to create manual links so that you can search and find which other notes ‘backlinks’ to other notes, instead of a wiki (like DokuWiki, Tiddlywiki) where this would be provided automatically along with the benefit of plain-text writing/storage.

This Week's Episode Will be Delayed Until Next Week

December 2016 by Christian

Sorry, folks, but this week’s episode recording didn’t take place. On Wednesday night I was struck hard by spontaneous and annoying bowel-emptying and I still couldn’t think straight when the scheduled recording would have taken place. I’m feeling a lot better already and we’ll try again next Thursday, Dec. 15th, same time: 16:00 UTC+01.

Next Zettelkasten Live Episode on Thursday

December 2016 by Christian

We’ll be on air this Thursday, 3:00 p.m. UTC. Go to our live stream page on YouTube to see the countdown and localized times. You’re all welcome to chat with us there on Thursday or leave questions here in advance if you can’t make it.

The Money Is in the Hubs: Johannes Schmidt on Luhmann’s Zettelkasten

November 2016 by Sascha

Johannes Schmidt gave an awesome lecture but most of you don’t understand German. So I thought I’d give you a quick flash of my notes of some points that I found most important. Keep in mind that this is not a comprehensive overview. Some points are left out or presented with the intention to be more relevant but as a result can be biased.

Zettelkasten Live: the Intro Video

November 2016 by Christian

Hello dear friends of knowledge work and knowledge management! – Today we’re thrilled to tell you that our video experiments did bear fruit. We hereby announce the Zettelkasten Live channel.

How to Not Get Lost in a Book

September 2016 by Sascha

I am a huge proponent of not having any overview. The reason for that is the self-selective nature of the need for an overview. The need for a reasonable amount of overview can become a fetish which not only is not only unnecessary but even harmful for your productivity and creativity.

Where Should My Writing Ideas Go?

July 2016 by Christian

I managed my writing ideas in a to-do list for years. Since I follow the principles of the Getting Things Done methodology, a book idea was the perfect candidate for a “someday/maybe” project. That’s a project which you can prepare with anything from the top of your head without much real planning. You don’t have to follow-up on it anytime soon if you don’t want and thus defer taking any action until later. You can have ideas now and execute them later, whenever you wish.

Luhmann's Essays on Writing and Using a Zettelkasten are Back Online

July 2016 by Christian

After the scriptogr.am shutdown a while ago, Manfred Kuehn’s translations of Luhmann’s essays on note-taking and reading were gone. Today I found out that “Communicating with Slip Boxes” (which is about a Zettelkasten) and “Learning how to Read” can be found online again at http://luhmann.surge.sh.

Nassim Taleb would love the Zettelkasten Method

June 2016 by Sascha

In my opinion, Nassim Taleb’s most important idea is the concept of Antifragility. Here is his three-concept-model: Fragile means that something doesn’t like volatility and variability. In short: It doesn’t like to be touched. If you send something fragile via mail you write fragile on it so to say: Do as little as possible with it.

Fixed Links

May 2016 by Christian

I fixed a few broken links on this site, both outgoing and between blog posts. To that end I re-read a few of the older pieces on this site. Check out these goldies:

When Should You Start a New Note?

April 2016 by Christian

Say you start with a fresh Zettelkasten or you learn more about an existing topic. You write your note and expand the text – and then you ask yourself this: should I create a new Zettel? Should I split this up? Can I attach this detail there?

Reading for the Zettelkasten Is Searching

March 2016 by Sascha

If you work with the Zettelkasten Method you have to deal with a lot of reading. It is obvious that it is often not very obvious what to include into your archive and what not.

Tag Pages Fixed

March 2016 by Christian

I noticed that none of the tag indexes did show articles. Today I fixed this, so you can browse all tags like you should.

Your First Note – Don't Overthink It

February 2016 by Christian

The Zettelkasten note archive is the storage of your knowledge. The Zettelkasten Method is an ideation tool, though. Using your Zettelkasten should help remember stuff and spark new ideas which will be stored as Zettel notes again. This process is fruitful and potentially never-ending. All that sounds nice, but naturally you have to start somewhere. How do you start working with your Zettelkasten? What’s the best first note?

Fake Progress

February 2016 by Christian

With the help of intentions and promises, he maintains the honest impression that he is moving toward the good, yet all the while he moves farther and farther away from it. —Søren Kierkegaard

First Draft from Outline – a Compiler Script

January 2016 by Christian

Last week I completed a script to help automate the process of compiling a first draft from an outline and Zettel notes. You can find it on GitHub or install it as a gem from the terminal: gem install zettel_outline. Learn more about the format it supports and how you can adopt it to your Zettelkasten note archive.

Why Luhmann Had to Start a Second Zettelkasten

January 2016 by Sascha

If you are familiar with the latest research on Luhmann’s original Zettelkasten you already know that his first Zettelkasten is not lost. That’s right: he had two archives over the years. Somehow, a rumor did arise that he lost his first Zettelkasten. It was said that he had to start a new one because of that.


OneNote Review

December 2015 by DutchPete

Today DutchPete, one of the most avid commenters on this blog, will help us fill the gap in software reviews for Windows by talking about OneNote as a Zettelkasten note archive. OneNote is part of the Microsoft Office family and thus available for a lot of different platforms, too, so this is not strictly speaking a PC-centered review. Now let’s see which conventions and techniques make DutchPete productive.

Different Kinds of Ties Between Notes

November 2015 by Christian

After the awesome discussion of Sascha’s latest blog post, I meditated about all the different kinds of ties between notes. Here’s what I came up with.

Zettelkasten Method in Robert Pirsig's Lila

November 2015 by Christian

Ever wanted to get a feeling for a paper-based Zettelkasten? Here’s a quote or two of Robert Pirsig’s novel Lila, discovered thanks to Eurobubba: Because he didn’t pre-judge the fittingness of new ideas or try to put them in order but just let them flow in, these ideas sometimes came in so fat he couldn’t write them down quickly enough. The subject matter, a whole metaphysics, was so enormous the flow had turned into an avalanche.

Minimal Writing on the Mac ebook

November 2015 by Christian

After Sascha’s great release of the Zettelkasten book, here’s a short e-book from yours truly. It’s a pragmatic guide to get to know the really essential tools for any writer. It’s called Minimal Writing on the Mac.

Daniel's Follow-Up About Folgezettel

November 2015 by Christian

In response to Sascha’s post about Folgezettel, Daniel published a reaction which was intended to clarify some misunderstandings. Turns out that even after that post and 52 comments, it’s not quite clear where all of us seem to disagree.

No, Luhmann Was Not About Folgezettel

October 2015 by Sascha

I follow a principle that Ido Portal put nicely into words: Principles are higher than techniques. Principles produce techniques in an instant. —Ido Portal

Why You Should Set Links Manually and Not Rely on Search Alone

October 2015 by Christian

In the age of lightning fast full-text search, what are links in the archive of your notes good for? In short, search queries are deterministic means to get to Zettel notes: they produce the same results every time. Links are hand-picked references. The idea that makes you create a link is unique, and so is the resulting link. It’s much more personal and thus better suited to help you think.

Tinderbox Principles

September 2015 by Christian

These are very sound principles, a selection of the ones by Micah Joel: Don’t throw anything away. Focus on making it easy to store things. Let emergence happen.

Listen to Schopenhauer: Reading Is Only Part of Becoming a Thinker

September 2015 by Christian

Found this nice piece on Farnam Street on Schopenhauer and writing. In it, Shane cites Schopenhauer thusly: When we read, another person thinks for us: we merely repeat his mental process. It is the same as the pupil, in learning to write, following with his pen the lines that have been pencilled by the teacher. Accordingly, in reading, the work of thinking is, for the greater part, done for us.

4 Use Cases to Determine What a Zettel Should Be

September 2015 by Sascha

Let’s go really basic: What is a Zettel? A Zettel is a note that is part of the archive of your Zettelkasten. You create it to contain knowledge for later use. The answer to “How do I compose a Zettel?” is simple:

Keeping a Study Log and Extracting Zettel Notes From It

August 2015 by Christian

Dan Sheffler, who you might know for his valuable comments on this site already, has an interesting workflow: first, he captures ideas in a study log while reading; then, he picks the gems and writes Zettel notes later.

Getting Started Series

July 2015 by Christian

Update 2020-10-27: If you’re new to the whole Zettelkasten thing, check out our Introduction to the Zettelkasten Method! With today’s post on how many Zettelkästen you should have, I have started to collect posts specifically made to get started with the method.

Should You Have One Zettelkasten or Many?

July 2015 by Christian

When you start with a Zettelkasten, you may feel hindered by the plethora of options. Paper or computer? Which application should I choose? Which categories should I create? (Hint: none) How many archives do I need for my projects?

Take Notes on Paper (but Write at Your Computer)

July 2015 by Christian

I a recent radio interview, psychology graduate student Pam Mueller told the audience that taking notes of meetings or during class on your computer is a bad idea. You forget the things faster.

Dominique Renauld on Fond Memories of Working on Paper

July 2015 by Christian

Dominique Renauld remembers when he was a student and worked exclusively with paper notes. He was fond of Roland Barthes and grew even fonder of Arno Schmidt – both avid Zettelkasten users.

Second draft of the Zettelkasten Method Book ready!

July 2015 by Sascha

Hi folks, I am very happy to announce that the second draft of the German Zettelkasten Method book is ready to get revised by Christian. I included extensive advice on productivity as a last chapter.

Challenge Report: Writing a Term Paper with Evernote as Zettel Archive

June 2015 by Christian

I’ve made a lot of progress using Evernote for my term paper. As announced, I want to share the progress with you so you can see how things develop. Turns out, Evernote doesn’t offer publicizing of notebooks any more. Bummer. So I want to do two things today: share the details of the progress and invite you to the notebook privately.

My Morning Routine and Some Thoughts on a Holistic Approach

June 2015 by Sascha

Christian told you how a morning routine can improve your productivity already. Now, it is my turn to show you my morning routine. I begin with its development but will end with the connection to productivity and the Zettelkasten Method. So, hang on!

App SummerFest 2015: 25% Off of Mac Apps and Scrivener

June 2015 by Christian

We’ve covered DEVONthink (Mac) already, and some of you may also be familiar with the very popular app for Mac and Windows, Scrivener. These, among other writing and knowledge management apps, are currently at a 25% discount.

Take Reading Notes – A Reminder

June 2015 by Christian

Here’s a reminder why making marks in books alone isn’t such a good idea: they are hard to interpret. Margins are too narrow for notes. So write reading notes on index cards or in notebooks.

Tasks and Goals of my Daily Review

June 2015 by Christian

I forgot to share my repeating maintenance tasks with you! Yesterday, I wrote about my morning routine. It helps me clear my mind and to surface my anxieties. I feel a lot better afterwards – less clouded, less sub-consciously driven.

How a Daily Review Routine Improved My Life and Work

June 2015 by Christian

I have picked up a habit which improves my well-being and helps me focus on the important parts in my life. It’s a daily review habit. I have tried to install this habit a few years ago already but failed miserably. A huge factor for my success in sticking to this habit is that I have a working morning ritual installed already. With the existing routine as a foundation, I simply had to attach this small habit and things were good.

On Using Intratextual Tags

June 2015 by Sascha

Some of you guys asked for more practical articles about the Zettelkasten Method. So here we go. I use two different tags: some are in the header and some are right in the text body. Here is an example Zettel about the problematic implications of a materialistic view on the human mind.

Jump to Headings in 1Writer

May 2015 by Christian

Recently, I wrote about the awesome iPhone and iPad writing app 1Writer. I use it to browse my Zettelkasten when I’m not at home. I also mentioned a few things I missed: recent file access and either a full-text search or quickly jumping to a heading in longer documents.

Publicizing my Challenge Contribution – Plan of the Term Paper

May 2015 by Christian

I had a great idea this weekend: for the ongoing challenge I started last summer, I’ll take notes in a public Evernote notebook. Of course I will feed my real Zettelkasten note archive with everything I find, but additionally, I’ll put a translated note into Evernote. This way, I’ll end up with a project-focused Zettelkasten, as opposed to my all-encompassing private knowledge management archive, so we can discuss details of the workflow with that sample archive in the future.

Why Categories for Your Note Archive are a Bad Idea

May 2015 by Christian

A friend of mine recently asked for help with getting started. It was very hard for him to overcome initial uncertainty: how do you know you’re sufficiently prepared to start filling your note archive? Which categories should you prepare before you begin?

RSS Feed Reading and Filing -- Automatization on Mac and iOS

May 2015 by Christian

Among the items I wanted to process for a while was Patrick Welker’s “How I Handle my RSS Queue on the Mac and iOS”. He automatted away a lot of the steps you’d usually need to perform when you skim through your list of RSS subscription items and want to file away some of the posts you find interesting.

1Writer — Access Your Zettelkasten On Your iPad and iPhone

May 2015 by Christian

My MacBook isn’t going to recover, so I switched to an iPad for mobile writing and development. I found the one and ultimate application to access my Zettelkasten note archive on the go, while also being able to write long-form blog posts or proof-read texts from Sascha.

Announcing: the First Draft of the Zettelkasten Method Book in German

April 2015 by Sascha

Hi folks, I am happy to announce that I finished the first draft of the Zettelkasten Method Book in German. It turned out to be shorter than I thought. At this moment, I have no clue what the word count is, but did turn out not to be the behemoth I expected it to be.

Publish Iteratively

April 2015 by Christian

What if you could publish iteratively, bit by bit, at each step gathering feedback from your readers and refining the text. Would our writing be better? Iteration in public is a principle of nearly all good product design; you release a version, then see how people use it, then revise and release again. […] The faster the release cycle, the more opportunities for revision—and, often, the better the product itself. —“Deploy” by Mandy Brown

You Don't Need a Wiki – Being Content with Your Software

March 2015 by Christian

Manfred has left a comment on his blog about my criteria to review apps a while ago. This made me reflect on the importance of note connections and their role in being a successful learner, whatever that means.

Eco's 'How to Write a Thesis' Available in English

March 2015 by Christian

Finally, after being in print for 38 years in other languages, How to Write a Thesis by Umberto Eco is now available in English! I have mentioned the German translation of Eco’s book in the past already (in “Collector’s Fallacy” and “Making Proper Marks in Books”). From his book did I learn that not all Zettel are created equal. If you worked solely with index cards in the 70s, all this mattered a lot.

Old Posts Moved to This Blog

March 2015 by Christian

Have a look at the post archive: I moved 28 Zettelkasten-related posts from my personal domain to this blog, dating back to as far as 2013! The comments have moved as well, of course, so you can still participate in the discussion. I even enabled comments on older posts which previously had not, like the very first post.

My Collector's Fallacy Confession

March 2015 by Christian

Last week, I found out how large my backlog of unassimilated information really is. (Spoiler: it is huge.) Sascha and I share a small apartment and recently re-arranged some furniture. Both of us had to empty our bookshelves so we could move the furniture around. Only a week later did I finish actually reordering the books and using my bookshelf again.

Use a Real Notebook

February 2015 by Sascha

Considering the tech-heavy approach to knowledge work most people advocate nowadays, the imperative to use a real notebook may sound a little bit strange.

4 Months In

January 2015 by Christian

The blog is live for four months now. For us, a lot has changed in the meantime. Personally, but also professionally. We have new projects in the making, and we’ve created and prepared new stuff to share on this platform.

How to Write a Note That You Will Actually Understand

January 2015 by Sascha

If you not only take notes but also edit them before you put them into you archive (hopefully a Zettelkasten), you will save energy and time, and preserve sanity. It will also enhance the clarity of your writing in general.


Curio (Mac) 30% Off Until Dec 28th 2014

December 2014 by Christian

Curio is a popular all-purpose digital notebook application for Mac. Currently, it’s 30% off, so it’s for sale for $34.99 instead of $69.99 until Dec 28th.

Getting Started with DEVONthink 2

December 2014 by Christian

Just now, a few days after publishing Marko’s article on DEVONthink as a Zettelkasten archive, did I stumble upon Christopher Mayo’s excellent collection of DEVONthink resources.

Getting Up to Speed with Reading about Evernote

December 2014 by Christian

Recently, I found some Evernote related posts which seem to be the Universe’s hint that I should please finally install Evernote and try to make a Zettelkasten from it.

DEVONthink as a Zettelkasten Note Archive

December 2014 by Marko Wenzel

Today we host our good friend Marko as he tells us of the basic note-taking capabilities of DEVONthink and its appliance to the Zettelkasten method. The Zettelkasten method propagates heavy use of the note archive, stuffed with your own interpretations of things you have learned. The user we have in mind usually is a student of humanities, reading a lot and writing a lot. DEVONthink is capable of doing far more than managing notes, though. It can also in part replace a reference manager. Or you may benefit from its ability to deal with large amounts of files when it comes to seeking similarities in original sources. This can become really interesting for historians, for example.

The Biography of Sascha's Zettelkasten

December 2014 by Sascha

A proper Zettelkasten should be like a second mind, almost a person on its own. I am not there, yet. My buddy, the Zettelkasten, surprises me a lot but he needs to be filled with a couple thousand more Zettels.

Use Idea Indexes for Journals and Fiction

November 2014 by Christian

It’s nice to have an idea index in your book’s front pages. Revisiting a text you read years ago and finding an index in the front is a great feeling. Cal Newport recently blogged about idea indexes. I think they are very useful for fiction and personal journals.

The Two Forms of a Zettel

November 2014 by Sascha

In this post I try to dig into the nature of a Zettel. When philosophers speak about the nature of something they refer to its most basic qualities. If you substract one of those you would have something different.

The Frame of Mind and Routine to Tackle NaNoWriMo

November 2014 by Christian

The first week of National Novel Writing Month will soon pass. For aspiring writers, this month-long challenge has its difficulties: if you lack the routine more experienced writers undoubtedly employ, reaching 50.000 words by the end of the month will become a tough ride when you are fueled by excitement only.

How to Write a Book – Without Even Trying (so hard)

November 2014 by Sascha

In my last post A Life-Long Writing Project on Writing – and My Anxiety I said that I wrote a (small) book on writing while researching it. In this post I’ll present the method which led to this book.

Stop Relying on a Source and Have Faith in Your own Thoughts

October 2014 by Christian

I’ve got a confession to make. Years ago, I was driven by fear: What if I don’t fully understand what the author of a text is saying? I needed to have a backup plan; I had the strong desire to hold on to 100% of the information in a text. I put original articles into my Zettelkasten, and I pasted pages of books into notes without much commentary. The rationale was, to simply store the original text would be the best way to achieve 100% coverage of the author’s intent. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

A Life-Long Writing Project on Writing – and My Anxiety

October 2014 by Sascha

The first “first draft” I ever finished was a short-ish ebook about writing. I tend to be very heavy on research with my projects. As I realized that my Zettelkasten archive already contains content worth several books, I started to research on how to write a book.

Zettel Note Header Automation in nvALT

October 2014 by Christian

An essential principle of a Zettelkasten is its flexibility. From there you can derive maxims like “you should avoid proprietary software”, and “you should use plain text notes to ensure longevity”. That’s why I don’t use a fancy application with lots of spectacular features but the simple nvALT instead. Here’s how I automate note creation to speed up my workflow.

How I Prepare to Work on a Research and Writing Project

September 2014 by Christian

How do I deal with reading and research projects for University? I plan and prepare the work. This is the second post of the Summer Knowledge Challenge: here, I tell you about the first step, extracting reading notes from Justice for Hedgehogs and preparing the project. The procedure I describe applies to other University assignments and writing projects as well.

Dealing with Forgetfulness – Introducing Christian

September 2014 by Christian

Hi, I’m Christian, and I’m prone to forget things. To deal with my forgetfulness, I have learned to install useful habits and techniques into my life. I believe you have to have a working task management in place which watches your back while you do hard work, like researching and writing. Task management is there to keep real life at bay. You need both to succeed. My journey as a knowledge worker and writer began when I finally got stuff done.

Call Me Ishmael – Introducing Sascha

September 2014 by Sascha

Call me Ishmael. This is my first post on Zettelkasten.de, and which quote would be more appropriate to introduce myself? My real name is Sascha Fast by the way.

Composing and Revising – The Two Modes of Writing

August 2014 by Christian

Since I recently released the Word Counter for Mac, I have given more thought to the process of writing itself, especially since your comments on writing vs editing started to pour in. I count my words to increase my productivity as a writer. “But!”, people exclaimed, “How do you account for rewrites, deletions, and correcting grammar?” By dividing composing from revising.

Challenge: Apply the Knowledge Cycle to Reading a Single Book

July 2014 by Christian

I plan to write a long term paper at University later this year. It’s going to be about the book Justice for Hedgehogs by Ronald Dworkin, and I’ll be able to mostly work with this single source exclusively. Consequently, there won’t be much additional research. How does the Knowledge Cycle apply if you read a book and don’t do research? I invite you to take the “Summer Knowledge Challenge” and find out with me.

Use a Short Knowledge Cycle to Keep Your Cool

July 2014 by Christian

It’s important to manage working time. Managing to-do lists is just one part of the equation to getting things done when it comes to immersive creative work where we need to make progress for a long time to complete the project. To ensure we make steady progress, we need to stay on track and handle interruptions and breaks well. A short Knowledge Cycle will help to get a full slice of work done multiple times a day, from research to writing. This will help staying afloat and not drown in tasks.

Make Writing a Part of Your Identity

July 2014 by Christian

Brian Crain talked about increasing productivity by tracking progress. To have a continuous metric is both motivating and informative. I, too, buy into the saying that you can only improve what you measure. The corollary is: when you care about something, when you really commit to it, you have to do your best to track it and improve. Writing is one such skill. You become a writer by writing more, and you can shift your identity consciously to make this change stick.

How to Track Your Writing Progress

June 2014 by Christian

There’s an interesting 8min talk by Brian Crain on optimizing productivity. Brian found tracking his progress useful: I learned that having a continuous metric is enormously motivating since it allows you to continually improve yourself. These small, continuous changes make a huge difference over time.

Include Images in nvALT for a Multi-Media Zettelkasten Experience

June 2014 by Christian

nvALT sports features which are not so well-known. You can make it work with an image repository to easily include images in your Zettel notes. I don’t make heavy use of the preview at all, but when I do, it’s mostly because I want to take a look at images. For this purpose, I decided to stick to a simple folder structure and customize the preview template to work with it.

How I use Outlines to Write Any Text

May 2014 by Christian

Nowadays, I write all of my texts in outlines. This post is no exception. I found this to be a game-changer when it comes to writing, so I thought I’d share the process.

Building Blocks of a Zettelkasten

May 2014 by Christian

I am working hard on the “Building Blocks” chapter of the Zettelkasten book and I want to finish it first to show it to the public. It covers all parts of the toolkit. To sketch a structure and talk about its components, I need to get the requirements and implementation done before talking about workflow details. Today, I want to show you a birds-eye view of the overarching systems metaphor I’m using in the book.

SlipBox (Mac) Note Archive Review

April 2014 by Christian

Here used to be a review about the macOS app “SlipBox”. Sascha and Christian don’t evaluate apps that compete with The Archive anymore for obvious reasons, so this review had to go the way of the dodo.

Lessons Learned from Losing All Routine

April 2014 by Christian

We finally finished moving into our new apartment. During the ten days it took to arrange the new place, I noticed how strong I’m bound to my routines, and what it means to lose all of them at once for a period of time.

Using nvALT as a Zettel Note Archive

April 2014 by Christian

I want to start this series of reviews with a software I’m fairly familiar with. While most things apply to the Notational Velocity base application, I will talk about nvALT exclusively in this review. nvALT is a fork by Brett Terpstra and David Halter of the original Notational Velocity, which was created by Zachary Schneirov, and a few modifications by yours truly. It’s Open Source, free, and very popular.

Baseline for Zettelkasten Software Reviews

March 2014 by Christian

I’m going to take a close look at applications to find out which are suitable to implement the Zettelkasten note archive. I already talked about reference managers. While reference managers can be switched pretty easily, migrating a database of notes is far from being a trivial task, depending on the software you used in the past. Therefore, we have to chose how to implement the note archive with great care. Here you’ll find my criteria.

Reading Habits: Putting It All Together

March 2014 by Christian

I am moving next month, and so I though about getting rid of stuff in my life. There are lots of books I’ve read, but from which I never processed all the notes.

You Only Find What You Have Identified

February 2014 by Christian

I want to answer the question: Why are unique identifiers useful when you work with a Zettelkasten? The objective of a Zettelkasten note archive is to store notes and allow connections. Both are necessary to extend our mind and memory. As long as the software you use doesn’t provide any means to create links between notes, you have to come up with your own convention. Even if the software did provide such a mechanism, I’d suggest you think twice about relying on it: I want to evade vendor lock-in for my Zettelkasten, and I think you should, too. So let’s assume you don’t care about the software and create your own hyperlink scheme.

Learn Faster by Writing Zettel Notes

February 2014 by Christian

As a knowledge worker, you have to learn a lot in your field. The internet is full of information, and there’s the books you just have to know in and out. How do you speed up the process and learn efficiently?

Editorially is Shutting Down. What About Alternatives?

February 2014 by Christian

Editorially will shut down on May 30. I used Editorially for some time now and me and my collaborators were getting accustomed to the platform. It was more convenient to use Editorially than sharing plain text files in Dropbox, especially when multiple people were involved.

Note-Taking when Reading the Web and RSS

February 2014 by Christian

In the last post, I detailed that collecting texts may become a tempting replacement for obtaining real knowledge, but also that collecting in itself doesn’t get us anywhere. I called this the “Collector’s Fallacy”. I think we need to conquer this lazy, stuff-hoarding part of ourselves with good knowledge management habits.

Count Your Words to Increase Your Productivity

February 2014 by Sascha

So you are a knowledge worker? This means 90% of your work is about dealing with words. Blogger, writer, journalists – the biggest chunk of work is writing. “Writing” is just a short term for producing words.

The Collector’s Fallacy

January 2014 by Christian

There’s a tendency in all of us to gather useful stuff and feel good about it. To collect is a reward in itself. As knowledge workers, we’re inclined to look for the next groundbreaking thought, for intellectual stimulation: we pile up promising books and articles, and we store half the internet as bookmarks, just so we get the feeling of being on the cutting edge.


Preparing Fragments Helps You to Ease Into Writing

November 2013 by Christian

A Zettelkasten makes writing texts easy. It encourages you to prepare research and the most of your writing before you compile your first draft. This way you can focus on one task at a time and needn’t sweat about getting through. This works excruciatingly well with longer texts but it’s proven indispensable for any of my shorter writing projects, too.

Extend Your Mind and Memory With a Zettelkasten

November 2013 by Christian

A Zettelkasten is a device to extend your mind and memory so you can work with texts efficiently and never forget things again. Both permanent storage and interconnectedness are necessary to use the full potential of an archive for your notes. You need a permanent storage for your notes so they can give a cue for the things you want to remember. You also need to manually connect notes to create a web of notes which adjusts to the way your mind works.

Announcing a Zettelkasten Info Product

October 2013 by Christian

Recently, I took a look at my Zettelkasten to see which Zettel notes would make a good next post in the series. I re-discovered plenty of material, no doubt. Still, it occurred to me that there’s a lot of important things which don’t fit well in short blog posts and which neither do well when split into a series of posts.

Manage Citations for a Zettelkasten

October 2013 by Christian

How to enter literature references into your notes, and how to configure BibDesk for Mac to do the job in a minimal way.

Create Zettel from Reading Notes According to the Principle of Atomicity

September 2013 by Christian

As I said in my last post, my reading workflow consists of GTD-like phases: collect, process and write. While I wrote about collecting before, this post is about the three phases of processing notes. In the last section you’ll find a few example Zettels I wrote.

Making Proper Marks in Books

August 2013 by Christian

My reading workflow consists of phases similar to the phases in GTD: collect, process, write. This post is about collecting. To collect, it doesn’t help to paint your text in all colors of the rainbow. No matter how much you like to use highlighter pens: think about what you want to learn from the text first, and then decide whether marks are really the best tool for the job.

Create a Zettelkasten for your Notes to Improve Thinking and Writing

June 2013 by Christian

Assuming you’re a writer or a thinker, why should you care about the way you take notes? If you want to think creatively and write original articles and books, you need to form associations in your mind effectively. Notes can help you with that if you adhere to a few basic principles.