Thinking with Zettelkasten

  • zettels should generally be append-only and link to next note to show the progression of thinking on given topic
  • paraphrase and rewrite in addition to copying the text
  • creating Links for new notes by hand (as opposed to some "magical" automatic system) seems beneficial:
  • zettels should be atomic - one idea (even if vaguely defined) per zettel

In the old system, the question is: Under which topic do I store this note? In the new system, the question is: In which context will I want to stumble upon it again?

How to Take Smart Notes

  • Zettelkasten should be organised around context in which future me might want to find this specific piece of information / thought

It's also worth saying that I virtually never delete anything, even though the software (via git) would provide a record of any deletions. Instead, when I change my mind or encounter new evidence, I just append a new note to the existing one. In effect this produces a living record of my thinking.

  • when thinking with zettelkasten I found that after a while note titles themselves become a shortcut to the ideas noted inside - I no longer have to open the note to have a mental picture of what it's about
Szymon Kaliski © 2021