So, that’s the buzzword that has been floating in productivity circles, and the authorities in the field (Zettelkasten.de) have (should I say finally) written a great and comprehensive overview of the method. If you’re interested and/or have been struggling with your notes, look no further:
Two words of observation after having used the method for almost a year:
Do not sweat the final product. Zettels look so pristine and well thought-out when you see the demos. There’s a natural tendency to want to write something as good and final from the get-go. Don’t. These systems have built themselves over time (years, maybe). A half-written note in your own words is not ideal, but it’s better than nothing and it already has linking value in the system. Zettling is a fluid process, where values accrues over time. Start working on things, do not strive for perfection, just do it for the process.
Do not sweat the references part. The Zettelkasten is originally an academic workflow and it shows. All initial practitioners of the method tend be academics, so they need to have a perfect citation system. But not everybody (and I would argue, far from everybody) needs that level of detail. If you’re a knowledge worker but don’t need to be perfectly accountable in minute detail for every last thing you quote, ditch the references manager and just make sure you jot down where things come from (“This author in that book” is enough in my experience).
I believe Nick Milo strikes the right balance of inspiration and fluidity for most of us:
Full disclosure – I am currently following his workshop, but it’s already proven hugely valuable – a hundred times more than Build a Second Brain, of which I have amply said negative things about on this forum
After reading a lot about all those things, asking questions, practicing, I think I am slowly finding my footing with the method itself (and I am awed by the results I’m getting). If somebody has any questions on it, I’d be happy to try and answer as I can.