Zettelkasten Forum


What have you gotten OUT of your Zettelkasten?

We all like to talk about process and procedure and best practices, but for you veteran Zettelkasters (?), what practical benefits have you gotten out of your Zettelkasten? Other than gathering and organizing information, what are some practical results you've gotten from this practice?

Comments

  • It's an important question. I'd say where it has had the most practical effect on my output is with coding and statistical analysis. I look up code I used previously in my ZK all the time. And that supports my scientific/research activities.

    1. I got an A in Creative Non-fiction Writing ENGL393.
    2. I got the first draft of my book "Being Ordinary". Commentary on a 12-century Tibetan Text.
    3. I'll be getting an A in Environmental Writing ENGL316.
    4. I'm learning to write Haiku.
    5. I've refined my thinking about a few things as I've come to see them in writing.
    6. I've gotten practice writing.
    7. I got to meet you!

    I'm sure there are other sweet benefits to Zettelkasting but this is what comes to mind quickly.

    Will Simpson
    I'm a Zettelnant.
    Research: Rationalism, Zen, Non-fiction Creative Writing
    kestrelcreek.com

    • Increased general productivity
    • 3 (self-)published books.
    • ~600 blogposts
    • 10--12 unpublished not super rough drafts (plenty of roughness left, though).
    • ~50--60 drafts that are finished more than half
    • Greately increased interconnection of my personal knowledge and enhanced recall (which translates to my work as a trainer)

    I am a Zettler

  • I am by no means a pro on the topic and am more of a lurker who has had absolutely awesome input and feedback from many members including @sfast and @Will. I found the Zettelkasten method because I was looking for something that would help me remember more of what I read. I read on various topics though really am intrigued by great thinkers such as Darwin, Richard Feynman, Charlie Munger etc. I read to help myself become a better thinker, problem solver, decision maker and learn more mental models. The books seem to be more action oriented. I have gone back and forth about digital or analog and whats the best approach and my perfectionism gets in the way too. I also started to question if this was/is the best approach to fulfill my goal of remembering/implementing more of what I read. I could be absolutely wrong here so please correct me if I am. I feel like you should have a mission or goal that the Zettelkasten will help contribute to. Something you could produce? I just do not want to have my system become a graveyard of notes. I know I should just take a book or two or three and then decide it works or not!!!!

  • @joegilder said:
    We all like to talk about process and procedure and best practices, but for you veteran Zettelkasters (?), what practical benefits have you gotten out of your Zettelkasten? Other than gathering and organizing information, what are some practical results you've gotten from this practice?

    Joe - I'm a bit new so don't have a long list of papers or books to reference. But I like @Will's comments 5 to 7 - they certainly apply to me. And I've also started to make connections between ideas that I just hadn't connected before, and that's led to some interesting thoughts and discussions with family members and friends. Since I'm a pretty shy person, always looking for interesting conversation topics, that is a huge plus all on its own.

  • I don't know if I can call myself a "veteran", but I have gotten something out of it.

    This very day, I got my first major scientific paper accepted for publication and that paper was outlined and developed using my Zettelkasten. Papers have been written without a Zettelkasten, no doubt, but without a Zettelkasten, I would have had to keep all the connections and ideas and prior work and results inside my head or in drafts. My vastly more experienced colleagues can do this and a marvel at it. However, I only have a total of three years for my PhD which is not a lot of time to get experience.

    I am also reading more papers/research, because I have a framework to place all the knowledge and ideas into. They don't just stay as notes and highlights in a PDF, but can form an active part of my research without having to think too much ahead in terms of how I intend to use the ideas.

    And finally, I have found new and interesting angles to research problems. Because there is not a predetermined structure, I can simply add links where I feel a connection would fit. And because of the links, I can go "exploring" and find "new ways". The current paper I'm working on, explores an idea I got from wandering in my Zettelkasten.

  • @henrikenggaard I'd love to travel 10 years into the future and see how you perform in comparison to your more experienced colleagues, and if you "outpublished" them by miles :)

    Author at Zettelkasten.de • https://christiantietze.de/

  • @ctietze said:
    @henrikenggaard I'd love to travel 10 years into the future and see how you perform in comparison to your more experienced colleagues, and if you "outpublished" them by miles :)

    I am a Zettler

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