Zettelkasten Forum

Direct to the Archive (or Zettelkasten) or written notes first?

Hi all,

One more tactical question. I started enthusiastically writing notes by hand first in a book and then creating zettels. But I will confess that I am struggling with that because I feel my reading pace is really fast compared to my writing pace. So the problem is either 1) My written notes are inefficient and/or ineffective (I should improve - how?) or 2) at least for certain books that are not insanely dense, I can create zettels directly without the written path. Here is an example. I am reading the book personal kanban and in my mind's eye I already feel like I can see the main zettels I want to create for future reference so I can just search by the book tags and topic tags later. I don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater by slowing down my reading OR quitting the ZK practice. Any thoughts on how others have solved this or what I can do differently will be welcome and much appreciated. For the more dense text-type books I think the write first then zk may still work (but probably I have not read too many of these lately - have been forced to be inch-deep mile-wide due to demands of project) Thanks!


  • I am doing both. Direct to Zettels and handwritten notes first then Zettel. I really like creating Zettels from my personal notes. When I create these notes I work with the book/study materials closed and I am rephrasing the work when creating handwritten notes. I let this percolate for a few hours. I am creating the Zettel withing the day. Then I reread notes, rephrasing them yet again as I enter them into The Archive.

    Sometimes though an idea will strike in the midst of work on the computer and it will be easy and important to capture it immediately. I could revisit the note as a routine to re-encapsulate it in fresh terms but I don't. I could tag it as a draft note but I don't.

    Other people, more skilled than me, for sure have other ideas.

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