Zettelkasten Forum

Limits of Zettelkasten

Hey !
I begin with ZK method. Actually, I'm trying to implement a complete organization workspace. I love the ZK principle, but there's something I don't really identify. What have its place in my ZK ? We can read everywhere that ZK is a method for "knowledge management". But what precisely is this knowledge ? Of course, everytime I read non-fiction books, I can create Zettels to keep the ideas I want to keep, and work with them. But sometimes it's not very clear. What about my previsions for next holidays ? My electricity bill ? Bus timetables ? And the adress of my friend, what I don't want to forget ?
Is ZK a system to stock everything ? And if not, what should be there, and what souldn't ? Or at less, how do you do, you ?

Thank you for advance, and sorry if my english is bad, I'm french (is it an acceptable reason ? ;) )


  • edited May 2020

    This might (and should) be different for everyone, but I've learned to heavily limit what I put in my Zettelkasten. I reserve my ZK for those bits of knowledge that are of intellectual relevance to me -- either because they are interesting, because they relate to my intellectual endeavours, or because it is information that I want to return to on an intellectual rather than a practical level.

    Relatedly, I try to put information in there that is 'timeless' -- so no plans, todo's or lists of books to read. All that stuff, including the practical information you refer to, I store elsewhere.

    The thing is: when I browse through my notes, I want to find and encounter stuff that feels valuable according to the characteristics I mentioned above. All the rest, all of the practical stuff, simply feels like clutter.

    A different way to convey this: consider your ZK as a communication partner that you can have a conversation with. Do you want to talk about bills and plans? Or do you want to talk about ideas and concepts?

  • Piggybacking on previous comment, ask yourself if you are possibly using this information to develop an argument or idea?

    Bills and plans not so much. But it would be useful for say developing recipes if you do a lot of experimental cooking.

  • @Mapi wrote:
    But what precisely is this knowledge?

    This is the very question to ask.

    You can start with this article: https://zettelkasten.de/posts/reading-is-searching/

    And then go on with the difference between information and knowledge. There is plenty of material in the internet.

    I have quite a diverse Zettelkasten:

    • My reflections about me, my family and friends (which are sometimes extensive psychological analysises)
    • My dairy about my dog training
    • Fragments of my prose writings
    • Background work for my novells
    • Analytical philsosophy
    • Nutrition, Training, Healthe and Fitness
    • Empirical work as well as theoretical
    • training and nutrition plans for my clients (the schemata)


    ToDos are not part of my Zettelkasten because they are not knowledge but imperatives to me, for example.

    I am a Zettler

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