Zettelkasten Forum

What are you working on this week? (2020-07-27 to 2020-08-02)

I spend the last few weeks on vacation and thus also took a hiatus from some online presence. Thanks to @GeoEng51 for also making a post two weeks back.

My Zettelkasten has not been "fed" in a long while (only four new notes in the past 30 days!), but this week it might change. I'm starting a new project and I expect the research for that will produce some notes. Of course, writing notes
is not the goal in itself, but it is at least easy to measure.

I hope you are all up to something good, vacation or otherwise :smile:


  • Dropbox and local file change fixes for The Archive are not yet finished. In terms of writing, this week revolves around tying up loose ends for this website, proof-reading blog posts drafts, and taking proper note of interesting discussions here. Am still tinkering on a little writing project that involves Mario and programming, where some Zettel have to be taken about the things I learned (and which can curiously be applied to The Archive again).

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

  • edited July 2020

    I started a personal wiki (using gitbooks) as a way to formalize some of the contents of my zettelkasten. Other than that I'm still slowly working on my public zettelkasten and the notes that will make up my guide.

  • The pandemic keeps teaching me new lessons like the importance of using 'downtime' to advance knowledge. There really is no such thing as 'downtime' or even 'spare time'. There is just what you are doing now. Either you are working towards a goal or you aren't.

    These last couple of weeks have been filled with 'mad and frantic' Zettelkasting. Inspired by @phil's pointer to the "Idea Index" workflow and his digestion of David Loy's book Ecodharma, I've fallen into the note-taking vortex. I've created, in the last 30 days, modified, made more complete, refined, and deeper embedded into my Zettelkasten 104 zettels and created 52 fresh new zettels. I have 18 more rough draft notes that are begging for refinement. (A majority but not all these notes on the book "Echodharma". I have mixed feelings about this book, Loy doesn't say anything new and seems tied to old tropes.)

    @henrikenggaard said:

    Of course, writing notes is not the goal in itself, but it is at least easy to measure.

    Insights come randomly, accidentally, but you can put yourself in a position to be 'more accident-prone' the more you participate with your Zettelkasten.

    Enthusiasm ebbs and flows, I'm in the flow and want to take advantage of it as I know the tide will soon go out and I'll be swept away. (I love me some metaphor.)

    Will Simpson
    I must keep doing my best even though I'm a failure. My peak cognition is behind me. One day soon I will read my last book, write my last note, eat my last meal, and kiss my sweetie for the last time.

  • Last week and this week I've been working my way through two books:

    "So Good They Can't Ignore You" by Cal Newport (I gave this one to my oldest granddaughter as part of a high school graduation present, so I figured I'd better read it as well). It has some excellent ideas for young graduates, looking to find their way in their careers. Newport's advice turns a lot of the conventional career counselling wisdom on its head.

    "How to Take Smart Notes" by Sonke Ahrens - recommended by several on this forum. I've found it contains a number of interesting ideas. I'm attempting to apply the note-taking methods he recommends (both "fleeting" notes and permanent notes) to his own book, which is proving instructive and also has me re-examining some notes on knowledge, learning and wisdom that I had already written in my ZK.

    My oldest daughter (now ~40) started looking over my shoulder both on Ahrens' book and me entering notes into my ZK. Many years ago she graduated from university in engineering physics and now after raising a few kids is preparing to go back to school for a teaching certificate. She took to both the book and the idea of a ZK like a fish to water, wondering where they had been all her life. So now we are both developing our passion for note-taking and ZK.

  • @GeoEng51 his other book Deep Work is a must read with So Good They Can't Ignore You.

  • I dipped my toes in the emacs water and realized (for now at least) that it's not an abyss I'm ready to dive into, especially when I would spend all my time trying to get it to act like The Archive. 😂

    I'm using TA for Zettelkasten stuff but also GTD stuff and a daily log and journalling, so I'm constantly evolving how I set things up. How I name stuff, how to not forget stuff. I even use it for a simple calendar as well. I love being all in one place. Makes me feel safe. 😊

  • @Nick said:
    @GeoEng51 his other book Deep Work is a must read with So Good They Can't Ignore You.

    Thanks Nick! I'll have a look at it.

  • @henrikenggaard upgrading my reading.

  • @VDL1516 Nice, I don't know the book, is it a compendium of a sort?

    And sorry for not posting more "WAYWOTW" -- I got real busy with work and home events :smile:

  • @henrikenggaard it is from the Great Books of the Western World by Mortimer Adler. I also picked up Homer. I felt like I needed to throw some more classics into my reading.

  • After a few glorious of week reading (and note taking) freely for pleasure, I'm back to studying. I don't feel last year went well so my aim is to improve.

  • Conducting autoethnographic research for an article that I plan to submit for publication in mid October.

  • After many weeks of not publishing my newsletter, I've finally managed to send a new issue:

  • I love this! Its almost like I have accountability partners!

    Current reading list (I tend to have 1x fiction, and 1x non-fiction on the go at any one time)
    Fiction: Wheel of Time - Book 1 (Trying to read this before the TV show comes out on Amazon)
    Non-fiction: Guns, Germs & Steel - Jared Diamond (only just started this one)

    GG&S is a book recommended by both Charlie Munger and Bill Gates, so figured it would be a good one to start with.
    I'm also doing some research/digging/learning about mental models, and trying to write down the useful ones. Thats my 1 hour per day "learning". Attempting to write useful Zettel's about both the mental models and GG&S (once I've dug in further than the introduction).

    Work wise, building up to deploy an agent/config to ~120k machines at the company I work for, to collect the event logs from all machines in real time using Google Cloud Platform... 2 weeks away from go live.

  • "GG&S" is super interesting, I wonder what you'll do with it :) It changed my perception a bit, I'm about 50% through, but I didn't even try to process the book into Zettel because there's just so much stuff, and my work is in a different field.

    If anyone notices that there's no WAYWOW (What are you working on this week) discussion for the current week, y'all can feel free to open a new one thread anytime!

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

  • @ctietze said:
    "GG&S" is super interesting, I wonder what you'll do with it :) It changed my perception a bit, I'm about 50% through, but I didn't even try to process the book into Zettel because there's just so much stuff, and my work is in a different field.

    May have to swap this out for something else as I managed to spill water all over the GG&S book I have...
    Will likely start on The Silk Road by Peter Frankopan instead as thats next on the list!

  • This week I am:

    1. Continuing to work my way through Eco's How to Write a Thesis.
    2. That reading is back burner to the voluminous preparing I am doing for online teaching during the pandemic. This however, is forcing me to digitize many of my notes from nearly a decade of teaching.
    3. Grad school classes have resumed, and with it my ZK is humming away as I continue to build geography notes. Starting sometime in the next few days, I'm going to set a dedicated 30 minutes to playing in my ZK to make sure that ideas are fleshed out and properly linked. I got quite excited when my book on agent-based modeling arrived...
    4. I'm also working on a proposal to use one of my university's labs (as a grad student) for a cross-disciplinary project.
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