Zettelkasten Forum

Corporate Collaboration Whisperer and PhD Student with lots of writing in her future

Hi, I'm Jeannel (she/her/hers).
Much to my chagrin, I just discovered Zettelkasten a few days ago. (Where has this been all my life??!!!)
It aligns so much with how I think, I am grateful to have found it now as I begin my second year towards my Ph.D. in Humanistic Psychology (with a specialization in creativity studies and an end goal of organizational consulting psychology).

During the day I'm the collaboration director for a national construction company - helping partners and teams work better together with a creative, learn-by-doing approach. We work towards specific business outcomes, and the deeper outcomes are those softer skills that team members embrace and carry forward to their next teams and projects. Come for the food, stay for the pie. It's fun, and I love it.

I also adore my Ph.D. studies. I'm playing in transpersonal, creative, emergent spaces while seeking connections and solutions that may bring value to corporate teams as they make progress on their goals. This is a HUGE passion of mine: this Gnostic Intermediary work, if you will, in accessing non-ordinary insights and bringing them into ordinary spaces in service to others. It calls for all kinds of diversity of thought and cross-pollination of ideas.

And that's where Zettelkasten comes in.

My note taking approaches in the past have been frustrating at best. Keeping notebooks, making the notes right in the books themselves, sketch notes, emails to myself...I've been great at capturing insights and connections, yet horrible at doing so in a usable way for the future. A Fast Company article introduced me to ZK, and this is how I found you. One post talked about Ahrens' book, so I downloaded it. Ended up reading it in one sitting.

At this point, I've started creating analog cards (to slow thinking, lock in the knowledge, and physically manipulate the cards). I'm also toying with Archive or Roam as a backup platform for seriously searching through cards as I discover the dissertation waiting to emerge from them in the next few years. (Already using RefWorks for the reference cards.)

Capturing the ideas on cards is great. The structure piece (titling, cross indexing, etc) I'm still getting used to. The translation to online entries for future research (search) purposes I haven't yet dipped a toe into. But it will all come with time, I'm sure. And learning from this forum, of course!

Greetings from San Diego,


  • Welcome to the forums. Sounds like you have an interesting journey ahead.

    Here is a 3/2020 interview you might find valuable of Sönke Ahrens talking about more of the details and some of his revised thinking around "How to Take Smart Notes"

    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.

  • Welcome aboard, @jeannelking! :)

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

  • Greetings @jeannelking. I think you'll find the forum a supportive place filled with people who will offer you insight and encouragement.

    Started ZK 4.2018. "The path is at your feet, see? Now carry on."

  • @jeannelking Welcome to the forum - it's a great place to learn all about ZK.

    @Will Thanks for that link to the Sonke Ahrens interview - it was interesting and worth the 50 minutes of listening (and note taking :>)

  • Thanks, everybody! I am certainly finding this forum to be extraordinarily helpful, @Phil and @GeoEng51. Case in point: thank you, @Will, for that interview link...well worth watching and well worth grokking!

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