Zettelkasten Forum

want to make more use of written notes

edited October 2021 in Introduce Yourselves!


My name is Neal, I'm in California and likely starting a new software engineering job soon. I've been using a paper Bullet Journal (BuJo) for a few years. I like that it is offline and I can problem solve with it, since I spend so much time online, and recently I've been looking for ways to make my bullet journal more searchable and useful. So I came across the Commonplace index, and Zettelkasten, both of which look promising. I've made some few steps on implementing both in my bullet journal. I'll have new things to learn quickly in my new job so any advice on first steps, software engineering, working on paper, or anything related etc would be greatly appreciated!


  • Neal
Post edited by nealc on


  • edited October 2021


    Hello and welcome to the forum! You may find this an ironic start in answering your questions. I also have been bullet journaling for a few years. My first year was paper, which was quite satisfying and also fun. I switched to an electronic method of bullet journaling, as it fit into my normal workflow well. The ironic part is that I’m recommending software to you, when you are likely thinking to stay with paper.

    I use a program called NotePlan 3 for all my normal note-taking - bullet journal, meeting notes, random thoughts that I don’t want to lose, reminders, schedule items, records of physical activities (mostly walking and cycling), and a few other things. The combination of planning / scheduling / note taking is very nicely implemented and integrated in NotePlan, and it’s taken over tasks that I used to do in a number of other apps.

    However, I have a separate Zettelkasten that I maintain using The Archive. It contains everything that I am learning or in some cases have learned throughout my life. It’s a sort of “values and lessons learned (sometimes hard-learned) journal”. I could use NotePlan3 to create and maintain this Zettelkasten as well, which would then be integrated with all the other types of notes and information that I have. I tried that, but found The Archive a somewhat better tool for creating and maintaining a Zettelkasten, so I stuck with it.

    Whatever the medium you select, your chances of success with your Zettelkasten will depend on how well you have (in your own mind) defined its purpose and the amount of time you put into crafting it. I’m not sure that a Zettelkasten is a good way of learning lots of information, quickly. It may be, but my experience suggests otherwise, in that writing useful zettels takes time - time to formulate and time to connect. Rushing a Zettelkasten would for me easily lead to it containing a large amount of useless or unrelated information.

    Post edited by GeoEng51 on
  • Hello @nealc and welcome!

    IIRC, in the BuJo book they talk about "linking" to other pages in your BuJo via reference. I have a load of paper journals as well and you will have more of them if you continue the bujoing throughout the years, and I reference specific pages from my digital Zettelkasten. Sometimes a Zettel is just a digital representation of a paper page. That way I do not have to check the paper page out everytime I come across that Zettel. (I could and sometimes would of course.)

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