Zettelkasten Forum


Simple Addition to My Structure Notes

I've been working over the last week to read and process for my ZK a particular book. It contains about 40 short articles by different authors with "inspirational" messages and discussions of life experiences. I created a zettel for each article (these were fairly short, mostly one- or two-idea articles). After a while, I created a structure note for the book, grouping and linking to each zettel/article.

So far, so good - normal use of a structure note. The little "aha" moment came as follows...

At the end of each zettel, (because the zettel contained an inspirational idea), I added a "What will I do?" question. I didn't want to just capture the idea, I wanted to see if I could incorporate it into my life in some useful manner. The "aha" thought was to copy that question and its short answer from each zettel and paste that after the reference to the corresponding zettel on the structure note. That way, I can simply scan down the structure note occasionally to remind myself of what I wanted to do, check my progress, pick out one item on which to focus for a few days, etc.

So the structure note became a way of reviewing my follow-up actions. This is a simple addition that I've made to one structure note, and perhaps in retrospect, it is so evident as to be painfully obvious. But it both simplifies and enhances the way that I interact with my ZK. I have previously written zettels about various philosophies (regarding ethical behaviour) and have a few structure notes related to those. If time permits, I may give them the same treatment.

As an aside, I did ask a question about this process before (of acting on ideas we bring into our ZK), which received a few interesting comments. You can find the previous post here:

https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/1548/does-increasing-your-knowledge-through-your-zettlekasten-spur-you-to-action

Comments

  • So your structure note contains links to the details, plus the "what will I do with this", aka self-programming moment for each? I really like that example because it doesn't require much prior knowledge to understand 👍 Could you show a scaffold of this, if that makes sense? Don't want to invade your personal take-aways, of course.

    In some very technical notes I have similar overviews: lists of links to implementation approaches with a short summary how they achieve what they achieve, and why I might want to pick any of them for a particular problem. I admit that I haven't given this much thought for most cases and it just "happened" after a while in order to provide a proper overview. Will have to revisit these again and hunt for patterns :)

    Back when @sfast shared his structure note example on investing, the highlight was a table at the top: https://zettelkasten.de/posts/use-case-investing-zettelkasten-method/ -- it's these things that show there's an actual order to the content, and that it's not just an assorted list of any subset/collection of notes. While a mere selection is also some kind of structure, it's arguable very low on an imaginary scale of structured-ness. Ordered hierarchies, tables, and I believe your content-oriented overview would be higher on that scale.

    We lack good examples of this sort to aid newcomers to the ZK method to feel their way into the method. Thanks for sharing!

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

  • @ctietze said:
    So your structure note contains links to the details, plus the "what will I do with this", aka self-programming moment for each? I really like that example because it doesn't require much prior knowledge to understand 👍 Could you show a scaffold of this, if that makes sense? Don't want to invade your personal take-aways, of course.

    We lack good examples of this sort to aid newcomers to the ZK method to feel their way into the method. Thanks for sharing!

    Thanks for your comments!

    Here is an example of what I described earlier. It's a work in process, i.e., I haven't finished reading all the articles or creating zettels yet (so the structure note will grow longer). Also, I don't show the bottom of the zettel, which contains the normal links to other zettels and to external sources/references.

    Clearly, a similar format could be used for different purposes. For example, rather than a statement of what I am going to do to incorporate each principle into my life, it might be a statement of a principle I need to learn (in a school setting) or a feature I want to build into the design of a mechanism or an art object. It seems there are a lot of possibilities, but the general principle of bringing all the key actions (of one kind or another) onto the structure page is very appealing to me.

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