Zettelkasten Forum


Does your journaling help you keep focus on your projects?

edited April 4 in Your Current Projects

Here I have a breakout idea from @Loni's post over on the "What's up this week" thread.


Journaling is a form of writing that is freeing. We can be brutally honest about where our focus wanders by keeping a journal.

@Loni said she wrote a "good blog article about creativity thanks to my zettel notes." Maybe she'll share a link?

Will Simpson
“Read Poetry, Listen to Good Music, and Get Exercise”
kestrelcreek.com

Comments

  • @Will said:
    I've fostered a jailbreak. Here we have a breakout idea from @Loni's post over on the "What's up this week" thread.

    I am sorry, I asked too much questions ? Did I break some forum rules ? I am sorry… >_<

    @Will said:
    Journaling is a form of writing that is freeing. We can be brutally honest about where our focus wanders by keeping a journal.

    Oh, I see. So you write freely without asking yourself "is it Zettelkasten friendly" ? And you use this opportunity to say everything to yourself ? So yes, I do imagine it is profitable to write about your process and progresses, to fix objectives, to examine them pursue. How do you proceed to track your progression ? Do you have a kind of process, first of all ?

    I am looking for solutions. I really dislike the "entrepreneur" way which put numbers on everything in a kind of "Goddess Productivity" cult. But… Focus is my main strive right now. I have to keep a strict discipline, so maybe a journal can help. Your answer give me a lead : "journal help to auto analyse without pity what I've down". It helps, thanks :)

    That make me think… Are your more exigeant about the content of your Zettelkasten ? (do this question is a jailbreaking one too ?) Your process evocate me that you would put criterias into selecting what it is "Zettelkastenable" and what it is not.

    @Will said:
    @Loni said she wrote a "good blog article about creativity thanks to my zettel notes." Maybe she'll share a link?

    If you want to, yes :) My site is still in production and a "good" article for me is not as "good" to the standards of the participants here, I am afraid, it is a "baby" article. And I wrote it in french… Because… French woman here. But there it is : La genèse des Althiero I talk about how my main characters are born and my (novel) writing process. It is a long, long three years story and my zettels helps me to give sens and order to my thoughts.

  • @Loni said:
    I am sorry, I asked too much questions ? Did I break some forum rules ? I am sorry… >_<

    After I made the initial post in this thread, I read an article on idioms. The article said don't use them because they are difficult to translate. Here is an example. "Jailbreak" is an idiom that can and does, in this case, mean freedom. My use of this idiom made you think you might have broken some forum rule. I'm the one to be sorry.

    So yes, I do imagine it is profitable to write about your process and progresses, to fix objectives, to examine them pursue. How do you proceed to track your progression ? Do you have a kind of process, first of all ?

    I do journal about the quality of my progress. I look at how I participate in life. Considering the quality, frequency, and cadence of progress helps keep me on track. It is easy to track frequency and cadence. I am doing this with my daily journaling template, which presents me with

    I am looking for solutions. I really dislike the "entrepreneur" way which put numbers on everything in a kind of "Goddess Productivity" cult.

    Sorry to be the one to break the news to you. What isn't measured can't be improved.

    Are your more exigent about the content of your Zettelkasten ? Your process evocate me that you would put criterias into selecting what it is "Zettelkastenable" and what it is not.

    I do separate journaling from zettelkasting. I separate web clipping for reading later for zettelkasting. Currently, I am collecting code snippets in my ZK, but that may change as it seems like a slip into the collection fallacy. We'll see.

    The criteria are harder to define but something worth exploring. I view my ZK as a learning tool, which influences what I put in it.

    I wrote it in french… Because… French woman here. But there it is : La genèse des Althiero I talk about how my main characters are born and my (novel) writing process. It is a long, long three years story and my zettels helps me to give sens and order to my thoughts.

    Note atomique note de lecture et digestion de l'information : [Zettelkasten] [Notes] - Jardin de Lonan Aedhia Sweet post. I hadn't considered digestion as a metaphor for zettelkasting. Interesting.

    Zettelkasten

    Breaking down a reading note is an interesting part of digestion work. First, we eat and taste information - we write our noted literature and try to use our own words.

    Then, we will digest the information and as a catabolic process, we will dissociate the huge molecules to create smaller ones, easier to digest.

    These atomic notes become the main body of my Zettelkasten, small individual bricks that are easy to connect together in all dimensions, not embedded in a rigid structure.

    The literature note is kept as is, raw information passed to the subjectivity filter. I link it to the author's and work's file, when I have the .md file.

    I link my atomic notes to the author's card, integrate them into the Zettel.

    I also add notes of opinions, questions, what the author inspires me, creates links with his biography if it is relevant...

    Will Simpson
    “Read Poetry, Listen to Good Music, and Get Exercise”
    kestrelcreek.com

  • @Will said:

    Sorry to be the one to break the news to you. What isn't measured can't be improved.

    I used to think that was invariably true; but I don't know... Every Wednesday evening I coach a piano trio (that's piano, violin, cello) ; this is a group of 13-14 year-old advanced players in a music school. I don't know how to go about measuring their improvement, but it's there nonetheless. I suppose I could measure their notes in the time and frequency domains and come up with some score we could follow week-to-week. But in the process it would drain the very life out of the Mendelssohn they're playing. How do I measure "there should be a very slight rubato here as you reach the top of that phrase" ? But we all recognize it and strive toward it.

    So now, I think that there's something different at work - it's not the measurement itself. It's awareness. The measurement doesn't cause the improvement in any case; doesn't it just serve to heighten our awareness and sensitivity to change so that directed change is possible?

    Professionally I'm a collaborative pianist & chamber music coach,

  • Working on my project helps keep me focused on my project.

    Scott P. Scheper
    Website | Twitter | Reddit | YouTube

  • @Will said:

    @Loni said:
    I am sorry, I asked too much questions ? Did I break some forum rules ? I am sorry… >_<

    After I made the initial post in this thread, I read an article on idioms. The article said don't use them because they are difficult to translate. Here is an example. "Jailbreak" is an idiom that can and does, in this case, mean freedom. My use of this idiom made you think you might have broken some forum rule. I'm the one to be sorry.

    So, it was humour, I am relieved :)

    I do journal about the quality of my progress. I look at how I participate in life. Considering the quality, frequency, and cadence of progress helps keep me on track. It is easy to track frequency and cadence. I am doing this with my daily journaling template, which presents me with

    Thank you for sharing your template, it helps me a lot and gives me ideas. Maybe making one week note, with an objectives, and adding links to the zettels I've made this week, and making a comparison between the objectives and the result at the end.

    But if stats are appealing, I don't think I choose them for my zettel : I already make a lot of stats to track my novel progression.

    Sorry to be the one to break the news to you. What isn't measured can't be improved.

    I can't totaly agree with this one. Some things need to be measured with sheer numbers, it is possible and brings motivations. Sciences need numbered data too, of course. Hard to make physic or anthropology without them. But. I can give examples :

    • I write between 3000 and 5000 words per day for my novels. I track this stat on an Calc sheet, I can see my regularity, it is fine.

      • But those numbers don't say anything about the quality of what I write. However I did make progress.
    • I draw. I make sketches, and I can count them. But when I make an illutration, it can take me weeks to finish.

      • Here, numbers does not bring accuracy about my efficiency, neither about the quality of my drawings.
    • I can tell you how many paintings Kandinsky made. I can tell you where and when they were exposed. I can tell you how many painters, critics, journalists talked about them in their papers but… I can only make data with this historical traces of his impact. It is impossible to track what changes his abstraction made in the many artists heads if they did not make a clear paper or recorded talk about it. I don't even know if this stats would be pertinent, but I never see a historical art book or a historiographical book presenting them. But we know his paintings impact european art for century.

    Some fields escape from the "data logic", some don't use them because it is not pertinent, accurate, in this field of work. And it's fine.

    So I really like what @aducan brings on the table here :

    @aduncan said:
    So now, I think that there's something different at work - it's not the measurement itself. It's awareness. The measurement doesn't cause the improvement in any case; doesn't it just serve to heighten our awareness and sensitivity to change so that directed change is possible?

    Stats and numbers helps to be aware of changements and improvements. But there might exists other tools to be aware of them… I made comparison between two texts, music can do recordings… Are numbers the best way to be aware of our Zettelkastening efficiency ? Especially to make a directed change ?

    How can we bring awareness about our efficiency, accuracy, and the way we build Zettelkasten ? Journaling seem to make record of our practice, and that is a good thing. But how can we make this records interesting, exploitable, for the futur planning ?

    Are your more exigent about the content of your Zettelkasten ? Your process evocate me that you would put criterias into selecting what it is "Zettelkastenable" and what it is not.

    I do separate journaling from zettelkasting. I separate web clipping for reading later for zettelkasting. Currently, I am collecting code snippets in my ZK, but that may change as it seems like a slip into the collection fallacy. We'll see.

    The criteria are harder to define but something worth exploring. I view my ZK as a learning tool, which influences what I put in it.

    OK, may I resume : so you have tools with collections of datas that you proceed. Some datas make you learn something, so you put them in your Zettelkasten, some don't and they stay outside.

    This is an interesting point. I use my Zettel to track thoughts inside my messy brain. I put everyting I find in "waiting box" (tabs on my explorer, or "collection" folders after markdown conversion), I call it the Purgatory process. If I don't treat them in two weeks, I suppress them. If I don't play god with this final Apocalyps every two weeks, I find myself under the pression of all this informations to treat and doing nothing at all because it cost too much. Maybe can help with the collection fallacy ? I avoid it at all coast because I am quickly driven by dopamine shoots. But collection do not build anything.

    Maybe the criteria should be "does it help to build something" ?

    However, my insights and brain schemes go inside my Zettelkasten like "Why I really like this song" or "Does writing is like being naked ?" or "How should I say something difficult to someone - cas N°23". Sometimes I laugh a lot because I associate strange things. Like digestion and Zettelkasting. It is all because of my bread cooking recipe ! :)

    Note atomique note de lecture et digestion de l'information : [Zettelkasten] [Notes] - Jardin de Lonan Aedhia Sweet post. I hadn't considered digestion as a metaphor for zettelkasting. Interesting.

    Wow, you read french ! Thank you so much for reading my article and translating it !

    Zettelkasten

    Breaking down a reading note is an interesting part of digestion work. First, we eat and taste information - we write our noted literature and try to use our own words.

    Then, we will digest the information and as a catabolic process, we will dissociate the huge molecules to create smaller ones, easier to digest.

    These atomic notes become the main body of my Zettelkasten, small individual bricks that are easy to connect together in all dimensions, not embedded in a rigid structure.

    The literature note is kept as is, raw information passed to the subjectivity filter. I link it to the author's and work's file, when I have the .md file.

    I link my atomic notes to the author's card, integrate them into the Zettel.

    I also add notes of opinions, questions, what the author inspires me, creates links with his biography if it is relevant...

  • Here I've got myself in trouble again by writing with an idiom. Measuring can't improve almost anything in life. My ability to perform at an expert level requires practice, and practice can be measured.

    I agree 100% that music or any creative act falls apart when measured with any granularity. Even a sunset is trivialized by measuring it.

    One of the differences between an expert and a non-expert is intentional practice. The amount and cadence of practice can be measured. If we practice for a short time and infrequently, it will reflect in our lackluster speed or lack of speed in improving.

    In your example, I think "there should be a very slight rubato here as you reach the top of that phrase" is improved with coaching and practice, which can be measured. Measuring the intensity of the rubato with a decibel meter doesn't help the student. If this is an integral part of the piece, practicing it fifty times helps. Maybe the student hits the correct rubato 3 out of 10 times this week. With daily practice marked against a calendar, in 2 weeks, the student hits the correct rubato 6 out of 10 times. That's an improvement. This might be a poor example, we can't examine every aspect of music, but hopefully, we get the idea. Without the measurement, we only have some vague, subjective feeling that maybe the student is improving.

    @aduncan said:
    So now, I think there's something different at work - it's not the measurement itself. It's awareness. The measurement doesn't cause the improvement in any case; doesn't it just serve to heighten our awareness and sensitivity to change, so that directed change is possible?

    I agree here too. Measuring only tells us if we are tracking towards the change we think is possible. We are not trying to be experts at measuring. Measuring can hold us accountable and provides a way to see our commitment level objectively.

    Will Simpson
    “Read Poetry, Listen to Good Music, and Get Exercise”
    kestrelcreek.com

  • @Loni said:
    Wow, you read french ! Thank you so much for reading my article and translating it !

    No, not really. I can't read French. The translation was provided by Apple.

    Will Simpson
    “Read Poetry, Listen to Good Music, and Get Exercise”
    kestrelcreek.com

  • I am the one to be sorry, I did not considerate all aspects of the word… I will gain easyness with English quickly, I promise !

    @Will said:

    One of the differences between an expert and a non-expert is intentional practice. The amount and cadence of practice can be measured. If we practice for a short time and infrequently, it will reflect in our lackluster speed or lack of speed in improving.

    I can't do anything, but approving this point.

    The expert knows what point to develop however, when the beginner lacks the whole landscape view. That's when the intention becomes essential, but also the learning environment. A journal can be usefull for this point too, maybe. Recording intention, professionals feedbacks, public's reactions…

    The whole thing is : what point should be looking at ? Maybe we can treat our Zettelkasten like a public  or an artistic work? "How does my Zettelkasten respond when I search for usefull information ?", "does it help me when I write an article ?" "does it help me to keep in track with this project I wrote on my journal ?"

    Those are interesting leads :)

  • To me, a journal even feels like a distraction. For example, the journal on the second edition is the result of me forcing myself to hold on to some subjectiv thoughts. This will be the first journals I will use from start to finish to test the benefits. But it is just another peripheral task for me.

    Normally, when I think about something that I write in the journal I will write a dedicated note and improve some area of my Zettelkasten with it. It is very rare that I don't have a structure within my Zettelkasten already when I am facing a problem.

    This might be related to my distaste for inboxes. To me, having another reoccuring task is worse than just file away everything directly. Example: I don't have an inbox for my tasks other than slips of paper on my desk (when I am not at my desk). Since I am at my desk most of the time any task gets the correct place in my taskmanagement right away.

    I am a Zettler

  • @sfast, welcome to the world of journaling.

    Journaling might be considered a task when you are a beginner, like going to the gym and lifting. Until a habit is formed, we need queues to remind us, and an entry in a task manager is as good as any.

    Why journal? It is like a workout. At first, you stumble with form. You struggle with repeatedly getting to the gym. You think it will help your physical health, but at first, you feel sore and tight, not at all the pinnacle of health. Eventually, if you stick with it, you might find a coach that helps with form, you might set up your environment so going to the gym feels natural, you might start to feel strength building, and you've started progressing on the climb to physical health.

    All these actions can be applied to journaling too. Journaling trains your mental health like exercise trains your physical health.

    I know this is a questionable metric, but these numbers are so close.


    Will Simpson
    “Read Poetry, Listen to Good Music, and Get Exercise”
    kestrelcreek.com

  • edited April 7

    @scottscheper said:
    Working on my project helps keep me focused on my project.

    Agreed.

    @sfast said:
    To me, a journal even feels like a distraction.

    Agreed.

    When I turn my eye
    inward, I find nothing but
    doubt and ignorance.
    (David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature)
    -- Unintentional haikus of the philosophers, Leiter Reports, September 13, 2019

    And that's the good news.

    Erdős #2. ZK software components. “If you’re thinking without writing, you only think you’re thinking.” -- Leslie Lamport.

  • @ZettelDistraction said:

    @scottscheper said:
    Working on my project helps keep me focused on my project.

    Agreed.

    It is frustrating to find comments like that. It does not answer anything. Why ? How ? Arguments ?

    For example, I am working on my long projects alone, but I still need feedbacks. If no one can give it some while working, I need to obtain through other methods. Journal can be one. What other methods do you use ?

    Why does it feel like a distraction ? What do you dislike about journaling ? You don't explain anything, but I am interested by explanations and arguments, and alternative methods, to keep focus on. Zettelkasten like @sfast can be a help too.

    When I turn my eye
    inward, I find nothing but
    doubt and ignorance.
    (David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature)

    -- Unintentional haikus of the philosophers, Leiter Reports, September 13, 2019

    And that's the good news.

    Why is it a good new ?

    Do you feel that keeping records is… I don't know, a kind of egocentric expression of self ? There is a lot a ways to make journal. Like tracking mood, creativity, finding hidden patterns of mental functions, to do lists. My migraines journal is quite important for me, my health and my physicien.

    I prefer to face my doubts and my ignorance rather than to be a fool without conscience.

    @sfast said
    Normally, when I think about something that I write in the journal I will write a dedicated note and improve some area of my Zettelkasten with it. It is very rare that I don't have a structure within my Zettelkasten already when I am facing a problem.

    What kind of structure do you use for problem solving in your Zettelkasten ? Do you have already a post which explain that process in the forum or the website ?

  • @Will asked, “Does your journaling help you keep focus on your projects?

    For me, the short answer is no; however, there is a much longer “it depends” answer worth exploring.

    I am an avid journalist. My first recorded journal entry is around age 5 ---just a few lines of neatly penciled words describing what I did after school. I have scattered notes and journal entries through junior and high school; however, it wasn’t until I read The Majesty of Books by Stirling W. Sill (around age 21) that I went full in on note-taking and keeping a journal.

    I track journal entries by year, month, and day. Each day is self-contained as a single entry and shows to-dos for the day, Pomodoro’s timestamped and completed by projects and journal entries.

    My journal entries are often “threads,” i.e., a project or item I track across days or years. Examples would be Hiking/Climbing, My Journal 2022, Knee Replacement, Brick Barn Fitness, My Journal 2022, books I am currently reading, Zettelkasten (Project), Zettelkasten.de (posts), etc.

    Each family member and friend has a “thread.” For example, it is not unusual for me to have an entry link for [Linda, Journal and Pictures 2022], Linda and I ate lunch at Valarie’s Taco Shop today.

    I have “thread” links to major news events that I am following: [News 2022, Russia - Ukraine], [News 2022, Interest Rate] or [News 2022, Supreme Court], to name a few.

    I have witnessed the most profound implications of following these “thread” links through my Someday/Maybe goals (Bucket List Items). Repeated entries on an otherwise dormant thread can indicate when something is ready to receive a little more attention. Conversely, wishes and dreams with no action threads suggest that that particular dream probably needs to be deleted.

  • edited April 7

    @Will I would make discriminations between the journaling habit and the actual writing process.

    I used to have a journaling habit (morning pages like Julia Cameron recommends it) which I very liked. But I am already writing a lot, am capable to release my mental shackles with no problem whatsoever and I am writing a lot freely.

    My comment might be off-topic in that regard that I just create entries to my journal when I am have a thought related to the writing process. I think I have applied the above mentioned discrimination incorrectly to the topic of the thread since it is about more about journaling in general.

    So, while for me it is a distraction as I journal I recommend journaling to quite a numer of clients. :)

    @Loni Haha! You will grow fond of @ZettelDistraction's misantropic idiosyncrasies.

    @Loni said:
    What kind of structure do you use for problem solving in your Zettelkasten ? Do you have already a post which explain that process in the forum or the website ?

    Oh, it is way more simple that it seems. I have for example an entry in the ZKM2-journal on my exeptionally low agreeableness and my writing style. Normally, I'd have created a note and used it to improve my areas about temperaments, me as a person and writing within my ZK. :)

    The laconic answer would be: Structure notes.

    The maliciously laconic answer would be: Notes.

    I am a Zettler

  • @sfast said:
    Oh, it is way more simple that it seems. I have for example an entry in the ZKM2-journal on my exeptionally low agreeableness and my writing style. Normally, I'd have created a note and used it to improve my areas about temperaments, me as a person and writing within my ZK. :)

    The laconic answer would be: Structure notes.

    The maliciously laconic answer would be: Notes.

    Ah ah OK ! So, Zettelkasten is a tool to achieve project by itself, so no need journaling to make reports and track area of progress, if I understand well. I would gain with creation of a departement "how to do not offend people with questions and opinions".
    (Agreebleness is an overated one… Some people does not know how to talk to you, that's all ! :) )

    @Loni Haha! You will grow fond of @ZettelDistraction's misantropic idiosyncrasies.

    Oh, it is a normal state, so ? OK, I can deal with it. I hope he will not be offended by questions >.< However, I can't promise anything about nihilism, it tends to trigger strange behavior from me.

    @Steve625 said:
    I have witnessed the most profound implications of following these “thread” links through my Someday/Maybe goals (Bucket List Items). Repeated entries on an otherwise dormant thread can indicate when something is ready to receive a little more attention. Conversely, wishes and dreams with no action threads suggest that that particular dream probably needs to be deleted.

    What I really like about your process is that you obtain signals from different areas. How do you obtain them? Do you use an app to aggregate stats, or a system of tags ?

  • @Loni asks, "What I really like about your process is that you obtain signals from different areas. How do you obtain them? Do you use an app to aggregate stats, or a system of tags ?"

    Nothing quite so sophisticated as an app or aggregate statistics. Here are two quick examples.

    First, a list is necessary. Here is a shortlist of "Someday I will..."

    Second, you need to review the list regularly, so you don't forget what's on the list. Monthly works for me. David Allen's book Getting Things Done recommends a weekly review.

    Our brain filters information, so I want to review the list often enough so that my brain will make connections, for example. Someday/Maybe I will own a red sports car. My brain sees every red sports car as I go throughout my day, etc.

    During lunch last week, a friend of a friend spent most of the time telling our small group about their Grand Canyon rafting trip last summer. "Raft the Grand Canyon", is on my list, so I ask Who, What, Where type questions after lunch. Who was the tour guide? Where are they located? I might capture website information, phone numbers, etc. All of that goes in a journal entry linked to the [Raft the Grand Canyon].

    Here's another example that the fiction writer in you might enjoy.

    "Someday, I want to... Write a book."

    My last [Write a book] journal entry occurred on November 14, 2009, at 6:41 AM.

    Then, on November 16, 2021, I updated the entry with, "It came as quite a shock this morning when I awoke with the idea that seemed to answer a question I wasn't trying to find. The idea is simple; the question is how to write a book." The entry then explains some thoughts on using the Zettelkasten for writing.

    My [Write a Book] thread then picks up an example from @Will on how he uses a structure note for writing essays.

    In January, @saschaz released his four-part series on The Zettelkasten Method for Fiction, through the Zettelkasten.de website.

    On January 30, 2022, I bought the book The Story Grid

    Hopefully, you can see what I mean by "repeated entries on an otherwise dormant thread," means. It literally "comes alive" in my journal entries. I don't need an app for that. Sorry, Mr. Jobs.

  • edited April 7

    @Loni said:

    @ZettelDistraction said:

    @scottscheper said:
    Working on my project helps keep me focused on my project.

    Agreed.

    It is frustrating to find comments like that. It does not answer anything. Why ? How ? Arguments ?

    Admittedly the original question is vague, and the answer no less vague because "journaling" could be interpreted in many ways. I interpreted it to mean noting down feelings. Unless I happened to be recording my feelings because a physician recommended it, this is like tracking the weather. Perhaps my interpretation is less charitable than it should be. However, I took @scottscheper 's answer to be representative of the businesslike attitude of someone focused on projects in the world. To me this is admirable.

    I'm self-centered enough as it is. I don't want to compound my losses by giving feelings more weight than they deserve. In my view, I have little to no control over my feelings (perhaps they can be influenced). They lie outside the ethical sphere. Acting on them is another matter entirely. These are autobiographical comments, by the way. Perhaps they belong in a journal.

    For example, I am working on my long projects alone, but I still need feedbacks. If no one can give it some while working, I need to obtain through other methods. Journal can be one. What other methods do you use ?

    I use a calendar and a to-do list. My handwritten "fleeting" notes are the closest thing that I have to a journal. I've written about this in From Fleeting Notes to Project Notes.

    Why does it feel like a distraction ? What do you dislike about journaling ?

    For me, journaling would be a form of procrastination, on top of my contributions to this forum. :trollface:

    You don't explain anything, but I am interested by explanations and arguments, and alternative methods, to keep focus on. Zettelkasten like @sfast can be a help too.

    That's another place, however, keeping notes in a Zettelkasten about projects seems to be less effective for me.

    When I turn my eye
    inward, I find nothing but
    doubt and ignorance.
    (David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature)

    -- Unintentional haikus of the philosophers, Leiter Reports, September 13, 2019

    And that's the good news.

    Why is it a good new ?

    This is self-deprecatory humor. I mean that if it were only doubt (self-doubt in particular) and ignorance, that would be an improvement. My uncle once said, "look within and you will find nothing."

    Do you feel that keeping records is… I don't know, a kind of egocentric expression of self ?

    It depends on the records. I keep accurate financial records.

    There is a lot a ways to make journal. Like tracking mood, creativity, finding hidden patterns of mental functions, to do lists. My migraines journal is quite important for me, my health and my physicien.

    We have gone from what I took journaling to be, to keeping medical records and tracking the mundane tasks of daily living. I'm sorry that you experience migraines.

    I prefer to face my doubts and my ignorance rather than to be a fool without conscience.

    Touche'!

    My research, projects and reading are for this. Like @sfast, I don't have the bandwidth to journal in the sense that this is ordinarily taken, as a diary. There is little question that I have been foolish and still am. Matters improved after I started CPAP therapy on February 8, 2020, around the start of the coronavirus pandemic. They improved enough for me to want to disavow virtually everything I had done before then.

    As for overcoming ignorance, this is a continual struggle, which I have attempted to illustrate:

    The character on the left is me.

    Returning to businesslike attitudes, there is a quote by Raymond Geuss in "Outside Ethics" that I find compelling.

    While, however, it is true that the rejection of a theocentric view of the world will most likely bring with it a discrediting of a certain number of human attitudes that were closely associated with it—automatic deference to authority, attraction to certain kinds of solemnity, unctuousness, and obscurantism—irony is not the only alternative to piety. Another alternative is to adopt an extremely businesslike attitude, to identify oneself fully with various projects in the world, and so forth.
    -- Geuss, Raymond. Outside Ethics (p. 25). Princeton University Press.

    (Overcoming a religious background isn't a consideration--I didn't have such a background. My interest is in the familiar existential question of what to do with oneself after one's obligations and necessities are met.)

    @Loni said:

    @sfast said:
    @Loni Haha! You will grow fond of @ZettelDistraction's misantropic idiosyncrasies.

    Oh, it is a normal state, so ? OK, I can deal with it. I hope he will not be offended by questions >.<

    @sfast has my number all right.

    Post edited by ZettelDistraction on

    Erdős #2. ZK software components. “If you’re thinking without writing, you only think you’re thinking.” -- Leslie Lamport.

  • When I journaled every morning, I found that I would focus on the stuff that gets on my nerves and my anxieties more, so I eventually dropped that habit. It's not like ignoring problems helps solve them. Keeping record how I feel about them doesn't help either, though, and ruined the mood :) Actually doing something about it worked, and really pressing problems would surface either way, so in a GTD manner I'd then "just" have to take action (and e.g. record this for later).

    Which brings me to how I interpret "to journal" w.r.t. projects nowadays: I still write about my app plans, about problems I cannot yet solve, and use writing-as-thinking to get clarity. But strictly focused on a thing I need to solve and think through. That works pretty well! My project TODO's are annotated heavily. Some grew over months into almost blog-post like essays on particular data flow changes, pro's and con's. So 👍

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

  • Thank you all for your answers ! @ZettelDistraction you wrote a lot of interesting cues on your answer, and @ctietze you help me to draw something out of all of this.

    First, @ZettelDistraction, thank you for your link :
    Article
    It is a good synthesis, very clear which help me to order things. I still have to comput insights from the book so : epic thank you !

    the Zettelkasten Method is a systematic approach to academic research and non-fiction writing in which the first step is to jot down fleeting notes while reading or attending lectures and seminars, or when busy doing something else (Ahrens, 23, 41, 43). Also, Ahrens advises writers to act “[…] as if nothing counts other than writing” (Ahrens, 38). Taken literally, this maxim commits the writer to an instrumental approach to life, forever cycling through a workflow that begins with the fleeting note.

    OK, I think I get it, everything is seen through a "business" and "utilitarism" lens. "Is it usefull" -> Yes -> Fleeting note -> may join Zettelkasten or be suppressed.

    Matters improved after I started CPAP therapy on February 8, 2020, around the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

    I am glad to read that you might feel better with this therapy, but sorry to learn that you needed that in the first place.

    As for overcoming ignorance, this is a continual struggle, which I have attempted to illustrate:

    I really like your illustration, because it reminds me a lot what I feel when I work. I write fiction and make illustration, and those activities have a lot to do with decision making. From the trivial things like "what is her hair color" to the most symbolic one "What giving to my goddess-character this kind of pover or this one ?". But making decision is fine, I still have to remember them. So, Zettelkasten might help to remember things and cycling through knowledges and previous decision. This question was the same when I was in College (University ?), from the raw materials (lessons and books) to the demonstration I had to make to my teachers. Learn, think, remember, creating new knowledges.

    However… Subjectivity is a way to adding point of view, insights and, in the last refined state, knowledge. We only can feel the world through it. "Utilitarism" (it is not the most fitted word, it is frustrating, sorry, but I refer to your "business" vision) tends to see human like machine. We are not. I can "feel" that is a kind a point of view with non-human implications, but… I can't express it in a correct way. I am not fond of the "all for my little egocentric navel" approach of life, but not for the machinist optimisation either… Or for the religious and theocentrist, which is kind of the same than the previous, from my point of view.

    Ahah, Schopenhauer learnt well the art of being always right ! :D

    @ctietze said:
    When I journaled every morning, I found that I would focus on the stuff that gets on my nerves and my anxieties more, so I eventually dropped that habit.

    That is understandable :(

    It can help with ruminations of the brain… Or giving more meat to them. I write down every ruminations I can get when anxiety grows, because what is written is not mine anymore. But if writting them feed them, it becomes hurtful.

    Which brings me to how I interpret "to journal" w.r.t. projects nowadays: I still write about my app plans, about problems I cannot yet solve, and use writing-as-thinking to get clarity. But strictly focused on a thing I need to solve and think through. That works pretty well! My project TODO's are annotated heavily. Some grew over months into almost blog-post like essays on particular data flow changes, pro's and con's. So 👍

    I will give a try to annotation on my to do lists, thanks !

    to summarize :

    I can see now three aptitudes toward journaling (might be corrected if I misundertood something, I am sorry).

    • The recording one : health, stats, weather… To obtain feedbacks about something, and signals about projects. Does it help ? It depens on situation. @Will do that, @Steve625 too, they keep records of something, compare to reality, what they want the outcome to be and take actions.
    • The exploratory mind : like @Will, a space without the pressure of obtaining always something Zettelkastenable in the end. There are a lot of example on Internet too.
    • The "no" or "to do list" approach : maintain to do list feels enough, annotating it might be usefull, and working is the main way of keeping focus. Structure notes are more usefull to keep track of a project, like @sfast .

    Ok. I have things to test !

  • @Loni said:
    It can help with ruminations of the brain… Or giving more meat to them. I write down every ruminations I can get when anxiety grows, because what is written is not mine anymore. But if writting them feed them, it becomes hurtful.

    Maybe I should've journaled on loose paper and made a habit of burning it later instead of storing it in a huge-ass A4 journal ~200 pages thick. It's not like I want anyone in one hundred years to read it.

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

  • edited April 8

    @ctietze said:
    Maybe I should've journaled on loose paper and made a habit of burning it later instead of storing it in a huge-ass A4 journal ~200 pages thick. It's not like I want anyone in one hundred years to read it.

    I wouldn't worry if I were you. Large archives are a better grave than seventh pit of hell. Label this journal as "Groceries for Ma" just to be sure.

    Back to topic.
    I'm journaling only occasionally, mostly for the topics that are too emotionally sensitive to think through on my own.
    I've also tried to log my quantitative progress on several topics that seemed important (hours worked, topics studied and the like). I think it can be deemed journaling as well. And for some time it did help to maintain concentration and monitor progress.
    In the end I found out that after some months or years they become too tiresome to continue. The only quantitative journal I still maintain is the one about personal savings.
    I sometimes create ad hoc statistics on zettelkasten, my databases and the like, but I prefer to use autogenerated metadata for this.

  • @ctietze said:
    Maybe I should've journaled on loose paper and made a habit of burning it later instead of storing it in a huge-ass A4 journal ~200 pages thick. It's not like I want anyone in one hundred years to read it.

    My mother-in-law was an avid and consistent journal writer. It served a number of purposes for her, the main one being to work through all the stresses in her life (which she rarely discussed with anyone).

    The point of my story is this - be careful what you keep and what you burn (yes, burn or otherwise destroy completely). My wife's sister has read through most of those journals and been traumatized by them. My wife is going through them with the intent of culling everything mean, nasty and hurtful (and yes, burning or shredding them) - so what is left represents the person everyone knew and loved. A lot of times, no one needs to know our deepest, darkest thoughts except our journal and our therapist.

  • @sfast said:
    I have for example an entry in the ZKM2-journal on my exceptionally low agreeableness…

    This is why we get along.

    Erdős #2. ZK software components. “If you’re thinking without writing, you only think you’re thinking.” -- Leslie Lamport.

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