# Zettel grappling

I'm working on my "adulting." I'm reviewing and setting habits to help guide me in times of lower clarity. Looking at ideas for creating a tool for thinking, I came up with a tool that prompts me to refine the edits to zettel titles and 'summary relevance.'

This 'tool for thinking' results from a python program tied to Keyboard Maestro that prompts me to review titles and summaries of the last ten days of newly created zettel. As an anchor, it is tied to my practice of morning journaling. It reminds me and makes it convenient to examine each zettel title and the one-sentence 'relevance' statement to see if it makes sense and stands up to scrutiny. This is added to the bottom of that template. (pictured below) Automatic, easy peasy, the cognitive load of the initiating behavior habit off-loaded to the computer. This is not an excuse for not editing the body of each zettel. A new zettel will be on the list for ten days. That means ten opportunities for giving the zettel some love.

I'm unsettled on the format. In its current form it is a bit hard to read. I will make changes for readability.

If you're interested in how this is done, have questions about my use-case, or just want to chat let me know.

Below are pictured titles and a one-sentence summary/meaning of the zettel I'm working on. These are the ideas I'm currently wrestling with. They represent a ten-day window of new zettel.

This is generated with nothing held back. I would love to talk to you about anything on this list. If any of this is of interest to you, please start a thread here, DM me, or get in touch via email.

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

• I think this is some improvement in the layout. It is less busy.
What do you think? This exercise/project has already had me editing zettel titles like a madman and thinking of positive ideas to encapsulate in the 'stinger' sentences. The list of recently created zettel, presented in this way and for this purpose, adds rocket-fueled to refactoring.

Below are the titles and a one-sentence summary/meaning/'stinger' of each zettel I've birthed into existence in the last ten days.

Nothing is held back from this list. I would **love * to talk to you about anything on this list. If any of this is of interest to you, please start a thread here, DM me, or get in touch via email.

### 15 Notes created in the last ten days

T-December 29, 2021
- Captured wild spontaneous ideas

Comprehensible Writing
- Draft

What I'm Working On
- Forum post looking for engagement.

Metacognitive Processes of Study

Secrets Of Raremes
- The rareness of experience is part of its vivacity.

Optimizing Efficiency Of Skills
- Draft

Writing An Issue Followed By Examples
- Draft

Distinguishing Large Ideas From Small Ones

Metacognitive Standards Of Evaluation In Reading
- Readers are stratified on a spectrum based on their ability to analyze text with and against these evaluation standards.

B-The Size Of Thoughts: Essays And Other Lumber - 1996
- Book of essays - Nicholson Baker

B-Kobayashi Issa's A Few Flies and I - 1970
- Book of haiku.

How To Study And Learn
- Some methods work better than others. My biases blind me to the methods that will work best.

Problems With Value and Perceptual Decisions
- Our feelings bias value-based decisions. Perceptual decisions are biased by anatomy and DNA.

Deep Thinking
- Retreat

Coming To Understand Complex Text
- Tools and dispositions that provide affordance for understanding complex text.

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

• I'm unsettled on the format. In its current form it is a bit hard to read. I will make changes for readability.

I like the first format better. Perhaps the color difference or the blue dot bullet points resonate with what I see on my computer's traditional output design. I found your exercise interesting, for two reasons. First, I recently updated a note of my own, including insights from you and Sasha regarding "15 skills that will supercharge your titling." Creating an exciting title has never been my "superpower;" however, I find that eventually, a title will present itself that works best in my mental machinery, allowing for easier recall. The review process you offer above may speed this title development along.

Second, most of the notes I've modified in the past 30 days or so appear to be personal prose (purple). The amount of personal prose makes sense as I review personal journal entries and draw out unpublished hiking and climbing blog trip reports. Of the "new" Zettel note threads (Red), I've started:

• The business cycle reflects the current status of various economic variables, including GDP (gross domestic product)...

CERN, Cerner.

• Granted, this will be a short-lived thread as Oracle has announced a takeover bid for CERN. Updating this thread is my attempt to clean up before combining it with ORCL, Oracle.

It never hurts to ask why?

• Reaching clarity on why can also help us surmount the effort required to create a change.

Outcome.

• This is a classic example of my many poor titles. It comes from David Allen's GTD outcome focus; however, it will need some drastic reformulation as the thread moves forward from here.

Projects.

• Another GTD focused Zettel note thread.

Super Compensation

• Our body's adjustment in anticipation of another stressful event that will disrupt homeostasis.

• The accumulation of (training) experiences.

Training and Heart Rate Variability (HRV)

• Discussion thread on the "potential for HRV guided training."

I find it interesting and perhaps simply an indication of my adult-level attention span that a review of new Zettel notes of, say 60 days ago, would have presented:

The Principle of Individualization in Sports Training.
Metacognitive Knowledge.
Artificial Intelligence.
Horizons of Focus. (GTD)
Fitness (aging athlete).
Problem-solving.

• @Steve625, thanks for sharing.
Tell us a bit more about the graph. Is "Zettel Note.2" a note with 120 links? It is interesting the colors of the links foreshadow the contents of the links. Purple = prose and red = new. What about the white and the one grey one?

Titling is a superpower. I feel successful until I review a zettel and find where I can improve the title. It is an incremental process. I never reach the ideal title but am always approaching it.

Are these below the titles of zettel and summaries? If so, the titles could use some elaboration. You've done a great job with the summaries. They are explicit and concise. I keep my summaries as part of each note and evolve them over time. I use an incremental process that feels like a loose, informal, spaced repetition.

This format is more readable than your image and either of my previous formats.

• The business cycle reflects the current status of various economic variables, including GDP (gross domestic product)...

CERN, Cerner.

• Granted, this will be a short-lived thread as Oracle has announced a takeover bid for CERN. Updating this thread is my attempt to clean up before combining it with ORCL, Oracle.

It never hurts to ask why?

• Reaching clarity on why can also help us surmount the effort required to create a change.

Outcome.

• This is a classic example of my many poor titles. It comes from David Allen's GTD outcome focus; however, it will need some drastic reformulation as the thread moves forward from here.

Projects.

• Another GTD focused Zettel note thread.

Super Compensation

• Our body's adjustment in anticipation of another stressful event that will disrupt homeostasis.

• The accumulation of (training) experiences.

Training and Heart Rate Variability (HRV)

• Discussion thread on the "potential for HRV guided training."

Please share how you note CERN and ORCL. You are tracking the stocks but why? Is your interest health care, databases or mega yachts?

–––––
Here is the format of version 3 of what I'm now calling "Ideas I'm Grappling With". The script automatically generates this little list by randomly selecting seven new zettel from the last ten days. Trimming the list to seven helps those of us with a shortened attention span. The script collates the title and summary, hoping to generate discussion.

Coming To Understand Complex Text
- Tools and dispositions that provide affordance for understanding complex text.
How To Study And Learn
- Some methods work better than others. My biases blind me to the methods that work best.
B-Kobayashi Issa's A Few Flies and I - 1970
- Book of haiku.
User-Generated Synthesis of Scientific Literature
- Discourse Graphing with Digital Gardens
Distinguishing Large Ideas From Small Ones
Optimizing Efficiency Of Skills
- Draft
Secrets Of Raremes
- The rareness of experience is part of its vivacity.

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

• Tell us a bit more about the graph. Is "Zettel Note.2" a note with 120 links? It is interesting the colors of the links foreshadow the contents of the links. Purple = prose and red = new. What about the white and the one grey one?

The graph "Zettel Note.2" allows me to manipulate a data type that I call "Zettel Note.2" I currently have 1,425 Zettel Note.2 type, which, when arranged by "date modified," provides me with a list of all notes I have "touched" by date order. The graph format is something I rarely use and is probably not that important. However, I like the color coding as it allows me insight when I view the graph. Although I don't use the term, a grey color code would probably be considered "fleeting." Grey color-coded notes would be news articles and information that I believe will be obsolete soon; however, I still want the note included to allow me to be able to quickly pick up a train of thought when reviewing the thread. Perhaps more on this later. White (light green) is a reference note. A quote of something I want to remember. These come from books, some articles, studies, webinars, etc. Red is a new Zettel note thread. This is perhaps the most significant difference in my use case of the Zettelkasten compared to others and is probably beyond our short discussion.

Are these below the titles of zettel and summaries? If so, the titles could use some elaboration.

Yes, from the graph, I zoomed in on the individual "Red" new Zettel Notes I had created in the past few weeks, along with the corresponding Abstract (if any). An outline with this format is a manual process; however, I was trying to match your title and "stinger" design for discussion purposes. Yes, my titles stink, as I am aware (no offense given or received).

Please share how you note CERN and ORCL. You are tracking the stocks but why? Is your interest health care, databases or mega yachts?

CERN and ORCL are perhaps good illustrations of my use case for a Zettelkasten. I am still active in my career of 33 years. Although my company prohibits my discussion of investments in open forums, suffice it to say I have a considerable number of topics similar to your question about CERN and ORCL. Pick a subject in today's world that affects finance, and I probably have a Zettel note thread on that topic. My use case is to latch onto a line quickly, bring myself up to date on past thoughts, make decisions and move on. I follow the broader picture in that the company I work for has analysts who calculate ratios and project future earnings, make buy or sell recommendations. However, a software company that you are more likely to find at your local AutoZone store tracking inventory moving into healthcare is something of note. Not good or bad at this point, but something I'll follow for future reference.

My system will never generate the notes automatically as you have done here, and I am somewhat jealous. However, I think a systemic review of titles and "stingers" is a perfect way to continue evolving the note to more accurately reflect what is taking place in the note.

p.s. You'd be surprised how many notes I have with your name in the reference. I've enjoyed your insights into shaping how I use the Zettelkasten. At some point, Zettelkasten.de probably needs to address citations when making forum quotes to address this, simply putting "max2," "zk_1000," or "zetteldistraction" (to name a few) as authors are probably not in anyone's interest. It is quite possible there is a way to obtain the author's full name and I simply don't know how.

• @Steve625 said
My system will never generate the notes automatically as you have done here, and I am somewhat jealous. However, I think a systemic review of titles and "stingers" is a perfect way to continue evolving the note to more accurately reflect what is taking place in the note.

What system do you use? Does it keep the notes in separate files or in one big database, maybe an Oracle DB?

I've been experimenting a way to help with a sort of spaced petition. I find value in reviewing, however briefly, my zettel from the past, not just storing and forgetting. During my morning practice I am presented on my journaling template links to the new news from yesterday, one year ago, two years ago, and three years ago. It averages about a dozen notes to review. I guess I'm using a spaced repetition interval of a year. The review process doesn't feel onerous because the average atomic zettel is 225 words and this process only takes about 15 mins and has surfaced all kinds of insights. This workflow simulates me to update even three year old zettel making them fresh. Each morning I look forward to this review process.

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

• @Will said:
I've been experimenting a way to help with a sort of spaced repetition. I find value in reviewing, however briefly, my zettel from the past, not just storing and forgetting. During my morning practice I am presented on my journaling template links to the new news from yesterday, one year ago, two years ago, and three years ago. It averages about a dozen notes to review. I guess I'm using a spaced repetition interval of a year. The review process doesn't feel onerous because the average atomic zettel is 225 words and this process only takes about 15 mins and has surfaced all kinds of insights. This workflow simulates me to update even three year old zettel making them fresh. Each morning I look forward to this review process.

This is a great idea; thanks for sharing it! I don't have anywhere near the number of zettels as you, but I have spent dedicated time to capturing ideas that are important to me. And I do review them occasionally, in a haphazard sort of way. I like the concept of being more organized and methodical about that, drawing more value out of my ZK and also discovering new connections.

• There is a better way to interact with zettel than traditional spaced repetition. SR has always seemed like it would take so much time for a questionable return. SR helps with learning facts and answering questions in a test-taking situation. SR becomes relevant in some professions. Instead of a static response to predefined prompts, incrementally refactoring brings new and novel ideas to life. Repetitively refactoring creatively refreshes deep cross-connections with your knowledge schemas.

Habits are funny things. Daunting in the dreaming stage. Once established, they are easy peasy, and we wonder at our initial hesitation.

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

• What system do you use? Does it keep the notes in separate files or in one big database, maybe an Oracle DB?

I've used TheBrain since December 2005. I hesitate to mention my base software because the topic shifts to the application versus the discussion at hand in past forum conversations. As Sascha says in his 2nd edition teaser, "All too quickly, we believe that we need this or that software because it does something unique, something irreplaceable for us. This makes us dependent and puts shackles on our thinking. This is harmful to our minds." I couldn't agree more. TheBrain has some unique bells and whistles, most of which I don't use. I don't know much about the inner workings; however, TheBrain acts more like an interface creating files on my hard drive (which I love versus the cloud) and then allows me to put whatever I want into the file, i.e., pdf's, pictures, text, etc. The software uses a scaled-down version of Markdown as its text editor. I currently have 31,054 such files. Of which 1,425 are the Zettel Note.2 type we discussed earlier. One thousand seven hundred and forty (1,740) make up an earlier Zettel Note format that I am in the process of converting to Zettel Note.2, and I have several thousand notes scattered among the rest. The sheer size of my note archive eventually ground it to a halt, primarily because the database had become so unwieldy that I couldn't find anything. I found Zettelkasten.de in May 2019, joined the forums in October of that same year. After two years of sometimes frustrating attempts to nest a Zettelkasten among the existing notes, I have finally found a workable solution for me.

I've been experimenting a way to help with a sort of spaced petition. I find value in reviewing, however briefly, my zettel from the past, not just storing and forgetting.

I attempted a similar spaced repetition approach with my notes in 2013. After reading Dr. Samuel Johnson, "People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed." I can set up calendar reminders for each thought and quickly added reminders to newly created ideas. Unfortunately, I dismantled the calendar reminders two years later as, once again, it became unwieldy. I sincerely hope you have better luck. My spaced repetition is now finding a thought or thread I perhaps had forgotten about and adding it to my growing Zettelkasten format.

This morning I came across a relevant and somewhat circular example to share. It shows the value of the type of annualized spaced refactoring in incrementally changing/growing my mind/knowledge. Looking at a zettel from one year ago, it outlined my thoughts on @sfast's comments about SR. At the time I thought Sascha wasn't considering the potential value of SR. I must have been under SR's spell. I've since revised my thinking and now refactored this zettel. While SR might have some value in a limited set of situations, it is a distraction when interacting with my zettelkasten. SR is counter productive in the knowledge/ideation realm and there are many other tools that spark creative ideation.

Now refactored.

---
UUID:       ›[[202101040552]]
cdate:      01-04-2021 05:52 AM
tags:      #spaced-repetition
---
# Better Than Spaced Repetition
Subatomic: Increase the depth of zettel refactoring.

This might be the answer. Leave SRMS alone. SRMS is for the person who have to recall from memory complexity. Leave alone or incorporate at my own pace and see what sticks. Sascha's opinion of SR is formed through how he's been exposed to it. Mine is formed by how I was exposed to SR. (Now mine is changing. January 4, 2022)

This is from [How do you incorporate memorization with the zettlekasten method. — Zettelkasten Forum](https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/comment/9918/#Comment_9918)

@sfast beats the old drum: A better learning method than spaced repetition is **increasing the depth of processing**:

- Multi-round compression of knowledge and compression.
- Re-Writing in your own words (more than once)
- Connecting knowledge (not just notes)
- Integrating into bigger picture
- Practical application
- Different senses (reading, imagery, speaking, listening,...)

If you just want to be able to answer questions, then spaced repetitions might be more an economical approach than knowledge development. These are two separate domains.

While SR might have some value in a limited set of situations, it is a distraction when interacting with my zettelkasten. SR is counter productive in the knowledge/ideation realm and there are many other tools that spark creative ideation.



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

• @Will (and others)

I notice when some people post comments, they end up in a yellow box and each separate line is not wrapped (e.g., in the most recent one in this post, you have to scroll multiple times to read the line under "Subatomic:..."). What causes the yellow box (some method of pasting information?) and is there some way to do so but also get the lines to wrap.

I must admit, most of the time when I see these yellow boxes now, I ignore them, because I do not want to continue scrolling left and right to read the content.

Not to detract from the discussion, which is otherwise interesting, but I guess my frustration came more to the front than usual

• @Steve625 said:
I attempted a similar spaced repetition approach with my notes in 2013. After reading Dr. Samuel Johnson, "People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed." I can set up calendar reminders for each thought and quickly added reminders to newly created ideas. Unfortunately, I dismantled the calendar reminders two years later as, once again, it became unwieldy. I sincerely hope you have better luck. My spaced repetition is now finding a thought or thread I perhaps had forgotten about and adding it to my growing Zettelkasten format.

Unwieldy reminders and prompts can overwhelm any good intention. I quickly found that a weekly or monthly new zettel review was too demanding and time-consuming. A review on the zettel created "x" years ago, on this date, is generally not that many. I avg. a little over two new zettel per day. Counting new zettel created yesterday and the zettel from the past three years, this totals to an avg. of nine zettel to review each morning. This may become too onerous once my zettelkasten grow 10x but that will be 10x years from now and who knows.

Reviewing is kept casual. I let my eye and moods wander. If something pikes my interest then I pounce. If I'm under a time crunch, I add a tag to the zettel to place it in my "proofing oven" for attention when I have more time. If I keep this up, I know I'll see the note next year if not sooner.

Weird coincidence - I switched from a sliding review of zettel created in the last ten days to my current review workflow on Jan 3, 2021 - One year ago yesterday. This means I've reviewed every zettel I've ever created. Just a few notes reviewed each day and now am starting on a second round of review. We'll see.

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

• @GeoEng51 said:
@Will (and others)

I notice when some people post comments, they end up in a yellow box and each separate line is not wrapped (e.g., in the most recent one in this post, you have to scroll multiple times to read the line under "Subatomic:..."). What causes the yellow box (some method of pasting information?) and is there some way to do so but also get the lines to wrap.

I must admit, most of the time when I see these yellow boxes now, I ignore them, because I do not want to continue scrolling left and right to read the content.

Not to detract from the discussion, which is otherwise interesting, but I guess my frustration came more to the front than usual

I posted the entire note in a "code" block. I did this because I want to share the text. You can steal the text unlike when posting a screenshot.

I was unaware of the non-wrapping. The text is perfectly wrapped in my browser. I use Safari, are you using one of them-thar other browsers?

I'm switching to just imbedding the text and I'll work on making it clear where the forum post ends and the contents of the zettel begin. We'll see.

---
UUID: ›[[202101040552]]
cdate: 01-04-2021 05:52 AM
tags: #spaced-repetition
---

### Better Than Spaced Repetition

Subatomic: Increase the depth of zettel refactoring.

This might be the answer. Leave SRMS alone. SRMS is for the person who have to recall from memory complexity. Leave alone or incorporate at my own pace and see what sticks. Sascha's opinion of SR is formed through how he's been exposed to it. Mine is formed by how I was exposed to SR. (Now mine is changing. January 4, 2022)

@sfast beats the old drum: A better learning method than spaced repetition is increasing the depth of processing:

• Multi-round compression of knowledge and compression.
• Re-Writing in your own words (more than once)
• Connecting knowledge (not just notes)
• Integrating into bigger picture
• Practical application
• Different senses (reading, imagery, speaking, listening,...)

If you just want to be able to answer questions, then spaced repetitions might be more an economical approach than knowledge development.

While SR might have some value in a limited set of situations, it is a distraction when interacting with my zettelkasten. SR is counter productive in the knowledge/ideation realm and there are many other tools that spark creative ideation.

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

• I've heard your pleas and made code-blocks wrap lines. That's off by default because you don't want arbitrary line wrapping in program source code, but that's not what we're sharing here. And if someone is, they are the most capable to quickly add manual line breaks where needed.

You may need to refresh the page and clear your cache for the forum with ⌘⇧R or similar

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

• @Will and @ctietze Thanks! I appreciate that - it will improve readability immensely. I'm uncertain why pasting as a code block would be preferred to just the normal pasting of text into a post, but that's probably a moot point

I use Firefox as my browser.