Zettelkasten Forum

How do YOU handle "To Read" reminders?

As I build my Zettelkasten (8 days old; a mere 70 notes but richly interlinked), I often stumble upon something that I'd like to read that is relevant. This can be one of two things: something new I have not read before, or something I have read before that may make sense to process.

In the flow of writing, and in the spirit of not multi-tasking, I'd like to quickly note what I thought I should read (with a sentence or so describing why), and park it somewhere in my ZK with an appropriate tag.

I cannot be the only person to have needed this. What do folks do? What else did you do that failed and you therefore replaced?

I can think of two classes of solutions: A dedicated Zettel for to-read items, or parking to-read on notes that triggered that wish, along with an appropriate tag such as #to_read. A third class, of course would be an external to-do list (such as Omnifocus), but that externalizing seems uncalled for on a digital ZK.



  • Hi Abhijit,

    I personally use a dedicated Zettel opened in a second tab. [ctrl]-[tab] gets me there in the blink of an eye. Everything appended to that reading list is timestamped like this:
    <!-- +m200929_1851 -->
    It is wrapped in HTML comment (mostly out of habit and text expansion), prefixed with + to denote an addition, and m to indicate it’s from me (and not from my colleagues).

    I can then link to it like this:
    from anywhere on my system (from within The Archive or not).

    Hope that helps.

  • edited September 2020

    @amahabal I use the second method you describe - that is, adding a #to_read tag on the Zettel that triggered the wish. Also on that Zettel is the reference to the document that I want to read, listed under "external links". See example below.

    I also use the tags #Unlinked and #Unfinished to easily find Zettels that need extra work.

  • I also use the tags #Unlinked and #Unfinished to easily find Zettels that need extra work.


  • Thanks, @maclm and @GeoEng51, that is useful.

    I have not used tabs before. I use streaming to Marked 2: in the presence of multiple tabs, what gets streamed to Marked?

    I will go ahead and make sections like what @GeoEng51 calls "external links". I plan to call it "opportunities" since "To Do" is more guilt-provoking for me, and I plan to put both links to read and other opportunities for developing (such as elaborating something) or spelling out the connection to some other note.

  • I distinguish between the importance of various "to read" lists. There are some things that I merely want to read by don't really need to read. And then there are things I really need to read and process.

    The latter category is (in my case) mainly academic papers. I organize these by project in my reference manager and I dedicate at least 1 hour a day to read from these reading lists. "Reading" ranges from getting a quick overview or more in-depth reading. Whenever I put something in one of these reading lists I have a very clear expectation of what I want and I know that I will get around to reading it. This ensures that they list doesn't grow too large and unfocused.

    For the former category, the "wants but not the needs", I have multiple lists scattered all over the place. I wish I had a better system, but there is only so much time in the day :)

  • I have a org-file for that. Anytime, I come across something that I don't read right away, I sort that in my org-file.

    I am a Zettler

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