ZettelKasten is a form of personal knowledge base. I will describe it later from my POV, but you can read more here.
The point of ZettelKasten is to have:
- short notes
- one note describes one topic, they are brief
- alternatively, card is a hub, index for other cards, a reference, entry point
- notes link to other cards when they are related
- you can have permanent notes, you can have notes for given project, or temporary notes to be thrown away in the end of the activity
As I use Notion as my inbox, weekly plan, idea storage, journal, I was thinking how to add even my personal knowledge database. So I have built myself an easy implementation.
In my implementation, I use a database within Notion. The whole ZettelKasten is in one table.
- One card is one topic
- I have Hub cards that are entry points
- I tag my cards
- I link cards and I want backlinks too (when I link between cards, it creates a backlink automatically)
My Zettel home looks like this. This is a list of hubs. I have current hubs (links) and I have hubs I plan to create (these are just text notes).
Just below hubs, I have a table with my cards. These are very simple. They have a name, tags, links and backlinks and contents.
Within a card (like a Strategy hub here) I can have contents or the contents are empty and the hub is just walkthrough (like learning hub).
Advantages of this is that every single note is easy to link with each other, I get backlinks for free. Also, it is very easy to link to any card Notion-wide. But there are two disadvantages. First, Notion is not very fast. Working with Obsidian.md, Roam Research, Bear is very fast. So one must sometimes wait for links to show up. I believe Notion will figure it out over time. I am very commited to using Notion. After years in Day One, years in OneNote, years in Bear, I believe Notion is really Next Big Thing for me.
Second, there’s no way I am aware of to really enter new card with a keyboard shortcut into a database within Notion. In this moment, I have a couple of inboxes (I experiment with Drafts app, I have short notes inbox in Notion, long notes inbox in Notion, 2Do inbox, lots of notes to walk through in Bear, OneNote and Day One).
Things I plan to improve in my ZettelKasten workflow:
- Get used to processing all inboxes not only to tasks and projects notes, but also to ZettelKasten.
- Thinking what information would help me that day in my work and building them.
- Building ‘cardsets’ where I will make more cards available easily for me when working (should they be ZettelKasten cards or sections in my weekly plans?)