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This simple but powerful analog method will rocket your productivity

https://www.fastcompany.com/90535318/this-simple-but-powerful-analog-method-will-rocket-your-productivity

fastcompany.com

This simple but powerful analog method will rocket your productivity
A German author of more than 70 books and 400 academic articles got so much done because of his pioneering system called Zettelkasten.

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The Zettelkasten System Of Productivity

The Zettelkasten way or the ‘slip box’ method was pioneered by Niklas Luhmann, is an always-on, filing system that one can use to categorize and ‘slip’ any new insight or idea in a separate file or cabinet.

With this method, any new idea or insight now has a readymade home where it can be placed easily, with the growing collection facilitating new projects and cross-connections.

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Zettelkasten: An Indexing System For Ideas

Zettelkasten: An Indexing System For Ideas
  • The way to collect ideas using the Zettelkasten Method is to use a branching card system, where numbers and letters are used to ‘address’ or pinpoint the sequence as well as the branching hierarchy of an idea.
  • A card address can be 1/1, or ½, or 1/2a based on the idea and connecting ideas it has.
  • Another method is to add references at the bottom of the cards, jotting down the addresses of ‘related’ ideas, making cross-referencing easier.
  • This method is similar to hypertext and URLs of the digital age, though in a completely analogue form.

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Zettelkasten Method In The Digital Age

Many note-taking apps can mimic the functionality of the Zettelkasten system but have certain limitations like few backup options, and loss of insight links in case of a shutdown of the app. Others offer pristine functionality of the idea filing and linking system but have the same proprietary and database concerns.
The best way is to go manual and build a word file using hypertext links, notes and references.

One can try a mix and match approach, making sure that one is able to:

  1. quickly start a new idea or note.
  2. quickly link two or more notes.
  3. able to retrieve a note easily.
  4. is synced and is usable in multiple devices.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Taking Smart Notes

When we take notes, it should not become a stack of forgotten thoughts. Our notes should be a rich and interconnected collection of ideas we can draw on regardless of where our interests lead us.

Luhmann's slip-box

German sociologist Niklas Luhmann (1927-1998) designed his slip-box made up of index cards. They were thematically unlimited. His simple system produced a prolific output. Over his 30-year career,  Luhmann published 58 books and hundreds of articles while completing his two-volume masterwork, The Society of Society (1997).  He regularly pointed to his slip-box as the source for his fantastic productivity.

How Luhmann's slip-box worked

  • He wrote down any interesting or potentially useful ideas on uniformly sized index cards on one side only.
  • Each new index card got a sequential number, starting at 1.
  • When a new source was added to that topic or something to supplement it, he would add new index cards with letters added to the number (1a, 1b, 1c, etc.)
  • These branching connections were marked in red as close as possible, where the branch began.
  • Any of these branches could also have their own branches. (For example 21/3d26g53)
  • As he read, he would create new cards, update or add comments to existing ones, create new branches from existing cards, or create new links between cards.

11 more ideas

GTD (Getting Things Done)

GTD is a productivity method for organizing your to-dos, priorities, and schedule in a way that makes them all manageable.

Its 5 principles are:

  • Capture
  • Clarify
  • Org...

"GTD is an organizational system. It doesn't put rules around how you actually do your work. Instead, it focuses on how you capture the work you need to do, organize it, and choose what needs your attention"

"GTD is an organizational system. It doesn't put rules around how you actually do your work. Instead, it focuses on how you capture the work you need to do, organize it, and choose what needs your attention"

GTD: Capture

Capture everything. Your to-dos, your ideas, your recurring tasks, everything. Put it in a pen-and-paper notebook, a to-do app, a planner, whatever you prefer to use to get organized.

Jorge Luis Borges

“So plant your own gardens and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.”..."

Jorge Luis Borges

Taking care of your mind garden

  • Seed your mind garden with quality content. The format may impact how close you are to the source. The depth of the content you consume is not a measure of quality.
  • When consuming content, grow branches on your knowledge tree by taking notes. It will help you remember better.
  • To tend to your garden, you need to plant new ideas. Do this by replanting stems and cuttings from existing ideas you’ve added to your garden - by consistently taking notes, and combining them together, a bit like grafting.

The generation effect

It argues that you remember information better when you create your own version of it.

You can take short notes, long notes, it doesn’t matter as much as writing your thoughts in your own words.