Level 3️⃣: Permanent notes - Deepstash
Zettelkasten’s 3 Note-Taking Levels Help You Harvest Your Thoughts

Zettelkasten’s 3 Note-Taking Levels Help You Harvest Your Thoughts

Zettelkasten’s 3 Note-Taking Levels Help You Harvest Your Thoughts




Keep reading for FREE

Level 3️⃣: Permanent notes

Permanent notes are the real value-adders. You create them by looking through your fleeting and literature notes. Ideally, you create them once a day.

Both Sönke Ahren and Andy Matuschak say a knowledge worker’s productivity should be measured by the number of permanent notes they write in a day.

“If you had to set one metric to use as a leading indicator for yourself as a knowledge worker, the best I know might be the number of Evergreen notes written per day.”


21 reads

Invented by Niklas Luhmann

Niklas Luhmann , a notable sociologist, was living proof for a system that is effective. During his life, he wrote 70 books and 500 scholarly articles. He attributes his success to a note-taking system called the Zettelkasten , which is the German word for slip box (Luhmann’s system was done on index cards or “slips,” stored in boxes, and later digitized).


98 reads

Level 1️⃣: Fleeting Notes

Fleeting notes are ideas that pop into your mind as you go through your day. They can be really short, just like one word. You don’t need to organize them. They just serve as reminders of your thinking.

These notes have no value except as stepping stones for turning literature notes into permanent notes. You discard the fleeting notes once you transformed them into permanent notes (more on that in level 3).


38 reads

Literature notes vs. Permanent notes

Literature notes vs. Permanent notes

Sometimes permanent notes are truly original. Other times they can be just a reference to the original source added with a personal anecdote.

Permanent notes are no holy grail — but a work in progress. Don’t be afraid to write them. You can change and update them whenever you want: what permanent really means is that they’re permanently useful to you.


29 reads

Level 2️⃣: Literature notes

You capture literature notes from the content you consume. It’s your bullet-point summary from other people’s ideas. I create these notes for all books, podcasts, articles, or videos I find valuable.


47 reads

Good cross-references increases your notes' value

“Making good cross-references is a matter of serious thinking and a crucial part of the development of thoughts.”

Here are two questions to ask yourself when you create references for your literature notes. Answering them will help you make good cross-references:

  1. In which circumstance do I want to find this note?
  2. When and how will I use this idea?


21 reads

How to create permanent notes

As a rule of thumb, you can create permanent notes about every topic you're curious about or working on. When you’re in doubt, ask yourself whether you’re curious to explore your idea further.

When you create permanent notes, you think for yourself. In contrast to literature notes, you don’t summarize somebody else's thoughts.

While your literature notes are bullets, your permanent notes are written prose. A reader of your permanent note should understand it without reading its source.


20 reads

A Zettelkasten can work as an idea-generation machine

Creating a personal knowledge database can feel difficult. First, the many options and tutorials confuse you. Then, building a system slows down your consumption speed.

A Zettelkasten can work as an idea-generation machine. You discover related ideas that you hadn’t thought of in the first place. As your notes grow, you likely start seeing puzzle pieces for the bigger picture. This picture can serve as the basis of your original work.


12 reads

Use context to create a notes network

A note is only as useful as the context you place it in. A note’s true value unfolds in its network of connections and relationships to others.

You don’t have to use your brain anymore to find separate ideas from different books related to each other. In a Zettelkasten, you don’t file notes in the context you found them but in the context in which you want to discover them.


22 reads

What makes good literature notes

You can be extremely selective, or simply takes notes upon asking yourself:

  • What is interesting about this?
  • What’s so relevant it’s worth noting down?

By transforming consumed content into literature notes, you're using one of the most effective learning strategies. When you elaborate, you rephrase new information in your own words and connect it to existing knowledge. You’ll make it more likely to remember what you read.


31 reads



36 yr old product guy. Interested in meditation, product design and the future.


From note-taking to note-making

From note-taking to note-making

From note-taking to note-making


From note-taking to note-making

From note-taking to note-making

How to choose the right note-taking app

How to choose the right note-taking app

Ready for the next level?

Read Like a Pro


Explore the World’s

Best Ideas

200,000+ ideas on pretty much any topic. Created by the smartest people around & well-organized so you can explore at will.

An Idea for Everything

Explore the biggest library of insights. And we've infused it with powerful filtering tools so you can easily find what you need.

Knowledge Library

Powerful Saving & Organizational Tools

Save ideas for later reading, for personalized stashes, or for remembering it later.

# Personal Growth

Take Your Ideas


Organize your ideas & listen on the go. And with Pro, there are no limits.

Listen on the go

Just press play and we take care of the words.

Never worry about spotty connections

No Internet access? No problem. Within the mobile app, all your ideas are available, even when offline.

Get Organized with Stashes

Ideas for your next work project? Quotes that inspire you? Put them in the right place so you never lose them.


2 Million Stashers



5,740 Reviews

App Store



72,690 Reviews

Google Play

Ashley Anthony

This app is LOADED with RELEVANT, HELPFUL, AND EDUCATIONAL material. It is creatively intellectual, yet minimal enough to not overstimulate and create a learning block. I am exceptionally impressed with this app!

Shankul Varada

Best app ever! You heard it right. This app has helped me get back on my quest to get things done while equipping myself with knowledge everyday.

Sean Green

Great interesting short snippets of informative articles. Highly recommended to anyone who loves information and lacks patience.


Don’t look further if you love learning new things. A refreshing concept that provides quick ideas for busy thought leaders.

Ghazala Begum

Even five minutes a day will improve your thinking. I've come across new ideas and learnt to improve existing ways to become more motivated, confident and happier.

Giovanna Scalzone

Brilliant. It feels fresh and encouraging. So many interesting pieces of information that are just enough to absorb and apply. So happy I found this.

Laetitia Berton

I have only been using it for a few days now, but I have found answers to questions I had never consciously formulated, or to problems I face everyday at work or at home. I wish I had found this earlier, highly recommended!

Jamyson Haug

Great for quick bits of information and interesting ideas around whatever topics you are interested in. Visually, it looks great as well.

Read & Learn

20x Faster





Access to 200,000+ ideas

Access to the mobile app

Unlimited idea saving & library

Unlimited history

Unlimited listening to ideas

Downloading & offline access

Personalized recommendations


Claim Your Limited Offer

Get Deepstash Pro


75% OFF | 1-Year Pro Subscription

Claim Offer