The number one goal with note organization is to make it easy to find notes when we need them. That being said, we often don't know when or what note we needwe dont know our needsOftentimes we don't even have a good grasp of what the problem at hand is. So knowing the solution / need to that problem is often unclear.. It's the reason full-text search isn't the single solution to note organization.
The problem with grouping
That's where folder and tags come into play. We use folders and tags to group similar notes together, but it becomes problematic once we accumulate hundreds of notes. As more notes are taken, more folders/tags are needed. Otherwise, groups contain too many notes to manageclutter slows us downHaving clutter makes it difficult to find things or gives us less space to do what we need to do. As a result, it slows us down.
Also, complicated things usually add clutter which is why simple is often better and finding/filing notes take longer. Since it's not sustainable to grow the complexity of note organization, a compromise must be made. We either organize fewer notes or take fewer notes.
Zettelkasten as a solution
My futile attempt at note organization pushed me in search of a solution. Which is how I found ZettelkastenZettelkastenThis is a unique note organization method that functions in a similar vein to a brain—through the connection of ideas. It is proven to promote learning and isn’t restricted by any hierarchical structure. As a result, note discovery is as simple as “following a train of thought”.
Also see the two principles of zettelkasten, a new note-taking paradigm. Rather than grouping notes with folders and tags, notes are connected together like thoughts in our brainsthe brain is a network of ideasOur work through a network of neurons and these connections are strengthened based on the use which is why if you dont use it, you lose it.
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780124079083000017#:~:text=It%20is%20often%20said%20that,over%20multiple%20scales%20of%20time. Organizing notes through connections allowed me to reuse past notesinteroperable components are efficientBecause interoperabile components are self-contained, they can be reused in different situations and are easily maintainable (changing one, updates all).
notes/reuse code for efficiency and maintainability without growing note organization complexity.
In addition to filing and finding notes more efficiently, old notes were automatically resurfaced as I added new notes. This helped me build links between old and new ideas which facilitated my learningconnecting ideas improves learningAccording to Bloom's Taxonomy, we need to draw connections between ideas in order to fully understand the material on the whole. This is the case because the brain is a network of ideas
The issues with Zettelkasten right now
Right now, the issue is that people have overcomplicated the Zettelkasten systemZettelkasten shouldn't be complicated, but it is.Zettelkasten is Complicated
There are a lot of things I like about Zettelkasten, but one thing I don't like is how complicated it is to set up. According to the building blocks of Zettelkasten blog post, a typical Zettelkasten system consists of an inbox, an archive, and a reference database.
Inbox**: the gateway into your knowledge system (e.g. Google Notes, Email, Apple Notes, etc.)
Archive**: the one, trusted place to look for information (e.g. Obsidian, Roam Research, etc.)
Reference Data. The only requirement should be from the two principles of Zettelkastentwo principles of zettelkastenPrinciple of Atomicity**: Limit notes to a single topic for interoperability
* See How to create useful links
Principle of Connectivity**: Connect information together
https://zettelkasten.de/posts/overview/#principles. However, many existing workflows suggest adding many additional steps to make Zettelkasten work. I believe that the complication is a barrier to entry and prevents people from utilizing the full value of Zettelkasten.
How does Fleeting Notes simplify Zettelkasten?
Fleeting Notes is a lightweight note-taking app that resurfaces notes when you need them. A key feature of Fleeting Notes is that it does not support folders or tags. Notes are found either through search or connections. With this, we have a simple and fast app with UI that is optimized for taking notes and building connections. See my simple note-taking workflowThe simplest way to use Zettelkasten for note managementEverywhere I look, I find complicated Zettelkasten workflows that require a multi-step setup process. On top of the setup, notes must be regularly reviewed and categorized. For some, this workflow may be a godsend, but for most, it's overkill. I'm here to unveil my method of using Zettelkasten. It may be unconventional, so beware.
Zettelkasten can be distilled into two principles: take atomic notes and make connections. What this means is to take notes that are limited to to get started.