The natural progress of Zettelkasten

GTD and the Zettelkasten methods are bottom-up processes, which means we don’t start with setting a goal that we want to reach, but instead we work with the things that we have at the current moment. The Zettelkasten – similarly to the Natural Planning Model of GTD – naturally let your notes to form into a concrete thing. It is the complete opposite of the traditional view of research which starts by setting the final goal or state that we have to reach.




The physical process of Zettelkasten

The Zettelkasten method breaks down the thinking process into physical steps which can be acquired as habits.

Thinking – the ability to connect and understand things – becomes a physical routine.

These Here are the steps:

  1. Collecting and writing down ideas while I’m watching or reading something.
  2. Processing information by phrasing it in my own words, then adding the note to my Zettelkasten (one though thought is one card).
  3. Optional linking and connecting with existing notes in the Zettelkasten to create a network of information.

This routine is very similar to GTD, which is also the thinking process broken down to physical steps and habits.



The Weekly Review is the hardest to implement from GTD, but it’s the most important routine to get myself familiar with. Here’s why:

  • I have a basic anchor once a week, when I became mindful with my commitments and that gives me a relief so I can trust in my system. Nothing slips.
  • Reviewing my waiting fors then pinging people keeps that loop alive. People start to feel I demand stuff from them and they can’t escape from their responsibilities. At least from those that involve me.
  • Reviewing my stuff feels like mindfulness meditation. I pay attention what’s on my mind, then I make proactive decisions about them. This way I can relax.