I’ve recently been experimenting with the Zettelkasten method for organizing information gleaned from reading and other content I consume. I’m still getting the hang of it, but, boiled down to its essence, the general process is:
- Quickly capture any raw clippings that stand out to you (a quote, passage, etc) in an inbox.
- Process your inbox, rewriting the clipping in your own voice, adding your own thinking on it, directly quoting the piece, etc – and adding any tags or references to other notes.
- Save it to “permanent” storage, easily referenced by tag.
In hindsight, our approach to contact management that arose organically through years of user feedback was much the same, and it’s still something I strongly believe in as a strategy for managing your important relationships.
- Capture the interactions you have and people of any interest. This can be a hybrid of manual capture (note-taking, business card scanning), and automatic (inbox aggregation). The latter brings in everyone you talk to digitally, and the former can be reserved for more notable interactions (coffee meeting vs talking to the barista).
- At a later date, process and organize those relationships. A baseline filter is a decision on deleting/archiving a contact. From there, applying any organization to the contact (e.g. buckets, categories, groups, tags, location) and any additional information (notes, work history, to-dos) allows you to easily reference that relationship later.
- As this is being done in digitally, the “permanent” storage is already there. At a later point, you can leverage this database to identify people with common interests, desired skill sets, etc.