Zettelkasten 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.

On top of a complicated setup, this tri-system approach adds limitations and friction when using Zettelkasten. For example, transferring notes from the inbox to the archive. This process is a requirement, not an option. In other words, we’ll need to regularly transfer items from my inbox to the archive. For some, this additional step is a deal-breaker. On the flip side, the option of writing directly to the note archive (skipping the inbox) typically adds additional friction.

Zettelkasten Workflow

# Finding a better solution

At its core, Zettelkasten can be distilled into two principles

As long as these two principles are maintained, our workflows can still be Zettelkasten. My approach to this problem is to create one system that combines the inbox, the archive, and the reference database into one system. Given that connections are what make Zettelkasten powerful, having a single generalized interconnected system is better than having three specialized systems (inbox, archive, reference database).

This single system needs to have certain criteria in order to perform well:

This is why I created an application to simplify the typical Zettelkasten system. The goal of this application is to lower the barrier of entry for Zettelkasten and to help more people to be productive. If you’re interested, read my blog post about my simple Zettelkasten workflow.