Strategies for growing a PKM/Zettelkasten with multiple topics?

There are a lot of smart people here so I hope to get some note-taking advice. :slightly_smiling_face:

In my Zettelkasten/PKM I study 14 main topics. They share common themes, but still, they are different topics. My goal is to learn (and ultimately master) those 14 topics.

What are practical strategies to develop and grow those topics?

I understand that learning a subject area daily is ideal. But even if I spend 15 minutes per topic, that’s 3.5 hours per day. I can only wish to have that time to work on my Zettelkasten!

I can focus on a single topic at a time, but then I might for instance ignore the other topics for 3 weeks, and that’s not ideal either.

How do you handle studying and growing multiple topics?

If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. You’re right: it’s not realistic to assume you spend time on every subject every day. I’d recommend focusing on a few at a time, based on what is grabbing your interest.

Keep in mind one of the purposes of zettelkasten is not to continually pump information into a select area of topics and ignoring everything else; it’s establishing relationships between different topics in unexpected ways, following serendipity. So your topics should not be so discretely separate anyway. There ultimately should and will be links between them. Otherwise you may as well just be taking hierarchical notes.

I’m doing something somewhat similar, with an index that links to the primary note in each of the topics. Because I have each topic in a folder, I can just go on my computers file explorer and see how many files are in each topic. At the start of every week I list the amount of notes next to the link for each topic in my index. If you want some screenshots, feel free to PM me.

Thanks for the input! :slightly_smiling_face:

Thanks, that seems like a viable way to go. Although I’ll need some system probably so I don’t only do the work I find interesting.

That’s interesting, you use quotas for each topic per time amount (a week in your case)?

Thanks for the offer, I’ll send you a message to learn more details. :slightly_smiling_face:

I would advise against keeping the 14 categories separate. I for example have notes on politics and marketing (among others) and have found interesting connections between the two that I would not have expected or realized otherwise. Those emergent connections are the whole point of a Zettelkasten. Just put everything into the same bucket and see what happens.

2 Likes

I totally agree with this. I don’t keep my categories separate.

My question was about how to grow multiple categories in a good way, and what strategies people use for this.

For your Zettelkasten, for example, if you work three months only on your politics notes, then the marketing and other topics will not grow. That might not be a problem if you don’t want to learn marketing, but if you want to learn both politics and marketing at the same time, you’ll need some strategy to balance those topics. That is what my question is about. :slightly_smiling_face:

Oh, I see. I don’t put any particular effort in focusing on one thing or another. I don’t want my ZK to be a job, it’s just a place to collect whatever I’m interested in at the moment. It grows in a way that reflects my personal journey (not to be too cheesy!)