About TakeSmartNotes

TakeSmartNotes is a project dedicated to helping students, academics and nonfiction writers get more done - ideally with more fun and less effort. I never found a book on how to organize academic and nonfiction writing convincing enough that I felt good about recommending it to my students.
There are great books on time- and self-management in general, like David Allen’s “Getting Things Done,” but they usually don’t work for an open-ended process like research. Specific books on academic writing, on the other hand, are usually more collections of tips and tricks and not systematic enough to make a real difference. But students need a good book on note-taking, otherwise they waste their time re-reading without learning, making comments in the margins of texts they will never find again or searching hours for quotes they only vaguely remember! That is why I had to write this book. I spent a lot of time trying out different note-taking systems and started four times over with different slip-boxes: Two on different sizes of paper and one in HTML before I settled with Lüdecke’s Zettelkasten. I learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t. As someone said: Learning from experience is the best way to learn - especially if it is the experience of others.

I also offer coaching sessions via Skype or in person (if we happen to be in the same city) - not only about writing and studying, but also about getting more clarity in life in general. I use a broad variety of concepts and mental models and speak both German and English. I have a non-judgmental approach and am pretty open-minded, but I stay clear of anything esoteric or irrational.

Even if I might not have time right away, it should be possible to organize something 2-4 weeks in advance. Drop me a line if you are interested.


About the Author

I am interested in too many different things to qualify for a straightforward career. I consider myself lucky to not have to, and to be able to do what I like doing.

I worked at different universities, lastly as an interim professor at the University for the German Federal Armed Forces in Munich. I had the offer for another contract, but also the opportunity to live in Bangkok and travel through Asia for a while - which is what I wisely chose to do for the last two years. I am now back in my hometown of Hamburg, Germany.

My idea of a perfect day involves a lot of sitting in a chair, reading and thinking. The note-taking system allows me to turn this indulgence into a publication once in a while. My last book turned out pretty well, I believe, and is translated into English.