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. 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.
About the Author
Interested in too many different things to qualify for a straightforward career, I write, coach and give talks on various subjects.
I worked at different universities, lastly as an interim professor for philosophy of education at the University for the German Federal Armed Forces in Munich, before moving to Bangkok and travelling Asia for a couple of 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 was about the distinction between experiment and exploration and is available in German and English.