Zettelkasten vs gtd : What’s the difference ? Essential Guide

Zettelkasten vs gtd ( Getting things done)

Zettelkasten vs gtd

  • Zettelkasten and GTD (getting things done) are popular methods for highly effective knowledge and task management.
  • The principles and procedures that underpin both are similar in some ways and dissimilar in others.

Here is our detailed guide about both the methods and various questions related to Zettelkasten vs gtd (getting things done).

This guide will help you understand the similarities, and differences between both the methods and when to use which method.

What is the Zettelkasten method?

Zettelkasten is a German word that means ” note box“.It’s personal management and note-taking system.

German sociologist Niklas Luhmann used this method extensively for his research where he used about 90000 index cards.

If we break down the German word Zettel—-Kasten.

Zettel means – note, piece of paper, a slip of paper and Kasten means box.

  • The idea was to write the important information on a piece of paper and keep that Zettel or slip in an indexed box.
  • The indexed box will have all the information categorized in one box which will give you an organized system with similar notes interlinked and grouped together. It can be seen as a Knowledge management System where you store important pieces of information to which you can later refer.

How the Zettelkasten method works :

  • First, write down your thought or idea on a single piece of paper in your own words which you can understand and refer to later without the need to look for the actual source of information.
  • Second, the note which your created need to be interlinked to another similar piece of information in your Zettelkasten.

In a nutshell, the Zettelkasten method can be seen as a second brain where you store the important information, thoughts, and ideas which will help you retrieve them faster.

What is the Getting things done system(methodology)?

  • The popular task management method Getting Things Done, or GTD for short, was invented by productivity guru David Allen.
  • It takes the actual fact into consideration which is that more information is moving around within your mind. The harder it becomes to identify and decide which one needs a priority.
  • Which will result in simply thinking about the tasks and not taking any action
  • When you have a lot of knowledge in your head, it might cause stress and ambiguity.

Getting Things Done (GTD) is a time management and productivity method that uses a comprehensive system of lists and calendars to help you finish activities and meet obligations in a stress-free and effective manner.

GTD consists of five simple steps :

  1. Capture: Anything that catches your attention should be written down, recorded, or gathered.
  2. Clarify: Is it possible to put it into practice? If this is the case, determine the next course of action and project If it isn’t, decide whether it is trash, a reference, or something that should be put on hold.
  3. Organize: Place reminders of your organized information in strategic locations.
  4. Reflect: To recover control and attention, update and evaluate all relevant system information.
  5. Engage: Make confident and clear action decisions by relying on your trusted system.

Zettelkasten vs gtd

What are the differences between Zettelkasten and GTD?

  • The goal of a Zettelkasten is to improve your learning and knowledge creation process and can be seen as an approach to taking efficient notes with interlinking. (Knowledge Management System )
  • On the other hand, GTD is can be seen as a time-management, task management system which helps you organize, track and finish your tasks without being stressed.

GTD has a five-step process where you capture, clarify, organize, review and engage information whereas Zettel consists of mainly two steps

Where can I use Zettelkasten?

  • You can use the Zettelkasten method for Keyword notes. In keywords notes, you can create a keyword note index and write important sub-topics within that keyword.
  • It can be used for literature notes. In literature notes, you write the original concept in your words so as to connect and remember it even after n number of years.
  • Zettelkasten can also be used to take permanent Notes.
  • Zettelkasten can also be used to take fleeting Notes which is a kind of reminder for important ideas.
  • It can be also used to take index Notes.

Where can I use GTD?

  • When you want to have multiple responsibilities and you want to do multi-tasking without being stressed.
  • When you start something but feel like it takes for the task to finish.
  • When you worry that you need to remember a lot of things.
  • You should try it if you have never used the system before to manage important tasks.
  • If You worry about missing minute details.

We hope this article on Zettelkasten vs gtd was helpful.

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