Building Zettelkasten/Slip Box using Notion

A two-page notion template that follows the Zettelkasten method basics — atomic notes, a reference to the source, and linking of notes. Template available for free.

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Analog Slip Box. Credits Wikimedia Commons, Kai Schreiber

I read How to Take Smart Notes with an objective in mind — how to effectively categorize/use my Kindle Highlights. The book explained the concept of the Zettelkasten method, and I started trying it slowly.

The first step I did was making ‘own’ ‘byte-sized’ notes from highlights and used Kanban board inside Notion to find relation. I liked that approach; being a Product Designer working on Enterprise SaaS product, the idea breaking down of ideas to granular size, and the opportunity it provides was clear for me. (Check the focus template for notion, it has the first version)But that was not a Slip box. It was more like building stories from flash cards.

But that was not a Slip box. It was more like making stories from flash cards.So I spend some time rereading notes I made from How to Take Smart Notes and started building this Notion Template based on four core principles.

  1. Notes should be atomic. It has to be open and uncluttered.
  2. Note should have proper reference to the source.
  3. There should be a way to link notes, and modifying it has to be simple.
  4. Never lose any notes. Lost/unconnected notes make Zettel just a box of cards.

How To Use this Template: Database Glossary

  1. Reference Box is the place for all your source materials.
  2. Slip Box is the master database where you store all the information

How To Build Knowledge System

  1. Add your source of information to Reference Box
  2. Add all your atomic notes to Slip Box (one information per note), Use proper title or Alpha-Numeric Titles for sorting.
  3. Link the note to the source at Reference Box, and add Tag for categorization.
  4. If this is an idea related to an existing idea, link to it using Previous and Next Fields, and mark ‘Connected’ on Type.
  5. Else, mark Type as ‘Start’ to treat it as starting card of a new Idea

How To Use Zettelkasten

  1. Go to Lost Cards view. You will get a list of cards that has no Previous or next but are marked as ‘Connected.’
  2. Go through those cards and connect it to a related idea or make it a new idea by changing the Type property to ‘Start.’
  3. Go to ‘Start Cards’, start reading it, and the related one and keep reading!

Adding Notes In Between

Internal Branching or the possibility to add place a new note between two notes is what makes Zettelkasten powerful in open organizing. This notion template makes it easy by providing a ‘Branching’ View for database.

If we want to place a “NEW” note between Note 1 and Note 2.

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  1. Go to Slip Box Branching View
  2. Set ‘Note 2’ as Next for New
  3. Remove ‘Note 2’ from Note 1’s Next
  4. Replace Note 1’s next with ‘New’

Dashboard

Template dashboard page provides two Quick views to Slip Box DB, One that lists all Start Cards, and one that lists Cards without any links. First helps you think, and second helps you to untangle the mess as early as possible.

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Link to Notion Template. Sign in to Notion, Duplicate the template and start using it! Happy Zettel-ing! :D

Written by

Designer. Maker. Type Designer. UI/UX Guy. Believes in Lord Dinkan & Oldmonk. Currently leading Designs at Kaleyra.

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