# Zettelkasten disregards planning
The conventional method for writing would normally involves planning. You would plan on what you want to write, then you start to gather the materials that are relevant to what you would want to write. Planning in general works as it encourages you to stick and finish what you have planned.
Sticking to a plan, however, requires willpower (Ahrens 6) and willpower is not a sustainable way to writing, especially when what you write takes a multi year of research (Workflow trumps willpower); you want to gain enjoyment from writing instead, and Zettelkasten enables constant focus on interesting materials. We have Overconfidence bias too which means our plan tend not to work out as we expected. Sticking to a plan will also disregard new discoveries (Ahrens 11). The DNA structure won't be discovered if the scientists sticked to their plan (DNA structure was discovered on cancer treatment research).
When you plan too much, you'll suffer from Sunk cost fallacy too, because you'll be over investing in a single topic. Many career oriented academics would squeeze many publications out of one idea (Ahrens 14), zettelkasten on the hand would squeeze many ideas into a many publications. I would definitely prefer doing the latter to keep my life more interesting.
Having a clear structure to work in is completely different from making plans about something. If you make a plan, you impose a structure on yourself; it makes you inflexible. To keep going according to plan, you have to push yourself and employ willpower.
Ahrens, How to Take Smart Notes (p. 11)
Unfortunately, David Allen's technique cannot simply be transferred to the task of insightful writing. The first reason is that GTD relic on clearly defined objectives, whereas insight cannot be predetermined by definition. We usually start with rather vague ideas that are bound to change until they become clearer in the course of our research (cf. Ahrens, 2014, 134f.). [...] Writing is not a linear process. We constantly have to jump back and forth between different tasks. It wouldn't make any sense to micromanage ourselves on that level. Zooming out to the bigger picture does not really help, either, because then we have next steps. Like "writing a page".
Ahrens, How to Take Smart Notes (p. 14)
While some career-oriented academics try to squeeze as many publications out of one idea as possible, Luhmann seemed to do the opposite. He constantly generated more ideas than he was able to write down. His texts read as if he is trying to squeeze as much insight and as many ideas into one publication.
- Ahrens, How to Take Smart Notes
- Zettelkasten requires a balanced routine
- Secondly, even though Zettelkasten disregards planning, you will need to plan a good balance in your routine, especially on your material collection vs note-writing time. If you fail to dedicate enough time to note-writing, your archive might start to turn into chaos, a graveyard of ideas (Ahrens 32).