# Zettelkasten requires a balanced routine

Even though Zettelkasten enables constant focus on interesting materials, you wouldn't capture interesting materials (transient notes) and zettels if you don't dedicate time or make a habit for it. A routine, therefore, is a necessary element in the practice of zettelkasten (Ahrens 10).

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).

# References

Ahrens, How to Take Smart Notes (p. 10).

Even the best tool will not improve your productivity considerably if you don't change your daily routines the tool is embedded in, just as the fastest car won't help you much if you don't have proper roads to drive it on. [...] Routines require simple, repeatable tasks that can become automatic and fit together seamlessly (cf. Mata, Todd, and Lippke, 2010).

Ahrens, How to Take Smart Notes (p. 32).

If we try to use a tool without putting any thought into the way we work with it, even he best tool would not be of much help. The slip-box, for example, would most likely be used as an archive for notes - or worse: a graveyard for thoughts (cf. Hollier 2005, 40 on Mallarme's index cards).

Ahrens, How to Take Smart Notes (p. 43).

The third typical mistake is, of course, to treat all notes as fleeting ones. You can easily spot this approach by the mess that comes with it, or rather by the cycle of slowly growing piles of material followed by the impulse for major clean-ups. Just collecting unprocessed fleeting notes inevitably leads to chaos. Even small amounts of unclear and unrelated notes lingering around your desk will soon induce the wish of starting from scratch.