Need help finding my workflow :)

Hi guys,

I really need help finding my workflow. The question drives me so crazy, I’ve never fully started any system and I tried starting a Zettelkasten (slipbox) for the first time back in 2017/18. I sometimes feel like I’m too dumb, even though I have a master’s and teach marginally at a university of applied sciences :o But full-time I assist and care for people with disabilities in their daily lives and manage a team.
I definitely wanted to take some coaching on the subject, but the guy who used to offer that is no longer doing it at the moment (Söhnke Ahrens - how to take smart notes).

Yes, my problems start with not being able to decide where to take my notes (so far I’ve taken them on Okular, a KDE PDF reader, in general. But when I read a text for scientific purposes, I now more often read in Zotero reader and take notes there). Maybe it’s my way of taking notes, but mostIy take very comprehensive notes, these are almost always quite detailed notes on certain topics. The areas I read are mainly about social pedagogy, social work, sociology, philosophy, psychology, disability studies, more recently leadership and management, and especially concepts and methods (just as an example, e.g. T.E.A.C.C.H.) and casework. When I read a text, I usually try to summarize it.

Then when I copy the notes out of the PDF (via Zotero) I usually write the summaries there as well. Where I’m stumbling now is that I don’t know what to put in Logseq. I’ve been avoiding just copying my summaries into Logseq. I have to say that if I need a topic for my work practice (not theoretical, but as a practical social worker), I need a summary about concepts just as an overview of methods and concepts, what I can orientate myself on, that’s why I often write wiki articles in my Nextcloud (Collectives) about certain topics (for example also about Linux or about gardening or didactics). But at the same time I want to work a bit more open and “atomic”, because I plan to do the PhD at some point.

What I’m wondering, what to put in Logseq now - how can I start working in it? Sometimes I wonder if I should copy my summaries into it so that the graph populates a bit. But then I think to myself: in theory I do know that this single source summary is my literature notes, they should stay in Zotero - and then I get stuck… because I don’t know if I should use the same explanatory, descriptive approach (as in my literature excerpts and wiki articles). I always want to take an explanatory, descriptive approach to my topics, like “What is the concept or method WY, XZ about?” but I kind of feel like that inhibits me because it gets very comprehensive.

kind regards and
Help me please :joy:


I use Okular, Nextcloud (not Collectives though) and Zotero. Some thoughts:

  • Okular is definitely a very good PDF reader and it is hard to use something else once you get used to it but its annotations look more oriented for collaboration with other people when sharing PDF than personal knowledge
  • Logseq PDF annotation feature is superb and it integrates perfectly with the rest of notes
  • Personally I still use Okular a lot but when I want to take notes for my knowledge base I open the PDF in Logseq
  • I use Zotero just to gather papers because of its great metadata system and I “import” a PDF manually from the Zotero folder into Logseq asset folder just when I need to annotate it (I am testing Logseq Sync and I don’t want to waste space with tons of PDFs)
  • Sadly Logseq annotations are not stored in the PDF (even just the text and a logseq:// link to open the corresponding block would be enough for me) so when I open PDFs from Okular there is nothing annotated with Logseq
  • Sadly Okular doesn’t let you click on URLs in notes, not https:// nor logseq:// ones

P.S. since you use Collectives: I see it uses Markdown, but is it stored in .md files in a Nextcloud folder or in the database? The former would be particularly good in combination with Logseq and other Markdown editors.

Hi, alex0!

Thanks for your reply!
Yeah. Okular is very powerful and customizable, like most of the KDE-Apps. That’s what I like about, it’s fast and I can set up different colors for the markers / highlights.
It’s hard do abandon it, yeah. I even installed it as Flatpak on my second laptop which is running Gnome ( I do not like Evince) :sweat_smile:

What are the advantages of Logseqs annotation compared to Zotero?
What I like about working with Zotero is that integration plugin into LibreOffice / Word if one need to copy-paste citations and the automation of the bibliography entries. Do you use that as well?
So, you have your literature extracts in Logseq, do I understand that correctly? How do you continue to work then?

About Collectives, it’s not stored in the database. It creates a directory in the root folder of your NC, but you could specify it, as seen here in the bottom left corner.


I forgot to clearly say in my first post that I am very interested in the working methods of you guys, where / how do you take notes. What goes into Logseq, what do you do with Zotero, etc.?

If you look at Logseq’s as just a PDF annotation tool it isn’t the best one for sure, but the whole point of using it is the rest of Logseq features.

Notice that in addition to [[references]] and #tags you can add metadata atomically to your annotations using block properties, for example type:: [[definition]].

Then with queries you can retrieve annotations with complex rules like “all definitions from books by a certain author”.

And of course you can structure annotations hierarchically and focus the view on some of them by clicking the bullet point.

Finally producing new documents is a breeze with features like block references.

Personally I don’t use Libreoffice that much, I prefer Pandoc that can be used with Bibtex and it produces PDFs using LaTeX.

Thank you for the info about Collectives, it is definitely interesting to share Markdown notes with others :slight_smile:

Andy Matuschak’s notes helped me figure out my Logseq workflow. Poking through there made the Zettelkasten concepts much more tangible. He also livestreamed how he takes notes, which might give you more inspo.

I’ve also combined my Zettelkasten with a Bullet Journal and have two main entry points (i.e. “index/table of contents”) in Logseq, one for each system.

I was exactly in your shoes and hope this helps!