The bottleneck of creative work is not idea generation but execution

Date created: 2023-04-21

People who recommend the use of PKM and Zettlekasten methods often claim one of the main benefits is that it becomes easier to resurface ideas: e.g. Notes can incubate in a PKM and be discovered later, The value of a linked database of notes builds up over time.

But Cal Newport argues that in his experience (talking to a lot of academics and professional writers), idea generation is not the bottleneck. They have tons of ideas all the time! Some of them bad, some of them good. But the real bottleneck is instead in the execution of those ideas; actually sitting down to work out the specifics and write something out.

His video title is “Why Professional Thinkers Don’t Carefully Track Their Ideas”