Agenda for physicians, a solution for multiple sources of knowledge (+ color coding and zettelkasten)


I’m a physician for 3 years now. During graduation I used different apps to study, but always stumbled upon some issues:

  1. Multiple sources become a mess
  2. You easily lose reference to where that information came from
  3. Note taking apps for iPad such as notability and goodnotes work like a notebook, what means you lose space to add new information related to a subject (same as Niklas Luhmann issue when taking notes for books).
  4. Assigning content to a calendar event or reminder is not possible with most apps if you use apple calendar and reminders.

Itens 1 to 3 were solved after I discovered the zettelkasten method, but the software was still a limitation.

I found and bought Agenda this year, was using obsidian before, however, it became a mess and didn’t work very well with iPad and iPhone.
I was looking for something that would fit my needs: I enjoy the atomic notes of zettelkasten method, but never managed to implement it very well. I also enjoyed text editing and color coding as a way to find myself, but have you ever seen how highlighting plugins work in obsidian? The text becomes a css mess…
While looking for a replacement, I found Agenda. It is a one-time payment app that gives you support for the next 12 months! Bought it? It is yours forever and you get +12 months of updates. That was also a concerning issue with other apps that require subscription (and my currency is devalued in comparison to dollar)

Notes as Zettelkasten cards

Once I downloaded Agenda I didn’t know how I would organize it for my life and fit it to medical studies. I was kinda into the PARA method by Tiago Forte, but had my own version (in obsidian) of it. I didn’t use folders and instead used hashtags where:
#:briefcase: meant Project, #:notebook_with_decorative_cover: meant area, #:package: meant resource and #:file_cabinet: meant archive. I wasn’t using it very much tough, because often things would go to resources and areas, since I read multiple stuff during the day that doesn’t relate to projects, and active projects tend to conflict with certain areas so it was quite messy.
For Agenda, I decided to only use PARA’s Areas of my life and Archive. If there is an active project, it would be an area too, set as Agenda categories with a hashtag related to it (I speak portuguese, but emojis are self explanatory):

Alright, that was the first layer of it.
For the second layer, I decided to use Agenda projects as the major sub-topics of it and if it is a very big topic, with, let’s say multiple medical discussions related to its treatment, etc; it would be a sub-category with projects inside.
Now we get to what matters in this discussion: the third layer.
Most stuff in medicine are related to certain diseases, health problems or health-promoting topics. In general they belong to a major medical specialty. I was previously writing my stuff in a single Agenda note inside a major topic project (let’s say, sarcopenia note inside the geriatrics project). Notes were getting heavy, big, and I was losing one feature I didn’t realize before: notes are excellent cards.
They actually look like cards and would be great to bring the atomicity I needed. Now going even further, you can use Agenda 18 to color code your notes and give them color status.

Color coding and hashtags

So I use text styling (and also text coloring) since my childhood. It helped me understand what that note passage meant: the importance of it; if I was not sure what it meant and required further research; if I had that information somewhere else. Agenda 18,as mentioned, brought the option to change the meaning of colors in the color panel. That was the deal breaker to implement a system using hashtags and colors.

Explaining the system

Projects are medical subjects (diseases, etc). In general, a disease has a definition, epidemiology, fisiopathology, clinical manifestations, diagnosis and labs, treatment. I assigned a color to each of these topics: pink means clinical aspects, grey is phisiopatology, green are labs and diagnosis, etc). What do we get with that? I can basically create new information whenever I want, by assigning a color to each card, I can easily understand what it relates to, just need to filter by color:

At the image above, I have filtered by color and looked for the #reumathoid-arthritis. Whenever I add new information, if it is some new treatment or a new guideline, I can add a color and the hashtag. It will appear there.

I also use hashtags as status (generally emoji hashtags). #:male_detective: means I need to research more about it, #:camping: means that note had been pretty important and I’m camping on it. #:surfing_man: means I’m using it a lot, but need to learn more.

Liquidtext as a pdf reader and referencing software

I don’t want to extend myself anymore, but in order to know where the information comes from I just grab links from the liquidtext pdf source and add it to the card. I tend to use liquidtext for studying and make mind maps, but that is another topic. Still formatting these notes above and looking for the ref material (because I got it from a lesson) but it is the first subject I decided to color code and am happy for it!


Discuss how you use Agenda, how it helps you manage your life, show us the killer workflows you think others should know about.

@artehur I think you just did that! Very well thought out and put together. I hope it helps give you more time to treat and discover.

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Fantastic write up @artehur, thank you for sharing that! :raised_hands:

For those interested, here’s a more general discussions on Zettelkasten:

And in this topic @robbie07 also explains his way of using this method:

Again @artehur, thanks for showing a great practical example of how you can build your own workflows using Agenda, I love how you make use of the new color options we added recently too! :muscle:

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Exactly, great tools are those that serve multiple purposes, agenda is a great tool. Decided to share because it makes me so happy to discover my own way of doing it and I hope I can help someone else. Thanks

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Thanks! I wasn’t aware of these topics.
Thank you for the amazing support always provided too

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