Zettelkasten Forum

My life as a craftsperson

I already have a blog post to introduce myself. But well.

I consider myself a craftsman in a very general sense. I like making things. That's part of why I enjoy programming. I also maintain a local group of people who want to improve their drawing skills. I always wanted to become a writer from an early age. Crafting things from wood makes me happy. You see, I don't really care about the medium if it's about happiness; but not everything in life is about personal happiness in the sense of feeling joy. I also want to be useful. So programming and writing it is for now.

Figuring out how life works brought me to philosophy. (Studying philosophy at university in turn forced me to get to know Sascha, by the way.) Before graduating from school, I was already into personal productivity techniques because I felt I didn't know how to do things properly. So I read books like Getting Things Done; and books about how to learn and how to read. I was once subscribed to a weekly newspaper because I found grown-ups read the newspaper and know about politics and stuff, so I began to emulate their behavior in order to be a grown-up myself one day. The notion of a "Zettelkasten" was introduced to me in the "culture" section of this newspaper (there were a couple of articles about Arno Schmidt, Niklas Luhmann, Jean Paul, and their respective Zettelkasten archives over the years). At university, I dived deeper into the practice of feeding my Zettelkasten with information.

And so here I am: after years of experimentation, reading productivity books, and working as a student advisor at university, I now write for one of the best websites for knowledge management on the whole web :)

I don't have a job since March anymore, so I'm a full indie programmer right now. Like the heroes from my late youth! Fortunately for the Zettelkasten project, Sascha's work is mostly knowledge work and less crafting, so he gains far more experience points for his Zettelkasten skill than I do in my meagre spare time. That's very valuable to push the project forward. In the meantime, I'm creating software to make everybody's lives better, hopefully. And in the course of creating this software, I'm taking notes on programming techniques and theories and publish a book about software development every now and then. Thanks, my dear Zettelkasten, for having my back!

Author at Zettelkasten.de • https://christiantietze.de/


  • Hey Christian,

    that's a cool introduction :) I like your approach to consider yourself a craftsman. Have you read Cal Newports "So good the can't ignore you"? I read it recently and found it very interesting (although I'm very sceptical about his economic metaphors and concepts like "career capital" due to my "political education and socialisation" when I was young and suggestible)

  • I didn't, but @sfast did a couple months ago and kept me updated about the topic.

    I guess you're asking because Cal suggests you become an expert in 1 thing instead of spreading yourself thin over many things, and because my craftsman thing is a unifying principle for the different activities I enjoy. A unifying principle does help make sense in life. The craftsman-metaphor helped me to not feel torn so much.

    Similarly, the kind of programming projects I tackle is closely tied to me describing myself as a scholar of sorts. I create software to make scholarly work / knowledge work easier, and I enjoy writing and increasing project-based knowledge, so I'm also serving myself with the software. Bringing this more closely together further reduced the feeling of fragmentation and thus the sensation of stress.

    Author at Zettelkasten.de • https://christiantietze.de/

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