Zettelkasten (Not) Needed?

As the saying goes, if the title of a post is a question, the answer is “no”. I don’t know how you would sensibly apply that to this one 🙂

Most of the days, for most of the time, I’m a software developer. I code, I plan, I think and learn. At other times, I’m writing things: on this blog, for book manuscripts, as letters and email; to plan, to help, to teach and to share.

For all of these things, I use a Zettelkasten in one way or another. That’s not news.

I truly believe that many software developers would benefit from learning the Zettelkasten Method. Not everyone, though maybe most.

A Zettelkasten is a tool, a tool for thought, and as such, it has utility for some set of purposes.

The real question, trivially, becomes thus:

  • Do the purposes of a Zettelkasten align with your goals?
  • Does using a Zettelkasten help you realize your potential? Does it help you become the person you want to be?

Finding out what the utility is, and what your goals are, and how they align takes a bit of time and introspection.

Here is one example from my work and life:

The Zettelkasten organizes ideas (utility)
so that I can learn complex topics over the course of many years (purpose)
to become the most useful person I can be on a team (my goal).

Is a Zettelkasten needed?

The answer is not “yes” for everyone, and it’s not “yes” for every situation. You don’t need a Zettelkasten for cooking recipes when you don’t want to be a star chef, but you could use it for that, and it would potentially help you think about cooking more creatively in the long term.

If that’s what you value.