Designing Your Life

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In my recent meeting with the Chief Digital Officer of a top tier media agency, we talked about the how we both love Digital but some things are still better the “old” analog way.  The Designer’s process of thinking and solving problems are still very relevant and applicable today as Digital is not always the “answer” for everything.  This led me to recommend this great book from 2 Stanford Design Professors who applied Design Thinking to the area of “Self-Help” and Career Planning.

Attached is my own PowerPoint summary of the book “Designing Your Life” by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans.  It is not a direct copy of the book’s outline but rather I pulled out a couple of key concepts and tools that I found to be really helpful.  I highly recommend that you buy the book and work through it personally here.


“Designing Your Life” – Key Takeaways from the Book:

  • Health, Work, Play, Love Dashboard – Take a pulse check on the state of Four important aspects of your life.  
  • Good Time JournalTrack your daily activities Where you are/have: (1)Most Engaged, (2)Most Energy.
  • Brainstorming & Mind-Mapping – Brainstorm on the activities where you are/have most engagement and most energy.  Capture it in a “Mind Map.”
  • Creating Scenarios via Odyssey PlanFrom your Mind Map, Create different alternative futures of your life through the “Odyssey Plan.”
  • ProtoTyping – Test concepts from your Odyssey plan and try to answer questions from your alternative futures via rapid Prototyping approach. 
  • Fail Fast / Fail Forward – Fail quickly and learn from it so that you can move forward in designing your life. Become Failure immune.
  • Meet People and Do lots of Informational InterviewsMeet People who Can help you to Prototype.  Conduct Info  interviews to find “unlisted” opportunities.
  • Build Your Support CommunityFind your support team who will encourage you and keep you accountable.  

You can download the ppt template here.

As always, you can watch a quick video clip from Bill Burnett and Dave Evans themselves about the book.

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