Designing Your Work Life Book Summary By Bill Burnett, Dave Evans

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Designing Your Work Life (2020) is a handbook from design gurus Bill Burnett and Dave Evans that shows readers how to transform their current job into the work life of their dreams.

Instead of abandoning an unfulfilling career, this book encourages you to use the principles of design thinking to redesign your current job into one that will bring fulfillment and satisfaction.

Burnett and Evans explore how to better understand ourselves, identify our strengths and weaknesses, come up with creative solutions for today's work environments, refine problem-solving abilities, and ultimately become more motivated and fulfilled in our daily tasks.

This engaging book is sure to help guide the modern worker on their personal journey towards a happier working life!

Designing Your Work Life Book Summary

Book Name: Designing Your Work Life (How to Thrive and Change and Find Happiness at Work)

Author(s): Bill Burnett, Dave Evans

Rating: 4.2/5

Reading Time: 23 Minutes

Categories: Career & Success

Author Bio

Designing Your Work Life is a best-seller book authored by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans.

Bill Burnett is executive director of Stanford University’s Design Program and has plenty of experience in the field, having worked as a designer at Apple in the past.

Dave Evans, on the other hand, is an experienced writer and his credentials include being co-director of Stanford Design Lab and founding Electronic Arts, an entertainment design firm.

Together they have created this bestselling book that promises to change how you look at work life decisions.

How To Design Your Current Job To Find Meaning And Make More Money

Make More Money

You don’t have to choose between money and meaning when it comes to your work.

You can actually use design principles to turn the job you currently have into the job you want.

By applying the right problem-solving techniques, you can find ways to make your role more meaningful and professionally fulfilling.

This could even mean making more money in the long run!

So how do you go about doing this? Well, first off, avoid common mistakes in problem-solving like jumping straight into implementation without doing enough research or analysis.

And secondly, learn how to wield power in your current position – even without a promotion of any kind.

With a little creativity and an eye for good design, you can redesign your career so that it fits with what you’re passionate about and make sure your work life is meaningful and rewarding.

Stop Worrying About Where You’Re Going And Start Rethinking Where You Are Now

In Designing Your Work Life book, the authors point out that when it comes to your career, it’s easy to get caught up in a “Are we there yet?” mindset.

You may feel unhappy in your work life if you’re not achieving your ambitions and focusing too much on the future stops you from making meaningful changes to the job you currently have.

The key message is: Wherever you are in your career is good enough – for now.

Society has trained us to want more and more, but this can lead to an endless cycle of pursuit without satisfaction.

To escape this, they suggest re-framing our mindset by noticing what works well in our current role and focusing on tasks we enjoy.

It’s important to acknowledge that wherever we are right now is good enough and use this as a stepping stone into greater success.

You Don’T Have To Choose Between Money And Meaning: Design Your Work To Enjoy Both

It’s possible to have both money and meaning in your career – you just need to learn how to design your work life.

This means figuring out the right balance of three key variables: money, impact, and expression.

For example, some high-paying jobs offer very little in terms of social contribution or creative expression.

Likewise, there are jobs that offer a high level of impact and creativity but not much in terms of salary.

Your challenge is to find the right mix for your own career goals.

Ask yourself if you’re satisfied with each variable in the mix – do you need more of one thing or less of another? Once you understand what’s missing from the equation, you can take steps to adjust it without having to make drastic changes to your current job or lifestyle.

For example, why not flex your artistic side at work by designing a company website or revamping their logo? Or consider taking on a part-time role so you have time for other passions and pursuits outside of work.

With some creativity and thoughtful adjustment, you can create a sustainable working life that gives you both money and meaning.

Problem-Finding Is An Essential Part Of Design: Getting To The Root Of Bernadette’S Workplace Woes

Bernadette'S Workplace

The key idea behind Designing Your Work Life is that problem-finding is just as essential as problem-solving.

It’s not enough to simply identify what the problem is and move onto solving it.

You have to carefully consider why you are having the issue in the first place and figure out what the root cause of it is.

For example, Bernadette was unhappy in her job because she felt underappreciated by her boss.

She thought that leaving her job was the only solution to this problem – but this wasn’t true!

Instead, she needed to identify what was really causing her feeling of being unappreciated: a lack of feedback from her boss.

Once she identified this as an actionable problem, she realized that there were multiple ways of getting feedback from other sources – such as project teams or clients – instead of relying solely on her boss.

By recognizing that problem-finding is just as important as problem-solving, Bernadette was able to create innovative solutions for improving her work life – without having to leave it behind!

Designing Your Work Life teaches us that when addressing workplace issues, we must first uncover the real root causes before jumping into a quick fix solution.

Finding Inner Motivation To Reignite Your Career: Learn How To Tap Into Autonomy, Relatedness, And Competence

Designing Your Work Life by Bernadette and Richard Frias tackles the idea that motivation in life is more intrinsic than extrinsic.

This means that true satisfaction comes from within, rather than external stimuli such as receiving recognition or praise from others.

The key to developing and nurturing your intrinsic motivation all comes down to nurturing your career arc – Autonomy, Relatedness, and Competence (ARC).

Autonomy is all about having control over what you do and how you do it.

Even if you are in a job where pre-determined tasks are required of you, there still exists an opportunity to extend and build on said tasks in order to take ownership of the work that you produce.

Leveraging Influence In The Workplace For A Better Work Experience

It’s easy to feel powerless in the workplace – you might think that without being the boss, there’s nothing you can do to create change.

But when you start to identify and leverage your influence, you will find that you have more influence than you even realize.

At its core, identifying your influence means understanding two things: Authority and Influence.

Authority comes from positions of power and is an inherent part of hierarchy – but just because someone has authority over you doesn’t necessarily mean they actually have any power.

Influence, on the other hand, comes from recognition of your work; when people recognize what you bring to the table, they start to see you as a key influencer in their work life.

Once identified, how do you go about leveraging this influence? Take ownership of your work and accomplishments – don’t be afraid to take credit for even your mistakes!

Offer value – make suggestions or take on extra tasks when needed.

And most importantly, keep track of your successes; keeping a record of everything that shows your worth makes it easier for authority figures to recognize what makes it valuable and thus respect it more.

Creating The Perfect Job: Reframing, Reenlisting, Remodeling And Relaunching

Perfect Job

The authors of Designing Your Work Life encourage people not to make any radical changes to their jobs until they’ve given redesigning it a chance.

The same design cycle used in any other form of design can be applied to your career path: you frame your current job situation, trial and receive feedback from it, then seek opportunities to improve or change it.

Reframing is the first step; try to focus on the positive aspects of your job instead of the negatives.

You can then reenlist in order to become more active flexibly within the workplace that suits you better.

After this, consider remodeling – shifting into a new role or finding ways to carve out space for elements that you love and excel at within your current position.

Lastly, if a dramatic shift is necessary – relaunch!

This may involve taking on-the-job upskilling or attending evening classes and when you’re ready move onto something new entirely.

By following these steps, you may be able finally craft a career that is enjoyable and beneficial for you without needing to completely quit first

How To Quit Your Job Smartly And Leave On Good Terms

Quitting well is essential for long-term success.

Not only should you make sure that your departure is planned and conscious, but you should also make sure to leave things in a better condition than when you first began.

Before handing in your resignation, complete all projects and don’t burn any bridges with your colleagues.

Your coworkers will remember how you left and it can be important for future opportunities.

You should also take this time to engage your network, who may have tips and introduce you to new connections and opportunities that can help you on the next stage of your career journey.

And don’t forget the narrative – after leaving it’s key to frame what happened in an accurate yet productive narrative so that potential employers know what happened from start to finish.

All of these steps are essential in setting yourself up for success as life-designer.

Designing Your Work Life Is Key To A Successful Freelance Career

Whether you’re dreaming of being your own boss or forced into a situation where self-employment is the only viable option, it’s possible to design yourself into a fulfilling freelance career.

This applies whether you’re starting out and taking those first steps, or feeling stuck.

Designing your work life is equally applicable for those considering self-employment and transitioning to freelance life.

To make sure it fits you, start by creating a prototype – pursue side hustles and low-risk versions of what could be your dream career.

If this works for you, take the next step toward being your own boss.

You can also use this same mindset and reframe if freelancing isn’t desired.

Think about how you get to work around your core values, like money, flexibility and fulfilment – satisfaction in freelance work is far more in your control than any other job role.

Once set into place, ensure that yours is a working environment where wellbeing is key and success can be achieved by focusing on strengths which clients need and pushing hard on them.

Remember too to refine rates as experience grows, streamline workflow tasks that take up time, so that time can be better spent doing best quality work!

Wrap Up

Designing Your Work Life, by Ayse Birsel, is a book that provides readers with actionable advice on how to get the most out of their lives and careers.

The key message throughout the book is that you don’t need to change jobs in order to create a dramatic change in your work life.

Rather, those who read the book should focus on applying the principles of good design to their own career paths in order to create the job they want.

Birsel also offers practical strategies for problem solving such as brainstorming a list of all possible solutions and then eliminating any best theoretical options until only the best doable options remain.

Overall, Designing Your Work Lifehas given readers an unconventional but powerful way of tackling their day-to-day tasks and creating meaningful progress in their lives.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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