Design Your Work

Author: Tiago Forte

Book Summary (in 3 Sentences)

Productivity and work can be shaped not just for more efficient output but also for optimal personal well-being. One of the most important tools you can employ to improve productivity and creativity is to build a second brain using an app like Evernote. Good work can provide a constant source of challenge which can result in a greater sense of self-improvement and self-actualization.

How I Discovered It

This book is a compilation of blog posts and essays that were published in a single volume on Amazon from Tiago’s website. He usually posts about each new compilation when they are published. He’s currently published 4 on Amazon already.

Who Should Read It

If you are interested in productivity, creativity, or knowledge work you should read this. Also, if you are a researcher and avid learner Tiago’s ideas on creating a second brain are very helpful.

How the Book Changed Me (life, behavior, thoughts, ideas have changed)

I have been reading Tiago’s blog for a while now and yet this intentionally curated compilation of his posts and essays was really helpful for connecting some of the common themes and topics he touches on. His recommendation to focus on the design of individual notes has profoundly improved my knowledge workflow. I used to get hung up on how to organize folders and tags in my notes app, but now I worry a lot less about the file structure and more about which ideas resonate. The words that I use in the actual note become the “tags” which help me to recall the note using search!

Top 3 Quotes

  • “I have to write to know what I think. All my ideas sound brilliant in the echo chamber of my own mind. It is only when I put down my thoughts, letting them stand on their own strength, that I start to see the cracks and imperfections.”
  • “Every time you respond to a distraction — a new email in your inbox, a notification on your phone, a red badge on an app — you are training your mind to value the new at the expense of the important.”
  • “The real potential of a digital organizational system is to be a tool for capturing and systematically reminding you of past ideas, inspirations, insights, and connections.”