Getting to know the Designing Your Life community over the past three years has been a delight. You are literally the inspiration for our new book! You taught us so much, authors Bill Burnett and Dave Evans have curated and composed a second toolkit specifically focused on work. Bill & Dave let us know what to expect in this interview:
What is Designing Your Work Life (DYWL) about?
It’s all about making it work at work! Designing Your Work Life is book about jobs, and work, and finding the right “work-fit’ for you. We wrote it in response to the thousands of people we’ve met and heard from since the release of Designing Your Life, who told us they didn’t like their jobs, or their boss, or the crummy culture at their company. And we met a lot of bosses who were trying to motivate their employees to like their jobs but weren’t getting anywhere. Many of them wanted to design something better but didn’t want to have to quit or move to do it. There was a lot of frustration and unhappiness in those conversations, and we thought we could help.
Now we are two guys who have mostly loved our jobs, and the companies we’ve worked for, so we were curious. Why is everyone so disengaged at work? We did a lot of research (we teach at Stanford; we are not allowed to just make stuff up) and came up with a bunch of new reframes (a key designer skill – which we teach readers in the new book), and totally new exercises to help folks figure out their jobs, their career fit, and maybe even find their calling in life.
If you are looking to revitalize a stale job or failing that are looking for a new job or new career, this book is for you. If you’re a manager who wants to do a better job motivating your staff and empowering them in their own career development but you don’t know how, this book is for you. And if you are thinking about the future of work, if all the talk about robots and artificial intelligence is starting to worry you (and everyone you talk to), this book can help you “future-proof” your approach to working.
We think it’s a book for anyone who works, who manages workers, who’s thinking about getting back to work, or who is thinking about maybe working for themselves (they call it ‘gig working’ nowadays).
How is it different from Designing Your Life?
Designing Your Life was written with a broad view of work, life, health and play – and it was full of practical ideas and tools to help you design a well-lived, joyful life. Designing Your Work Life (DYWL) is a book about our work and careers. It’s full of tips, tricks, and tools for optimizing that thing we do 40 or more hours a week, 50 weeks a year, and almost 40 years of our lives – work. It’s about lots of really practical stuff like how to deal with company politics, how to add interesting new things to your job, and even how to quit like a superstar when the time finally comes to move on. (Hey – no one has a job for life anymore, so we’re all going to change jobs and that means getting good at quitting!) And – it’s about big important things like how to find meaning at work. We cover a lot of ground.
Just like our first book, DYWL is based on design thinking, Stanford’s innovation methodology, and you’ll learn how to apply that framework to the world of work. You’ll learn to think like a designer to solve problems by adopting the five designer mindsets – and a new, sixth bonus design-mindset – storytelling! And every idea in DYWL comes with fresh tools and doable exercises to help you get started right away designing the work you deserve.
Do I need to read Designing Your Life first?
You do not need to read Designing Your Life first. DYWL is a self-contained guide to better work, no matter what your situation is. You don’t need any familiarity with design thinking or design. We teach you everything you need to know in DYWL.
If you have read Designing Your Life – great, there’s a lot of new stuff in this book that will work for you, too. All of the stories, tools and exercises are brand new (well, almost – we use the Compass exercise again because everyone needs a Compass to start, and we rejoin a few of the stories in DYL to get a fresh update). DYWL introduces a sixth designer mindset – storytelling, and a new design skill – journey mapping, so there’s lots to learn in this new book.
I really don’t like my job and feel stuck, should I read this book?
Yes, we wrote this book especially for unhappy and disengaged workers like you. We will help you figure out your “fit” in the job world (the Impact Map exercise) and how to reframe any job, even a bad one, for more personal meaning and satisfaction. Reframing is our designer-super power – one that people find elusive and difficult to do. The book provides a clear step-by-step approach to reframing that you can apply to your situation. When you know how to reframe what’s got you stuck at work into a bounded, actionable problem, you’ll never get stuck again.
We really think that, if you do the exercises and approach your “job problem” like a designer, you have a much better chance of getting what you want at work, and liking what you get.
Actually, I like my job. Is there anything in DYWL for me?
Absolutely! The best time to optimize your job is when you have a good one, and we believe any job can be made better. It’s all about fit, and maximizing what Gallup (yes, the polling organization) calls your signature work strengths. And you have to get ready for the future as jobs change to accommodate more automation, more computerization, and the application of artificial intelligence in the workplace. The ideas and tools in DYWL can help you manage and thrive in an uncertain future knowing you how to keep re-designing a work life that works for you.
Happy workers often have a special problem – overwhelm! Lots of people who love their job end up with too much of a good thing and find themselves overwhelmed at work, so we have ideas for that too (for instance, did you know there are three different kinds of overwhelm and each has a different solution?)
I have the Designing Your Life Workbook and I love it; it has all the DYL worksheets in it and it’s become my personal creative diary. Is there a Workbook for DYWL?
When the book is available on February 25th, we will have all of the new exercises and worksheets up on the website, available for all of our book and e-book readers as PDF’s, for free. That’s another good reason to sign up for our newsletter. Newsletter recipients will be the first to receive updates and announcements and links to new material – like the companion workbook when it’s near to publication.
This all sounds pretty great. Can I get started now or do I have to wait until Feb 25 to see anything?
Get the DYWL 2020 Get Started Guide NOW! If you pre-order the book HERE, you will get immediate access to a digital download of the DYWL 2020 Get Started Guide. The Guide is a 13 pages on how begin the New Year with a New Work Life, including an article and exercises that are just the right place when your book arrives in February.