Design Your Work

by Tiago Forte · read February 14, 2021


This book is a collection of Tiago Forte's blog posts/essays about knowledge work. Reading Forte is always an experience for me because I find it challenging to determine whether he's written something brilliant or completely bullshit; however, I'm deeply interested in knowledge work and his writing has exposed me to lots of new ideas and frameworks. As an actual book, the collection was not that cohesive. I liked "The Secret Power of Read It Later Apps" and "Productivity for Precious Snowflakes" the most.

Let's rewind a bit. Productivity as we know it is based on delayed gratification, which described a world that was predictable and structured. It was clear what you had to do and in what order — it was just a matter of scheduling and pain tolerance. But delayed gratification is obsolete in a world dominated by VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity), because the pain you're pulling into the present might not even be necessary, and the gratification you're pushing into the future might never materialize. It is not at all clear what must be done and in what order; in fact, it becomes ever more clear that most of the tasks we execute don't make much of a difference, while a tiny percentage randomly and dramatically influence the course of our work and our lives. It makes sense to invest more and more resources in making that distinction, because the absolute fastest way to complete a task or reach an objective is to realize you don't have to.

Julia Cooke © 2023