Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

Based on the book Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, this template contains design thinking exercises to help you lead a fulfilling, well-lived, and joyous life.

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How To Design The Life You Want

In Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, the authors discuss how design thinking is applied to our individual lives. Design thinking is traditionally thought of as a framework for companies and organizations to design innovative technologies and products. By applying design thinking to one’s life, one can see positive impacts to one’s career and life goals. This Designing Your Life worksheet showcases exercises from the book that can help you start incorporating design thinking into your own life. A similar template that shows you exercises for improving your team at your organization is the Gamestorming - A Toolkit For Meetings template.

Basic Principles on Designing Your Life

The book started off as a class both Burnett and Evans taught at Stanford. At Stanford the class went on to being one of the most sought after electives by students because the principles had a huge affect on students as they decided what to do after college. Some of those principles include:

  1. Be curious
  2. Try stuff
  3. Reframe problems
  4. Know it’s a process
  5. Ask for help

Moreover, the book discusses “dysfunctional beliefs” that students and adults adhere to because of certain professional and career “ladders” we aspire to climb. There may be new ladders we can climb, and these principles help us break out of these common ladders.

Using Empathy

In order to understand the situation one is in, one should use empathy. This is also part of the design thinking process. The exercises in this template help you use empathy in order to help you figure out what changes you can make to your current situation. Here is a summary of the exercises in this template:

  • Energy-Engagement Map - List out your top energy giving and draining activities as well as the impact they have on you. From here, you can think about changes to improve your energy flows.
  • Love-Play-Work-Health Balance - Indicate how you feel about your life along these four dimensions on a dashboard. Then think about the incremental changes you can make to have the ideal levels on your improved dashboard.
  • Odyssey Planning - The Odyssey Plan is a graphic representation of three possible alternative lives you might live over the next five years.

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About the Maker

Daniel Kamerling

Dan is a product manager that is always looking for new frameworks to try out and explore.

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