Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Wait, I Have to Do Work to Enhance My Work?!

Written by: on March 15, 2023

The big day had arrived. It was a big deal. My parents had ordered a multivolume set of Encyclopedia Britannica from a door salesman. They opened box upon box upon box. The large black books were gorgeous, numbering 32, and filled the room with that new book smell. The year was 1987.

It’s hard to imagine that within eight years (1995), Yahoo would take off, with Google one year behind it. But, while there were many precursors to Yahoo and Google, such as WebCrawlerLycosAsk Jeeves, and AltaVistathese two titans would change how we search for data, giving everyone across the globe the highest level of access to information.

Does access to more information mean that we are more knowledgeable and aware? Tiago Forte, the founder of Forte Labs, a professional training and coaching firm, invites readers to pump the breaks on that notion in Building a Second Brain, a popular science book. “As the amount of information we have access to grows, such experiences are becoming more and more common. We’re flooded with more advice then ever promising to make us smarter, healthier, and happier,” noted Tiago Forte.[1]

We know from cognitive scientists that we process over 11 million pieces of information per second. And yet, our conscious attention has a capacity of about 40 bits per second.[2] So, 40 bits out of 11 million is 10,999,940 bits of information you and I process but don’t notice every second.[3] In other words, our minds make unconscious decisions to help manage that overload so that our conscious mind can process more meaningful choices.

Therefore, Forte laid out the idea of a “Second Brain.” Forte believes we have the capacity to organize our digital lives, which in turn will unlock our creative potential. “When you transform your relationship to information, you will begin to see technology in your life not just as a storage medium but as a tool for thinking.”[4]

The first step in the process is understanding your personal knowledge management (PKM). In other words, it’s hard to know how to develop a second brain if you do not understand how you actually work and function. Forte invites readers to follow the C.O.D.E.:

  • Capture – think about the way that you gather your ideas, thoughts, and new knowledge, keeping what matters and connects to your work. 
  • Organize – consider what you do with what you have captured and collated for what you will do with it in the future. 
  • Distill – okay, now that you have information captured and organized, what do you do with it? How do you get down to the core what you need from it and with it? 
  • Express – Make the most of what you’ve done through this process by utilizing your work and repeating the process. [5] 

We all develop habits when it comes to the way that we gather, process, and put information into action. “If it ain’t broke, why fix it” is the mentality that too many of us have when it comes to work. After shifting into a new organization, I was tasked with observing how people worked. I was astonished by some of the habits I encountered, not from a self-righteous I have it all together mindset, but just how ineffective and inefficient we can be without someone asking the right questions or through personal evaluation. As a result, I equipped our staff with the tools to self-assess and evaluate their work efficiency by tracking various metrics and inviting everyone to come to the table to share their findings, challenges, and wisdom around successes. The conversation was insightful, enlightening, and challenging.

Forte wants readers to leverage the myriad of organizational resources to maximize productivity and systematization to find more efficient and creative ways to work. He gave readers practical ideas such as concept mapping, indexing, creative note-taking, and synthesizing. There is a smarter way to work, meet, and collaborate with others. Cultivating new habits is a lot of legwork at the beginning but may pay dividends as more and more of our work requires higher levels of thinking and juggling a big load.  

[1] Tiago Forte, Building a Second Brain (New York: Atria Books, 2022), 1.  

[2] M. Zimmerman, Neurophysiology of Sensory SystemsFundamentals of Physiology (Berlin: Springer, 1986), 68-116.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Forte, Building a Second Brain, 3.  

[5] Ibid.  

About the Author


Andy Hale

Associate Executive Coordinator of CBF North Carolina, CBF Podcast Creator and Host, & Professional Coach

2 responses to “Wait, I Have to Do Work to Enhance My Work?!”

  1. mm Eric Basye says:

    Andy, I would love to know what tools and resources you equipped your staff with to help out with efficiency. Please share!

  2. mm Roy Gruber says:

    Andy, Eric asked the question I had after reading your post. Also, have you landed on a “go-to” note-taking platform?

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