The Forte Labs Blog

Dedicated to Exploring the Frontier of Modern Productivity

The Throughput of Learning

Learning in the 21st century is not about acquiring more information, knowledge, or even insights. The goal is to maximize the throughput of invalidated assumptions. But you have to get there one step at a time. When you first start learning, early in life, there is a bottleneck in the amount of information you have…

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The PARA Method: A Universal System for Organizing Digital Information

Imagine for a moment the perfect organizational system. One that supported and enhanced the work you do, telling you exactly where to put a piece of information, and exactly where to find it when you needed it.

This system would have to be:

universal, encompassing any conceivable kind of information from any source
flexible, able to work with any project or activity you take on, now and in the future

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Bending the Curves of Productivity

Originally published on the Evernote blog To learn more, check out our online bootcamp on Personal Knowledge Management, Building a Second Brain. Consider a typical working session of a couple hours. You set aside the time, silence your phone, and clear your desk, determined to finish some Work of Real Value. We know that time…

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Theory of Constraints 109: The Psychology of Subordination

A SERIES OF 5-MINUTE POSTS ON APPLYING PRINCIPLES OF FLOW TO KNOWLEDGE WORK
Previously, I described how to go about optimizing the constraint in an organization. The next step, #3 in the Five Focusing Steps, is to subordinate the work of all other employees to that constraint:

Identify the constraint
Optimize the constraint

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The Secret Praxis Master Plan

It’s not just that I look like Elon Musk— life is just more fun when you have a secret master plan, isn’t it? You may be wondering, what in the world do manufacturing methodologies from the 1970s (which I’ve been writing about here the last few months) have to do with the future of productivity…

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Theory of Constraints 108: Optimizing the Constraint

A SERIES OF 5-MINUTE POSTS ON APPLYING PRINCIPLES OF FLOW TO KNOWLEDGE WORK
In the previous post, I described how to go about identifying the constraint in a knowledge work organization. The next step, #2 in the Five Focusing Steps, is to optimize that constraint:

Identify the constraint
Optimize the constraint
Subordinate the non-constraints

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Theory of Constraints 106: The Five Focusing Steps

A SERIES OF 5-MINUTE POSTS ON APPLYING PRINCIPLES OF FLOW TO KNOWLEDGE WORK
In the previous post, I told the story of a software engineering team at Microsoft who used the Theory of Constraints to produce dramatic improvements in productivity.

But I hope something bothered you: how exactly did they know which changes to make?

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Theory of Constraints 101: Table of Contents

A SERIES OF 5-MINUTE POSTS ON APPLYING PRINCIPLES OF FLOW TO KNOWLEDGE WORK
Below you can find all the posts published so far, and a quick 3-point summary of each.

101: INTRODUCTION TO THE SERIES
The basic premise of the Theory of Constraints as outlined in The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt; the definition of a bottleneck or a constraint; why the only way to improve a system is to improve the constraint

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Theory of Constraints 105: Drum-Buffer-Rope at Microsoft

A SERIES OF 5-MINUTE POSTS ON APPLYING PRINCIPLES OF FLOW TO KNOWLEDGE WORK
In the previous post, I explained Drum-Buffer-Rope (DBR), the original application of TOC to production environments like manufacturing. We’re now ready to take a closer look at a real-world example that brings together all the ideas we’ve covered in the series so far.

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Theory of Constraints 104: Balance Flow, Not Capacity

A SERIES OF 5-MINUTE POSTS ON APPLYING PRINCIPLES OF FLOW TO KNOWLEDGE WORK
In the previous post, I told the story of how Eliyahu Goldratt proposed time as a new mechanism for limiting work-in-process, using a new method he designed called Drum-Buffer-Rope (DBR).

Let’s examine how DBR proposes to fix the situation we left at the end of post #102:

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