Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day – by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky
Date read: 11/28/18. Recommendation: 7/10.
Strategies and tactics for creating more time to focus on the things you care about. It’s not about productivity, it’s about setting your own priorities. Similar to Sprint, they offer a framework to assist in the process: Highlight, Laser, Energize, Reflect. The real value of the book comes from the individual tactics they suggest, such as creating a distraction free phone, differentiating between “fake” and “real” wins, and bucking cultural norms. It’s all about becoming more intentional in how you spend time and allocate your energy. If you want to work on improving your own priorities and ability to focus, this is a solid resource.
See my notes below or Amazon for details and reviews.
Make time for the things that matter. Not about productivity, but creating time in your day for the things you care about.
Framework: Highlight, Laser, Energize, Reflect
Highlight: Start day with single focal point and goal. Prioritize and protect that activity on your calendar.
Three strategies for choosing your highlight:
Urgency - what needs to get done?
Satisfaction - what do you want to get done?
Joy - what will bring me the most joy when reflecting at end of day?
“You only waste time if you’re not intentional about how you spend it.”
If you’re stuck on what you should choose as today’s highlight, try redoing yesterday...gives you a second chance, build momentum, creates habits.
It’s never too late to change or choose your highlight...if the day isn’t going according to plan, recalibrate and focus on something ahead of you (i.e. enjoying dinner with friends).
Laser: Make higher-quality time to focus. “Every distraction imposes a cost on the depth of your focus. When your brain changes contexts–say, going from painting to a picture to answering a text and then back to painting again–there’s a switching cost.”
Distraction-free phone: Remove email, Infinity Pool apps, and web browser from your phone. Clear your home screen. Restores a sense of quiet to your day and helps you become more intentional.
“The best way to defeat distraction is to make it harder to react.”
Fake wins vs. real wins: Updating spreadsheet instead of focusing on harder, more meaningful project. Cleaning the kitchen instead of spending time that was intended for your kids. Email inboxes. This is all time and energy that could be spend on your highlight.
Email: “Every time you check your email or another message service, you’re basically saying, ‘Does any random person need my time right now?’”
Become a fair-weather fan: “Sports fandom doesn’t just take time; it takes emotional energy. When your team loses, it sucks–it might bum you out and lower your energy for hours or even days. Even when your team wins, the euphoria creates a time crater as you get sucked into watching highlights and reading follow-up analysis.”
Sports satisfy deep tribal urge. Unpredictable story lines that finish with clear outcomes (win/lose), which is deeply gratifying since it’s unlike real life.
Buck cultural norms (TV, sports, etc.) to free up time and unlock creative energy. “If you’re constantly expose to other people’s ideas, it can be tough to think up your own.” ^Similar to drawdown periods from Ryan Holiday.
It’s okay to be stuck. Stare at blank screen, switch to paper, go for a walk. But keep focus on project.
“You know the antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest...The antidote to exhaustion is wholeheartedness.” Brother David Steindl-Rast
-Let go of caution, throw yourself in with sincerity and enthusiasm.
What matters is that you’re setting your own priority. “As long as we’re making time for what matters to us, the system is working.”