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About the book

From the New York Times bestselling authors of Sprint, a simple 4-step system for improving focus, finding greater joy in your work, and getting more out of every day

Nobody ever looked at an empty calendar and said, “The best way to spend this time is by cramming it full of meetings!” or got to work in the morning and thought, Today I’ll spend hours on Facebook! Yet that’s exactly what we do. Why?
In a world where information refreshes endlessly and the workday feels like a race to react to other people’s priorities faster, frazzled and distracted has become our default position. But what if the exhaustion of constant busyness wasn’t mandatory? What if you could step off the hamster wheel and start taking control of your time and attention? That’s what this book is about.
As creators of Google Ventures’ renowned “design sprint,” Jake and John have helped hundreds of teams solve important problems by changing how they work. Building on the success of these sprints and their experience designing ubiquitous tech products from Gmail to YouTube, they spent years experimenting with their own habits and routines, looking for ways to help people optimize their energy, focus, and time. Now they’ve packaged the most effective tactics into a four-step daily framework that anyone can use to systematically design their days. Make Time is not a one-size-fits-all formula. Instead, it offers a customizable menu of bite-size tips and strategies that can be tailored to individual habits and lifestyles.

Make Time isn’t about productivity, or checking off more to-dos. Nor does it propose unrealistic solutions like throwing out your smartphone or swearing off social media. Making time isn’t about radically overhauling your lifestyle; it’s about making small shifts in your environment to liberate yourself from constant busyness and distraction.

A must-read for anyone who has ever thought, If only there were more hours in the day…, Make Time will help you stop passively reacting to the demands of the modern world and start intentionally making time for the things that matter.

Buy book: Amazon

Year published: 2018


Quotes from the book

Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day (Jake Knapp & John Zeratsky)

  • Every mistake is just a data point.
  • You know the antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest ….
  • You only waste time if you’re not intentional about how you spend it.
  • The antidote to exhaustion is wholeheartedness. —Brother David Steindl-Rast
  • Believe in your Highlight: It is worth prioritizing over random disruption.
  • Something magic happens when you start the day with one high-priority goal.
  • When distraction is hard to access, you don’t have to worry about willpower.
  • Perfection is a distraction—another shiny object taking your attention away from your real priorities.
  • it’s helpful to remember that Homo sapiens evolved to be hunter-gatherers, not screen tappers and pencil pushers.
  • Studies have shown that caffeine naps improve cognitive and memory performance more than coffee or a nap alone does.
  • Every time you check your email or another message service, you’re basically saying, Does any random person need my time right now?
  • Shifting your focus to something that your mind perceives as a doable, completable task will create a real increase in positive energy, direction, and motivation.
  • Compared with the life of a hunter-gatherer, farm work and village life sucked. Leisure time plummeted. Violence and disease skyrocketed. Unfortunately, there was no going back.
  • Combine the four-plus hours the average person spends on their smartphone with the four-plus hours the average person spends watching television, and distraction is a full-time job.
  • That is, one new tactic to help you make time for your Highlight, one that keeps you laser-focused by changing how you react to distractions, and one for building energy—three tactics total.
  • Instead of relying on your willpower, create real, physical barriers around distractions to focus your attention like a laser beam on your highlight. Delete all the social apps from your phone.
  • Another lesson from our design sprints was that we got more done when we banned devices. Since we set the rules, we were able to prohibit laptops and smartphones, and the difference was phenomenal.
  • In our design sprints, we found that if we ended each workday before people were exhausted, the week’s productivity increased dramatically. Even shortening the day by thirty minutes made a big difference.
  • Today’s constant noise and distractions are a disaster for your energy and your attention span. We’ll show you easy ways to find moments of quiet, like taking a break without screens and leaving your headphones at home.
  • Apple reports that people unlock their iPhones an average of 80 times per day, and a 2016 study by customer-research firm Dscout found that people touched their phones an average of 2,617 times per day. Distracted has become the new default.
  • Set a single intention at the start of each day. You’ll be more satisfied, joyful and effective. The highlight should take 60–90 minutes and will define your day. Of course, it’s not the only thing you’ll do over your day, but it’s the most important one.
  • All of a sudden I’d realize I was working toward a goal that no longer mattered to me. And living a someday life was demoralizing. In the words of author James Clear, I was essentially saying, I’m not good enough yet, but I will be when I reach my goal.
  • When you don’t take care of your body, your brain can’t do its job. If you’ve ever felt sluggish and uninspired after a big lunch or invigorated and clearheaded after exercising, you know what we mean. If you want energy for your brain, you need to take care of your body.
  • Anthropologists estimate that ancient humans worked only thirty hours a week. They lived and worked in tight-knit communities in which face-to-face communication was the only option. And of course they got plenty of sleep, going to bed when it was dark and rising with the sun.
  • Make Time is a framework for choosing what you want to focus on, building the energy to do it, and breaking the default cycle so that you can start being more intentional about the way you live your life. Even if you don’t completely control your own schedule—and few of us do—you absolutely can control your attention.
  • The Internet is home to many a treatise about the Best This or the Cool New Way to Do That.16 But this obsession with tools is misguided. Unless you’re a carpenter, a mechanic, or a surgeon, choosing the perfect tool is usually a distraction, yet another way to stay busy instead of doing the work you want to be doing.
  • We’re the descendants of those ancient humans, but our species hasn’t evolved nearly as fast as the world around us has. That means we’re still wired for a lifestyle of constant movement, varied but relatively sparse diets, ample quiet, plenty of face-to-face time, and restful sleep that’s aligned with the rhythm of the day.
  • Although some of our tactics turned into habits, others sputtered and failed. But taking stock of our results each day helped us understand why we tripped up. And this experimental approach also allowed us to be kinder to ourselves when we made mistakes—after all, every mistake was just a data point, and we could always try again tomorrow.
  • Over the centuries, we switched from wood to fossil fuel. We mastered steam and electricity. Then, during the last couple of centuries, things went bonkers. We created factories. We developed the television and then became obsessed with it, changing our sleep schedules to fit in daily TV time. We invented the home computer, the Internet, and the smartphone. Each time, we wrapped our lives around the new invention. Each time, there was no going back.
  • Every distraction imposes a cost on the depth of your focus. When your brain changes contexts—say, going from painting a picture to answering a text and then back to painting again—there’s a switching cost. Your brain has to load a different set of rules and information into working memory. This boot up costs at least a few minutes, and for complex tasks, it can take even longer. The two of us have found it can take a couple of hours of uninterrupted writing before we’re doing our best work; sometimes it even requires several consecutive days before we’re in the zone.