I know it’s going to come as no surprise that I love reading productivity books, but because I read so many, it’s often hard to find one that stands out. A lot of them are just more of the same. This is actually why I didn’t buy the book I’m recommending today when it first came out. The summary looked a lot like other books I’d read and so I passed it by. However, when I saw it recommended somewhere else, I decided to give it another look. I’m so glad I did.
Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky was a delight to read. First off, it’s just a really nice physical book. Book nerds (like me) will appreciate how thick the paper is, and the layout and design of the pages makes it super easy to read. There are also a lot of fun little illustrations. It almost feels like reading a really great blog on paper. So, though I have nothing against ebooks, you might want to spring for the hardcover on this one.
As for the content inside, the book focuses on how to make time using a simple paradigm which involves choosing a highlight for the day, learning how to laser focus on it, reflecting on how it went, and also making sure you have enough daily energy to get things done. Sounds simple enough, but what I enjoyed about the format of the book was that the authors take each of the four areas in the paradigm and give you a bunch of different tactics to choose from to help implement it.
For instance, in the Laser section, there are over 40 separate tactics they describe that can help you focus better. Things like how to make your phone screen distraction free. (I’m trying a version of this, see pic) or how to wrangle TV time or finding a soundtrack for “flow.” It’s a choose-your-own-adventure style. They’re not saying “do all these things.” They’re saying, here are a bunch of ways you might try. Experiment with combinations and see what works for you.
I found the Highlight, Laser, and Reflection sections really helpful and thought-provoking. I wasn’t as into the Energy section just because I’d rather read advice on eating, exercise, etc. from experts in those particular fields. (Though I did enjoy the tactics about caffeine.)
Overall, this was a quick read that I thoroughly enjoyed and will keep on my shelf. I love that you can just flip to a tactic for a refresh. It really is like having a helpful blog bound into a book. So if you’re looking for a productivity book that is fast-paced, fun, and helpful, you might want to give this one a try.
Here is the official description:
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.