Make Time - Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky

Make Time - Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky

Video Book Summary

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Book Summary Notes 

Make Time

“Do you ever look back and wonder ‘What did I really do today?’ Do you ever daydream about projects and activities you’ll get to someday—but ‘someday’ never comes?"

"This is a book about slowing down the crazy rush. It’s about making time for things that matter. We believe it’s possible to feel less busy, be less distracted, and enjoy the present moment more. Maybe that sounds a little hippy-dippy, but we’re serious."

"Make time is not about productivity. It’s not about getting more done, finishing your to-dos faster, or outsourcing your life. Instead, it’s a framework designed to help you actually create more time in your day for the things you care about, whether that’s spending time with your family, learning a new language, starting a side business, volunteering, writing a novel, or mastering Mario Kart. Whatever you want time for, we think Make Time can help you get it. Moment by moment and day by day, you can make your life your own.”

Where does the time go?

I'm sure we've all felt that sickening feeling of 'wasting' the day..  

• Feeling like we were busy all day long without anything important to really show for it!

• Costing us a full days work..  and compounding over time!

This book is designed to give you a simple process to eliminate that..

• They simply give you a way to make sure that you are focusing on the right things..  

• While also showing you how to do it undistracted! 

These guys worked for the big guys..  

• So you know if the best companies in the world with almost unlimited resources are using it that it's powerful!

• Inside the book they give you SO MANY tips and tricks on how to Make Time..  Pick up a copy today!  You'll thank me.

Busy Bandwagons and Infinity Pools

“Both forces—the Busy Bandwagon and the Infinity Pools—are powerful because they’ve become our defaults. ..."

"There are defaults in nearly every part of our lives. It’s not just our devices; our workplaces and our culture have built-in defaults that make busy and distracted the normal, typical state of affairs. These standard settings are everywhere. Nobody ever looked at an empty calendar and said, ‘The best way to spend this time is to cram it full of random meetings!’ Nobody ever said, ‘The most important thing today is everybody else’s whims!’ Of course not. That would be crazy. But because of defaults, it’s exactly what we do. In the office, every meeting defaults to thirty or sixty minutes even if the business at hand actually requires only a quick chat. By default other people choose what goes on our calendars, and by default we’re expected to be okay with back- to-back-to-back meetings. The rest of our work defaults to email and messaging systems, and by default we check our inboxes constantly and reply-all immediately."

"React to what’s in front of you. Be responsive. Fill your time, be efficient, and get more done. These are the default rules of the Busy Bandwagon."

"When we tear ourselves away from the Busy Bandwagon, the Infinity Pools are ready to lure us in. While the Busy Bandwagon defaults to endless tasks, the Infinity Pools default to endless distraction. Our phones, laptops, and televisions are filled with games, social feeds, and videos. Everything is at our fingertips, irresistible, even addictive. Every bump of friction is smoothed away."

"Refresh Facebook. Browse YouTube. Keep up on the nonstop breaking news, play Candy Crush, binge-watch HBO. These are the defaults behind the ravenous Infinity Pools, devouring every scrap of time the Busy Bandwagon leaves behind. With the average person spending four-plus hours a day on their smartphone and another four-plus hours watching TV shows, distraction is quite literally a full-time job.”

Default to Distraction and Busy-ness

Busy Bandwagon is the way Jake and John explain the default of how most people work..  How we've been trained to work!

  • They include constantly reacting to things as they come..
  • Spending time doing things that don't move the needle..
  • Putting other people's time and projects before your own
  • This is how most of us set up our businesses and lives

Infinity Pools are something we've talked about at length on this channel specifically in Cal Newport's Deep Work

  • They include things like social media, streaming and just smartphones in general
  • All things that we spend our time doing without getting anything real in return!
  • But they've gotten so good at sucking our attention they truly have become the worst enemies of great work!

Even when we beat the busy bandwagon by taking control of our own schedule..  Infinity pools are there to take all our extra time..

  • That's why Making Time presents a system that has a two pronged attacked..  
  • Take control of your time by hopping off the busy bandwagon and jump out of the infinity pools..  
  • More on the system in the next point!

Four Steps

“The four daily steps of Make Time are inspired by what we learned from design sprints, from our own experiments, and from readers who have tried out the framework and shared their results." 

"Here’s a zoomed-out view of how each day looks: The first step is choosing a single highlight to prioritize in your day. Next, you’ll employ specific tactics to stay laser-focused on that highlight—we’ll offer a menu of tricks to beat distraction in an always-connected world. Throughout the day, you’ll build energy so you can stay in control of your time and attention. Finally, you’ll reflect on the day with a few simple notes.”

The Steps in Action

1. Highlight: Decide your most important thing for the day.

2. Laser: Eliminate distractions so you have time to focus on your highlight.

3. Energize: Do things to keep your energy levels up throughout the day.

4. Reflect. Check in and try to get a little better every single day.


“We believe that focusing on these in-between activities—in the space between goals and tasks— is the key to slowing down, bringing satisfaction to your daily life, and helping you make time." 

"Long-term goals are useful for orienting you in the right direction but make it hard to enjoy time spent working along the way. And tasks are necessary to get things done, but without a focal point, they fly by in a forgettable haze."

"Plenty of self-help gurus have offered suggestions for setting goals and plenty of productivity experts have created systems for getting things done, but the space between has been neglected. We call this missing piece a Highlight.”

Begin each day by thinking about your highlight..

They tell us in the book to imagine someone asks you what the highlight of your day is..  Then write it down!

  • This is a simple reflection technique but it is so powerful!
  • I've been doing the one thing for a very long time..  But this "what was your highlight" idea is a huge additive to it!

Also in the book they talk about setting long term goals and how it can make it hard to spend your time working towards something instead of enjoying the moment.. 

  • This is absolutely something that I've felt..  In fact for a long time I didn't set long term goals because I felt they robbed me of actually enjoying my day to day!  
  • Which of course if crazy because then I don't have any way of knowing which way I'm going..  
  • So instead focusing on the highlight day to day and having the long term vision or goal as my guiding light is helpful!

How about you..  What is your highlight going to be today?

  • PS. They say in the book to try and make the highlight only 60-90 minutes long..  
  • Any less and we can't get into flow and any more and we're likely to start to drop the ball in some of our other areas.. 
  • I think that's a good guideline..  But I would also say for people like me who have complete control over their schedule it could be much much longer..  


“This chapter is about a state of mind called Laser. When you’re in Laser mode, your attention is focused on the present like a laser beam in the moment. You’re in the flow, fully engaged and immersed in the moment. When you’re laser-focused on your Highlight, it feels fantastic—it’s the payoff for proactively choosing what’s important to you."

"The word Laser might sound intense, but if you’ve chosen a Highlight and cleared time, there doesn’t have to be anything hard or complicated about it. When you’re doing something you care about and have the energy to focus, Laser mode simply appears."

"Unless . . . you get distracted. Distraction is the enemy of Laser mode. It’s like a giant disco ball in the path of your laser beam: Light goes everywhere except in the direction of the target. When that happens, you can easily end up missing out on your Highlight.”

State of Mind

After you've highlighted your most important task for the day how can you be sure you accomplish it to the best of your ability?  

  • Simple..  By controlling your state of mind!  
  • This is what they call in the book 'Laser'

Being in a laser state of mind you attention is focused on the present moment..

  • This is similar to Deep Work and Flow as well as many other books touting the benefits of getting into a flow state..
  • The Flow state is where we are the most productive, creative and focused..

So what does it take to get into a Laser state?

  • Eliminating all distractions
  • Putting your highlight first when you have energy
  • They share a lot of other ways to get into Laser mode in the book!  Check it out... 

First Thing

“When you wake up in the morning, whether you slept for five hours or ten, you’ve had a nice long break from the Busy Bandwagon and the Infinity Pools. This is a golden moment. The day is fresh, your brain is rested, and you have no reason to feel distracted yet. No news items to stress about, no work emails to stew over."

"Savor it. Don’t reach for email, Twitter, Facebook or the news right away. It’s very tempting to do a check-in first thing in the morning and get the latest updates; after all, something in the world always changes overnight. But as soon as you fire up that screen, you start a tug-of-war of attention between the present moment and everything out there on the Internet."

"Put it off. The longer you postpone the morning check-in—until 9 a.m., 10 a.m., or even after lunch—the longer you preserve that feeling of rested calm and the easier it is to get into Laser mode.”

This was one of the most difficult things I've done.. 

Before I was introduced to this concept I would wake up 'slowly' by getting coffee and 'checking in' with the world.. 

Little did I know just how bad that was disrupting my life!  90 minutes in the morning is as good or better that 4 hours later in the day for me..  

So I had to bite the bullet and put my highlight first..  

Give it a try it's the most powerful change I've made in my life!


“So far in this book, we’ve talked about ways to make time by choosing where to focus your effort, adjusting your calendar and devices, and blocking out distractions to boost attention. But there’s another, even more basic way to make time. If you can increase your energy every day, you’ll turn moments that might otherwise be lost to mental and physical fatigue into usable time for your Highlights. ..."

"Choosing a Highlight and getting into Laser mode are the core of Make Time. But the secret sauce is Energize. Our thesis is simple: If you have energy, it’s easier to maintain your focus and priorities and avoid reacting to distractions and demands. With a full battery, you have the power to be present, think clearly, and spend your time on what matters, not default to what’s right in front of you.”

Energy electrifies the system..

Now that we've covered the system that allows us to make time..  We need to talk about how to energize that time!

Having a light bulb (one of the most amazing inventions ever) without any electricity doesn't accomplish much..  

To do this we need to ENERGIZE!  AKA take care of the body we've been given..

  • That means doing thing like exercising regularly..  
  • Eating real food
  • They even have a caffeine ritual in the book! 

Hows your energy?  What can you do today to increase it?


“Don’t worry. Science is simple. Sure, some of it—particle accelerators, astrophysics, photon torpedoes—can be a little tricky. But the scientific method itself is straight forward:"

"1. OBSERVE what’s going on."

"2. GUESS why things are happening the way they are."

"3. EXPERIMENT to test your hypothesis."

"4. MEASURE the results and decide whether you were right."

"That’s pretty much it. The scientific know-how behind everything from WD-40 to the Hubble space telescope all came from following those four steps.”

The final step in the make time process..

After we've implemented the first three steps we need to take some time to look at them logically.


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