Skip to main content
  1. Posts/

Make Time: How to Focus on what Matters Every Day

·6 mins
Book Notes Nonfiction Productivity Self Help Reference
Table of Contents

Top-Level Thought

What are the gravitational forces that pull us down to the ground and don’t let us make time for the work that is the most value to us? In the world of distraction and interruption, how could we push ourselves to get rid of the force of Busy wagon and Infinity pool and make time in our daily life for our highlighted task by converting our to-do list into a might-do list; instead of doing what is in front of us to what we want to do? How could we take a sigh at the end of the day with a deep satisfaction rather than being more productive by finishing someone else’s priority?


The day I started reading this book, I have started to schedule every little thing of my day to day life in a calendar. It makes me feel that I have committed to myself to do something and after getting that done I can feel a cool bridge of satisfaction. It also helps me to set my daily, weekly, and monthly goals. Besides, I have become a morning person and getting more time to get stuff done. I usually don’t follow every single step they have suggested in this book, and I think it’s not possible to stick with it. Instead, I try to follow what fits for me, and that changes the way I was thinking before along with my perspective of life. I consider this as one of my life-changing books.


Most of our time is spent by Default

  • 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.
  • Being more productive didn’t mean I was doing the most important work; it only meant I was reacting to other people’s priorities faster. I’d been too busy treading water in a sea of other people’s emails, other people’s status updates, and snapshots of other people’s lunch.
  • Something magic happens when you start the day with one high-priority goal.
  • Experimenting allowed us to improve the process. The lessons we learned became the foundation for Make Time.

How make time works

  • Reflect: Adjust and Improve Your System Finally, before going to bed, you’ll take a few notes. It’s super simple: You’ll decide which tactics you want to continue and which ones you want to refine or drop.
  • Perfection is a distraction—another shiny object taking your attention away from your real priorities.
  • What Will Be the Highlight of Your Day?
  • Urgency The first strategy is all about urgency: What’s the most pressing thing I have to do today?
  • Satisfaction The second Highlight strategy is to think about satisfaction: At the end of the day, which Highlight will bring me the most satisfaction?
  • Joy The third strategy focuses on joy: When I reflect on today, what will bring me the most joy?
  • A good rule of thumb is to choose a Highlight that takes sixty to ninety minutes.
  • Drawing the circle reinforces this prioritization—there’s something symbolic about putting your decision in ink.

Make time for your Highlight

  • Schedule Your Highlight, Block Your Calendar, Bulldoze Your Calendar, Flake It Till You Make It, Just Say No, Design Your Day, Become a Morning Person,. Nighttime Is Highlight Time, Quit When You’re Done.
  • 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.
  • If these Infinity Pools are hard to resist today, they’ll be harder to resist tomorrow.


  • Try a Distraction-Free Phone, Log Out, Nix Notifications, Clear Your Home screen, Wear a Wristwatch, Leave Devices Behind.

Stay Out of the Infinity Pool

  • Skip the Morning Check-In, Block Distraction Kryptonite, Ignore the News,. Put Your Toys Away, Fly Without Wi-Fi, Put a Timer on the Internet, Cancel the Internet, Watch Out for Time Craters, Trade Fake Wins for Real Wins, Turn Distractions into Tools, Become a Fair-Weather Fan.

Slow Your Inbox

  • Deal with Email at the End of the Day, Schedule Email Time 36. Empty Your Inbox Once a Week, Pretend Messages Are Letters, Be Slow to Respond, Reset Expectations, Set Up Send-Only Email, Vacation Off the Grid, Lock Yourself Out.
  • We used to think an empty email inbox was the hallmark of high productivity.
  • Every time you check your email or another message service, you’re basically saying, “Does any random person need my time right now?” And if you respond right away, you’re sending another signal both to them and to yourself: “I’ll stop what I’m doing to put other people’s priorities ahead of mine no matter who they are or what they want.”

Find Flow

  • Shut the Door, Invent a Deadline, Explode Your Highlight, Play a Laser Sound Track, Set a Visible Timer, Avoid the Lure of Fancy Tools, Start on Paper.
  • Shut the Door The closed door is your way of telling the world and yourself that you mean business. —STEPHEN KING, ON WRITING

Stay in the Zone

  • Make a “Random Question” List, Notice One Breath, Be Bored, Be Stuck, Take a Day Off, Go All In Getting.
  • You Are More Than a Brain. Anthropologists estimate that ancient humans “worked” only thirty hours a week. The Modern Lifestyle Is an Accident. Underneath our smartwatches, fancy haircuts, and factory-made designer jeans, we’re Urk (Caveman). Act Like a Caveman to Build Energy

Keep It Moving

  • Exercise Every Day (but Don’t Be a Hero), Pound the Pavement, Inconvenience Yourself, Squeeze in a Super Short Workout.

Optimize Caffine

  • To the brain, caffeine molecules look a lot like a molecule called adenosine, whose job is to tell the brain to slow down and feel sleepy or groggy. Adenosine is helpful in the evening as you get ready for bed. But when adenosine makes us sleepy in the morning or afternoon, we usually reach for caffeine.
  • In the morning, your body naturally produces lots of cortisol, a hormone that helps you wake up. When cortisol is high, caffeine doesn’t do much for you (except for temporarily relieving your caffeine addiction symptoms).

Go Off the Grid

  • Get Woodsy, Trick Yourself into Meditating, Leave Your Headphones at Home, Take Real Breaks.
  • Meditation is also exercise for your brain.
  • Take a break and leave your headphones at home. Just listen to the sounds of traffic, or the clack of your keyboard, or your footsteps on the pavement.
  • Why a movie? Unlike a a TV series, a movie is relatively short and finite. Unlike social media or email or the news, it won’t make me anxious. It’s pure escapism and a chance for my brain to stop and relax without the risk of falling into a time crater of energy-draining distraction.
  • OBSERVE what’s going on. GUESS why things are happening the way they are. EXPERIMENT to test your hypothesis. MEASURE the results and decide whether you were right.
  • Take Notes to Track Your Results (and Keep You Honest)

Start “Someday” Today

  • Do not ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. —HOWARD THURMAN
  • This major shift in my priorities didn’t happen overnight. It was like a snowball rolling downhill, growing with every revolution.

Cover Image Source: