A Friendly Approach to Focus and Energy

“The best time management book I’ve read. It’s not about doing more; it’s about making time to do what really matters to you.”

Make Time is not about crushing your to-do list, optimizing every hour, or maximizing personal productivity. It’s about rethinking the defaults of constant busyness and distraction so you can focus on what matters every day.

Developed as an antidote to the fast-paced, always-connected culture of Silicon Valley, our 2018 book Make Time was a rallying cry for a new class of professionals.

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Meet the Time Dorks

Hi, we’re Jake and JZ. Most time-management advice is written by or about superhumans. But we’re normal, fallible human beings who get stressed out and distracted just like everyone else.

Not an actual photograph of the authors.

We both worked in the tech industry for a long time. The work was exciting and rewarding, but the always-connected culture and back-to-back meeting schedule left little time for our priorities.

So we decided to do something about it. We took what we learned from designing apps like Gmail and YouTube, and came up with simple ways to fight distraction and take back control. We looked at the success of our design sprint process, and saw principles that anyone could apply to make better use of their time.

We began experimenting with our own habits and routines, trying to make time for what’s important to us. We tested hundreds of dorky tactics and took notes on what worked. We shared our results online and asked readers to tell us about their experiences.

With some simple changes, we learned that it’s possible to redesign your time—to get more focus, greater attention, and better energy for the things that matter to you every day.

How Make Time Works

Make Time is not macho or hardcore. It’s not a one-size-fits-all plan. We’ve tried plenty of those, and while we did get more done, we didn’t like how it made us feel. We wanted Make Time to be different: Flexible. Forgiving. Friendly. It’s based around four simple steps.

1. Highlight: Start each day by choosing a priority

Asking yourself “What’s going to be the highlight of my day?” ensures that you spend time on what matters most to you and don’t lose the entire day reacting to other people’s priorities.

2. Laser: Beat distraction to make time

Distractions like email, social media, and breaking news are everywhere. We’ll show you how to adjust your devices and apps so you can find Laser mode.

3. Energize: Use the body to recharge the brain

The lifestyle defaults of the 21st Century ignore our evolutionary history and rob us of energy, but with a few small changes, you can reset those defaults and power up.

4. 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.

Our book Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day explains these steps in a lot more detail. It contains 87 different tactics that we’ve tested and you can use to put the steps into action. Think of it like a cookbook full of recipes. You can find the ones you like best.

As you try things out, Make Time will become a customized daily system tailored to your unique habits and routines, your unique brain and body, and your unique goals and priorities.

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