“If you want to achieve more (without going nuts), read this book.”—Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit
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.
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|Publisher:||Crown Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Jake spent 10 years at Google and Google Ventures, where he created the design sprint process. He has since run more than 150 sprints with companies including Nest, Slack, 23andMe, and Flatiron Health. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and sons.
John has written for the Wall Street Journal, Time, Harvard Business Review, Wired, Fast Company, and many more publications. For nearly fifteen years, he was a designer at technology companies, including YouTube and Google Ventures. Originally from Wisconsin, John and his wife now live aboard their sailboat, "Pineapple."
Read an Excerpt
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 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.
We want to start by talking about why life is so busy and chaotic these days. And why, if you feel constantly stressed and distracted, it’s probably not your fault.
In the twenty-first century, two very powerful forces compete for every minute of your time. The first is what we call the Busy Bandwagon. The Busy Bandwagon is our culture of constant busyness—the overflowing inboxes, stuffed calendars, and endless to-do lists. According to the Busy Bandwagon mindset, if you want to meet the demands of the modern workplace and function in modern society, you must fill every minute with productivity. After all, everyone else is busy. If you slow down, you’ll fall behind and never catch up.
The second force competing for your time is what we call the Infinity Pools. Infinity Pools are apps and other sources of endlessly replenishing content. If you can pull to refresh, it’s an Infinity Pool. If it streams, it’s an Infinity Pool. This always-available, always-new entertainment is your reward for the exhaustion of constant busyness.
But is constant busyness really mandatory? Is endless distraction really a reward? Or are we all just stuck on autopilot?
Most of Our Time Is Spent by Default
Both forces—the Busy Bandwagon and the Infinity Pools—are powerful because they’ve become our defaults. In technology lingo, default means the way something works when you first start using it. It’s a preselected option, and if you don’t do something to change it, that default is what you get. For example, if you buy a new phone, by default you get email and Web browser apps on the homescreen. By default, you get a notification for every new message. The phone has a default wallpaper image and a default ring tone. All these options have been preselected by Apple or Google or whoever made your phone; you can change the settings if you want to, but it takes work, so many defaults just stick.
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.
There you are in the middle, pulled in opposite directions by the Busy Bandwagon and the Infinity Pools. But what about you? What do you want from your days and from your life? What would happen if you could override these defaults and create your own?
Willpower isn’t the way out. We’ve tried to resist the siren song of these forces ourselves, and we know how impossible it can be. We also spent years working in the technology industry, and we understand these apps, games, and devices well enough to know that they eventually will wear you down.
Productivity isn’t the solution, either. We’ve tried to shave time off chores and cram in more to-dos. The trouble is, there are always more tasks and requests waiting to take their place. The faster you run on the hamster wheel, the faster it spins.
But there is a way to free your attention from those competing distractions and take back control of your time. That’s where this book comes in. 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.
We want to help you set your own defaults. With new habits and new mindsets, you can stop reacting to the modern world and start actively making time for the people and activities that matter to you. This isn’t about saving time. It’s about making time for what matters.
The ideas in this book can give you space in your calendar, in your brain, and in your days. That space can bring clarity and calm to everyday life. It can create opportunities to start new hobbies or get to that “someday” project. A little space in your life might even unlock creative energy you lost or never found in the first place. But before we get into all of that, we’d like to explain who the heck we are, why we’re so obsessed with time and energy, and how we came up with Make Time.