In my professional life, I have been pulled strongly in two directions. One on hand, I’m like a running back. I’m a go-getter. I love to put my head down, get my legs pumping, and run until we win or I puke. Or both. A team player. Leave it on the field. Etc. That’s translated into a law degree, 80-hour workweeks, and everything else you’d expect.
On the other hand, I’m also a hippie by nature. I enjoy nature walks, yoga, meditation, poetry, and falling into a vegetative state with guitar in my hands. My inability to reconcile these real desires has led me to be unhappy when pursuing either side. It’s hard to invest fully in work when I know in the back of my mind that there’s more to life. It’s hard to fully relax when I want to help out my team and heave a bunch of projects off of my desk.
Enter Make Time.
The authors, Knapp and Zeratsky are ex-Google employees (Gmail and Youtube, if you were wondering). They’re both driven guys who want to make the world a better place. While they’re unabashed tech nerds, they realize that too much tech isn’t good for us because our primitive Urk brains (their term) don’t know what to do with all of the information sprayed at us. This book is the results of their years-long journey of figuring out how to get things done while recognizing our humanity and that there is more to life than to-do lists.
To be clear – this isn’t a productivity book. The goal isn’t to complete as many tasks as possible. They say, “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.”
Productivity and self-helps books are often impossible for mortals to follow due to the magnitude of the asks, or they spout pleasant but useless platitudes. This book is useful. It strikes a nice balance of providing a buffet of more than 80 practical, realistic tips for people who aren’t Olympians or CEOs. The tips are about avoiding our biggest drains of time and energy – the Busy Bandwagon and Infinity Pools (apps like Instagram that reload infinitely). They help you focus and energize.
The most helpful line for me and my guilt about enjoying life: “You only waste time if you’re not intentional about how you spend it.”