Make Time Short Summary

Make Time by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky are techniques designed to help you create more time in your day for the things you care about. It consists of 4 steps, repeated every day: Highlight, Laser, Energize, and Reflect. The book also includes 87 other techniques to custom tailor the framework for you.

The “Make Time” Framework

Make Time is a framework that can help you create more time for the things you find important, in 4 steps, repeated every day:

  1. Highlight: Pick a single activity to prioritize in your schedule.
  2. Laser: Use certain tactics to stay laser-focused on your priority.
  3. Energize: Charge your battery with exercise, food, sleep and quiet time.
  4. Reflect: Adjust and improve your system.


When you don’t take care of your body, your brain can’t do its job.

To increase your energy, all you need to do is travel back in time.

Fine-tune your days with the Scientific Method:

  1. Observe
  2. Guess
  3. Experiment
  4. Measure

“Do not ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have came alive.” -Howard Thurman

Step 1: Highlight Tactics (set priorities)

If you set a single intention at the start of each day, then you will be more satisfied at end of the day after completing that task.

Focusing on a daily highlight stops the tug-of-war between Infinity Pool Distractions and the demands of Busy Bandwagon.

It creates a 3rd path: Being intentional and focused about how you spend your day.

A Highlight should be bigger than a task but smaller than a major project.

3 types of HIGHLIGHTs

  1. Urgency: “What’s the pressing thing I need to do today?”
  2. Satisfaction: “At the end of the day what would give me more satisfaction?”
  3. Joy: “When I reflect on my day, what experience will give me more joy?”

Some highlight tactics –

#1 Write it down

#8 Schedule your highlight

#14 Become a morning person

#15 Night-time is highlight-time.

Busy Bangwagon and Infinite Pools

Busy Bandwagon: This is the illusion of endless tasks.

Infinity Pools: Apps and other sources of endless (or infinity) replenishing contents. These are the endless distractions.

These days ‘BUSY‘ is just like a ‘Badge of Honour’

We are just trying to squeeze productivity into every minute of the day and forget to live more intentionally.

“We don’t remember every day, we remember moments.” -Cesare Pavese

Step 2: Laser Tactics

When you’re in Laser mode, your attention is focused on the present. You’re in the flow, fully engaged, and immersed in the moment.

The key to getting into Laser mode and focusing on your Highlight is to create barriers to distraction.

The best way to defeat distraction is to make it harder to react.

When distraction is hard to access, you don’t have to worry about willpower.

#18 Log out – from all the social media sites, uncheck the ‘remember me’, reset the password to a strong one, and write it down physically.

#19 Nix Notifications

#23 Skip the Morning Check-in

#24 Block Distraction Kryptonite: The weak point of you which can’t resist (just like Kryptonite is the weak point of Superman).

#38 Be Slow to Response

# 51 Play a Laser Sound Track – a favorite soundtrack of yours – will help to get into focus easily.

# 55 Make a Random Question List.

“Perfection is a distraction—another shiny object taking your attention away from your real priorities.” -Jake Knapp

Try a Distraction-Free Phone

  • No notifications; leave only the really critical and useful ones enabled.
  • Log out when you’re done with an app, and keep a clean home screen.
  • Stay out of Infinity Pools: don’t reach for your phone first thing in the morning, read the news weekly, not daily, put a timer on your internet use, and remind yourself what your real priorities are.
  • Deal with email at the end of the day or have a designated time in your day just for that; answer messages in batch.

“You only waste time if you’re not intentional about how you spend it.” -Jake Knapp

Step 3: Energize Tactics

Use your body to recharge your brain.

If you live a little more like a prehistoric human, you will enhance your mental and physical energy.

Some tactics

#61 Exercise every day (Don’t Be a Hero)

#67 Stay Hungry: Skip Breakfast

#72 Take a caffeine Nap

#77 Get Woodsy: Get some time in the woods (or close to nature)

#78 Trick yourself into Meditating: Just take a moment and feel your breaths and count them.

“Shifting your focus to something that your mind perceives as a doable, completable task will create a real increase in positive energy, direction, and motivation.” -Jake Knapp

Step 4: Reflect Tactics

Adjust and improve your system. (And fine tune your days)

Take note of those tactics that are working for you and those that aren’t.

Establish your own ‘Make Time’ System.

  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.

Take time for daily reflection: did you make time for your Highlight? How well were you able to focus on it? If you fail at first, don’t be hard on yourself when you fail. Use your notes to Give it time and use the notes improve your process.


Quick Start Guide

If you’re not sure where to begin, try this recipe:

  1. Highlight: Schedule Your Highlight (#8). A simple way to be proactive.
  2. Laser: Block Distraction Kryptonite (#24). Free yourself from one Infinity Pool.
  3. Energize: Pound the Pavement (#62). A few minutes of walking every day boosts your body and mind.
  4. Reflect every evening for three days. Just try the three tactics above and, for three days straight.

From the book:-
Make Time by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky

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