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Would you like more time in your day?
My guess is yes! Who wouldn’t want more time?
Everyone seems so busy these days. We all have endless to-do lists and multiple things competing for our time.
Now being busy isn’t always a bad thing. It’s the things that you are busy WITH that make all the difference to how you feel. How whether at the end of each day, week or month you feel like you’ve been just spinning the wheels, or whether you feel satisfied with what you’ve achieved.
Are you busy with things that make you feel good? The things that will get you closer to your own goals.
Or are you busy with everyone else’s priorities leaving no time for your own? Do you feel like you never have the time to do the things that matter to you? The things that get you closer to the life you want to live?
How do you get through all the things you need to do?
What’s the key to getting things done while still enjoying life? Without feeling frazzled, distracted, or completely stressed out. Where you don’t feel like each day is yet another long list of things to get through. Where you are not just reacting to everyone else’s demands but you making time for the things you want to do. The things that you care about.
How can you end each day, each week and each month feeling satisfied and accomplished? As if you are moving forward to towards the life you want to live and not just spinning round and round on a hamster wheel?
The answer is focus.
The key to creating more time in your day is harnessing your attention so you can focus on the right things at the right time. It’s about making intentional decisions about how you are going to spend your time, and when.
In their book Make time: how to focus on what matters every day authors Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky show you exactly how you can do that.
In this easy-to-read and entertaining book, chock full of practical tips, Knapp and Zeratsky outline their powerful framework to help you create more time in your day, so you can create space for the important things in your life.
They believe that
focusing on activities that fall in the space between long-term goals and short-term tasks is the key to slowing down, bringing satisfaction to your daily life, and helping you make time.
Their system is based on just four steps, undertaken daily:
Highlight > Laser > Energize > Reflect
By following these steps you can feel less busy, less distracted and enjoy being in the present moment. You will essentially free up time, so you can focus on the things that matter to you.
Step 1. Highlight
something magic happens when you start the day with one high-priority goal – Knapp and Zeratsky
The first step each day is to choose a Highlight – this is the single activity you are going to make your priority for the day. It’s not the only thing you’ll do. But it’s your priority. This is what you are going to focus on, ideally for around 60-90 minutes that day.
By calling it the “Highlight” you put yourself in a positive frame of mind. It’s what YOU have chosen to focus on – it’s your priority, not the priority forced upon you by others.
Knapp and Zeratsky suggest three strategies for picking your Highlight. They recommend thinking about…
- What’s most pressing or urgent – what must you absolutely get done today?
- What will bring you the most satisfaction at the end of the day when you complete this?
- What will bring you the most joy? It’s okay to do something just because you like to do it!
If you get stuck on which strategy to use on any particular day, Knapp and Zeratsky suggest trusting your gut. You’ll know whether an urgent, satisfying or joyful Highlight is the right one to choose for that day.
Step 2. Laser
When you’re laser-focused on your Highlight, it feels fantastic – it’s the payoff for proactively choosing what’s important to you – Knapp and Zeratsky
This step is all about beating distractions so you can work with laser-focus on your Highlight.
Knapp and Zeratsky call one of the major types of distractions we face “infinity pools”. These are the apps, the streaming services, the always-on, always-new entertainment. The sources of endlessly replenishing content. You know the ones…the ones you automatically pull down or refresh because there’s always something new to see.
They provide a huge range of strategies and tactics for taking control of your phone, apps, inboxes and television, so you can resist the distractions. These tactics will help you
- stay out of infinity pools
- slow your inbox
- make TV a “sometimes treat”
They also provide some great tactics to help you become fully engaged and focused on your Highlight. Tactics that’ll help you get in the zone, and stay in the zone.
Just a few are:
- shut the door
- set a visible timer
- avoid the allure of fancy tools
- start on paper
Step 3. Energize
If you can increase your energy every day, you’ll turn moments that might otherwise be lost to mental and physical fatigue into usable time for your Highlights – Knapp and Zeratsky
You need energy in order to do what you want to do – energy is crucial for your brain to focus. The more energy you have the easier it is to avoid distractions and stay focused on your priorities.
Put simply, you need to take care of your body if you want your brain to work effectively.
In their book, Knapp and Zeratsky outline over 20 simple tactics to help you energize under the categories of:
- Keep it moving
- Eat real food
- Optimize caffeine
- Go off the grid
- Make it personal
- Sleep in a cave
Step 4. Reflect
The final part of Knapp and Zeratsky’s Make Time framework is reflect.
This step is all about looking back over your day and assessing which tactics were useful to you and which were not. Because everyone has different preferences, different bodies, and different lifestyles, you’ll probably find that not all tactics you try will work for you. The key is to find out what does.
First, you need to keep track of your Highlight. Write it down each day and note whether or not you made time for it, how well you were able to focus, and how much energy you had. Then reflect on the tactics you used and whether they worked for you.
Perhaps you decide to try a different tactic tomorrow? Pick and choose from the range of tactics, then tomorrow reflect on how that went. Rinse and repeat.
Bear in mind that not all tactics will work immediately. Some tactics might take a little longer and some might require a bit of trial-and-error, patience and perseverance.
Follow these four steps, Highlight > Laser > Energize > Reflect, and you’ll discover what a difference it can make to your day.
If you reduce just a few distractions, increase your physical and mental energy just a bit, and focus your attention on one bright spot, a blah day can become extraordinary – Knapp and Zeratsky
You’ll make time for the things that matter to you, and you’ll enjoy your day all the more.
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