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My takeaway

Choose a highlight to work on every day that will be your main focus. The highlight won’t be the only thing you do but it will be your priority. By choosing a highlight—and protecting it—you become more proactive with how you spend your time.

My notes

These are my informal notes from Make Time. It contains a mix of key highlights as well as my own thoughts and lessons.

  • The way you experience your days is not determined primarily by what happens to you. In fact, you create your own reality by choosing what you pay attention to.
  • Ask yourself: at the end of the day, which highlight will bring me the most satisfaction?
  • Every day choose a highlight that will be your priority. Be proactive with your time and protect the time you set for your highlight.
  • Use your highlight to break the “someday” cycle.
  • Remember that you are only wasting time if you’re not intentional about how you spend it.
  • Trust your gut to decide whether an urgent, joyful, or satisfying highlight is best for today.
  • Being intentional is an essential step toward making more time in your life.
  • Checking off finished tasks feels good, but the fleeting glow of accomplishment masks an ugly truth: Most to-dos are just reactions to other people’s priorities, not yours.
  • Use daily “do not schedule” blocks to make room for your highlight.
  • When is the best time of day to check email? How long should it take? You can design the answers ahead of time rather than reacting in real time.
  • By default we don’t just get the best of modern technology. We get all of it, all the time.
  • The better the technology gets, the cooler our superpowers will become—and the more of our time and attention the machines will steal.
  • The best way to defeat distraction is to make it harder to react.
  • Create a little inconvenience. When distraction is hard to access, you don’t have to worry about willpower.
  • Removing email and other social media apps from your phone might be the simplest, most powerful change you can make to reclaim time and attention.
  • We check email on our phones to catch up, but the result is usually just a reminder that we’re falling behind.
  • Once you control the defaults, you’re the boss. And that’s how it should be.
  • Notifications are not your friends. They’re nonstop attention thieves. Turn off almost all notifications.
  • Check out today’s newspaper. Or go to your favorite news website. Look at the top headlines and think critically about each one. Will that headline change any decisions you make today? How many of those headlines will become obsolete by tomorrow, next week, or next month?
  • Read the news weekly.
  • Reacting to what’s in front of you is always easier than doing what you intend.
  • Where are the time craters in your life?
  • Instead of checking your email first thing in the morning and then getting sucked in and reacting to other people’s priorities, deal with email at the end of the day.
  • If you take the “answer right away” default into the digital world, you get in trouble.
  • The trouble with streaming subscriptions is that there’s always something on. It’s like having an all-you-can-eat buffet of distraction in your living room at all times.
  • What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.