This is a re-broadcast. The episode originally ran in October 2018. 

Do your days seem like a continuous blur of busyness, and yet you don’t seem to get much done, nor remember much about how you spent your time?

As a former employee of Google, my guest today worked on the very apps and technology that can often suck away our time. Today, he’s dedicated to figuring out how to push back against these forces to help people take control of their time and attention.

His name is John Zeratsky and he’s the co-author of the book Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day. Today on the show, John shares how the experience of feeling like he was missing months of his life led him to spending years experimenting with his habits and routines, looking for the best ways to to optimize energy, focus, and time. He then shares the simple 4-step daily framework that developed from this research and walks us through that system. John talks about choosing one “highlight” each day to ensure your most important work gets done and that your life is full of memorable moments. He also shares how to reduce the time you spend wading in what he calls “infinity pools,” why energy management is just as important as time management, and how reflection is essential in figuring out if what you’re doing is working.

Lots of valuable direction in this show for how to get your life on track and find more hours and meaning in the day.

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Show Highlights

How John’s experience in the tech industry led to a productivity obsession Why your life isn’t about what happens, but what you pay attention toWhy to build “highlights” into your daily life Should highlights be work-related or personal?How are highlights different from goals?How highlights can help you move toward your goals Why most time management and self-help advice is intimidating Why goals are risky and can actually blind us to the present momentThe importance of flexibility and forgiveness in your time managementDitching your to-do list (and what to replace it with) What’s an infinity pool? What makes them so dangerous to our productivity and happiness?How to rid your life of infinity pools How spending less time on email makes you better at emailingThe case against fancy time management and productivity toolsWhy energy management is so important The case for cooking (and other strenuous/active hobbies) How to make time to reflect every dayKeeping up with this framework day after day

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

John’s first book: SprintMy interview with Adam Alter about why today’s tech is so irresistibleGetting Things Done by David AllenBe a Time Wizard: How to Slow Down and Speed Up TimeRapt by Winifred GallagherMake Every Day a Good Day With This Morning RoutineMy interview with Steven Kotler about flow4 Questions to Kill the Fear of Missing OutHow to Slay the Email MonsterA Call for a New Strenuous AgeThe Winston Churchill School of AdulthoodMy interview with Tim Wu about the tyranny of convenienceThe Spiritual Disciplines: Self-ExaminationMy interview with Charles Duhigg about hacking the habit loop

Connect With John 

John on Twitter

Time Dorks Newsletter

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