Today’s post is something I am very excited about; now I wouldn’t say it’s a book review because it’s not as in-depth going into every single section but it’s picking out those little gems that I found fascinating or that spoke to me, and that’s what we should all look for when it comes to book reviews right?
I picked this book up in New York when we went to visit the Strand Bookstore; I had never heard of the book before but I’m very interested in self-development and originally, I thought it was based around productivity and because that is something I tend to struggle with, I picked it up pretty quickly. Once I got into the book, I realised that it wasn’t about productivity at all, but it was more about changing your habits in order to find yourself more time. What I personally love about the layout of the book is that; the chapters aren’t very long and because there are so many techniques, you can jump throughout the book so you don’t necessarily need to read it back-to-back. To give you a very quick over-view, it was written by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky and you can really see their personalities shine through throughout this book with their little jokes and puns and even the little illustrations too.
Before getting into the techniques that I took value from, I wanted to go through the four steps that are absolutely key to making sure this process works a treat; Highlight, Laser, Energise and Reflect.
What do you want to make time for? That’s the million-pound question right? We have so many different things going on day-to-day but the focus of this is to choose one single thing that you want to make the time for. This really can be for absolutely anything; work-related, a creative project, self-development or maybe something that has been on your to-do list for a while. Now of course, this isn’t the only thing you are going to do in your day but it’s something that you know that will need set time aside for. This section also allows you to help you make time for your highlight; whether that is writing it down on paper or digitally, doing your highlight in the morning or evening, or helping you design your own days around your own hours.
Aah distractions, we’ve all been there right? This next step is to help with those distractions that we can’t seem to drag ourselves away from and yes, lowering our social media usage is included (but this will help you choose which techniques will make the process easier for you).
We’ve all heard that recharging is amazing for the soul and when we’re working on any project (whether that be work-related, creative or simply doing a list of chores around the house) we all need to take time out rather than work twelve hours straight. This section is full of wonderful tips that many of us need to do more often to refresh the brain.
Reflection is so important when taking on any changes because if something doesn’t work for you and you’re not looking at that on a regular basis; the changes you have been making will continue to not work. John and Jake recommend doing this every evening before bed, so you can recall what you did during the day with it still very fresh in your memory.
● ● ●
Now, onto the techniques! These are just a few of my favourites that I took the most value from, as the book is packed full, so if you want to find out more, you should have a read of it for yourself. I’ve divided these into the four sections to make for an easier read.
(This is what we see A LOT within the twenty first century and I used to be a victim of it too – Constantly being busy and being so proud of the fact that you were so busy you didn’t have time for anything else. Look familiar?)
The “Might Do” List.
While this might sound overwhelming when I explain it; once I had done it for the first time, I realised that it’s definitely not as bad as it sounds. As someone who went way too far with her own lists only a year ago, I’m still careful with how I structure lists. This technique asks you to list all the tasks you need to do and then prioritise what tasks you absolutely need to do and what tasks you can put to the side; it’s as simple as that. It might take some time writing everything down but it will help you realise what needs done rather than becoming really overwhelmed.
Tactic Battle: Morning vs. Night.
There’s often talk within the personal development world that in order to be your best self, getting up early in the morning is a must but what if you don’t feel like you work your best at that time. In this tactic battle, Jake and John discuss what works for them; Jon works better in the morning and Jake works better in the evening. I’m personally teaching my body to become a morning person and I am getting there but I thought this would be a great section to read if night-time is more your jam.
(An example of one of the many digital techniques in the book that Jake and John talk about including letting go of distractions from your phone. Also, how cute are the little heads and the speech bubbles?)
Skip the Morning Check In.
I’m going to prefaces this by saying that this is something I wouldn’t be able to do during the work week, but during the weekend and when I have no plans, absolutely! Skipping the morning check in really is what it says on the tin; it’s where you wake up with an alarm and don’t check you phone until you have had breakfast and are ready to go for the day. Over the Easter break, I remember reading this part of the book before going to bed, I set my alarm and I went to bed. I woke up the next morning and the first thing I did was look at my phone (Ironic right?) and it was dead. The cable must have fell out overnight so I had no battery left, so surely this was the perfect opportunity to charge it in my room while I got ready. Now, I had zero idea of what time it was, so I went down and had my breakfast, got showered, dried and straightened my hair and got changed. When I eventually turned my phone on, it was 6:30am… the exact time I had set my alarm for. If that wasn’t fate, I don’t know what is frankly. Yes, it was still early but I had plans that day so I was able to read and chill for the early part of the morning.
I don’t necessarily think this is a bad idea, I certainly seen the benefits after one morning but you still at least one alarm. I would suggest an actual alarm clock so you know what time it is but I do like the concept of not logging right into your phone as soon as your brain time to wake up naturally.
Make a “Random Question” List.
Ever thought about who was in that movie that you love and you just HAD to Google it even though you’re right in the middle of something? We will do anything to create a distraction sometime but often, we can’t help what pops into our head which is why I loved this idea. You can write any random thoughts or questions down and once you are finished your task, then you can decide whether you want to find out the answer or explore it further.
(I explain this one just down below!)
Central Park Your Plate.
This concept interested me because we’ve all heard of the perfect portion plate and it’s what most of us universally used when we were younger. This point of this plate is to imagine your vegetables are Central Park, bang right in the middle of the city, then what you put around that is your proteins, your fats and your carbs. It’s not only to make sure you get lots of vegetables but to re-structure your meals so there are more vegetables, if you’re the type of person that only puts a few on the side then says “Oh there’s not enough room for any more.” Now you don’t have that excuse.
Sneak a Nap.
I’m not just choosing this because I love a good nap (because I REALLY do!) but throughout the book, Jake and John tell us about various studies they have read surrounding different studies and they mentioned that a 1994 study conducted by NASA focused on long-haul commercial pilots. The researchers found that pilots who took a nap improved their performance by 34% which was particularly influential because we all want our pilots to perform well. John does make a small note saying that he understands if you work in an office environment, it can either be awkward to go for a nap or you might not have an area for that, but even a quick nap on the weekend can help you benefit. Naps can get a bad rap sometimes and I thought this was a great section of the book to bring to the fore front as they can be beneficial.
This was one of the easiest books on how to design your life because it has over 80 techniques to help you figure out what you like, what you don’t and what works perfectly for you. I would say if you’re looking for a quick fix, realistically I don’t believe that any book like this is going to help you find it instantly; it’s important to note that when you’re trying to change your habits and make time for what you want to do, it’s all about the process. That’s why this book also includes reflect on the changes you make; is your highlight really important to you? Are you energising correctly? Are you letting your phone be the boss of you rather than the other way around? It helps you constantly look at what you are doing and if it is working for you.
This is a book I will continue to go back to a lot, simply because our lives are ever-changing and our highlight will always be changing too. My advice would be (if you can) get this in the hardback version rather than the audio book because it’s really easy to flick to the page you need in just a few seconds. All the techniques are laid out in the contents pages at the beginning so it’s really simple to jump from page-to-page like I talked about earlier.
I really hope you enjoyed today’s post because it’s something I have been working on for a while; I prefer to go through a book and pick out the sections that speak to me because it adds that personal element to it, which is why you won’t see every technique listed out (I love the majority of the techniques but if you want to find out about the entire list, that’s when you buy the book!) These are tactics that I have found work for me or ones that I found interesting, and I decided that they deserve to be shared. You can find the book right here! (Please note: This is not an affiliate link, I simply wanted to be the helpful soul that I am, so you could find the book even faster) If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below or contact me on my Instagram or my Twitter.