87 Tactics To Stop Being Time Poor
Podcast Episode Transcript
Everyone is endlessly busy.
Make Time by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky is not about productivity.
It’s not about getting more done, finishing your to-dos faster or outsourcing your life.
It’s about using a simple framework and filling it with tactics that work for you.
Jake and John suggest that two very powerful forces compete for every minute of your time.
Number one: the busy bandwagon, which is a culture of constant busyness. After all, everyone else is busy, and if you slow down, you’ll fall behind and never catch up.
The second force competing for your time is infinity pools. Infinity pools is any source of endlessly, replenishing content.
We’re talking Netflix, email, video games, TV, social media etc.
So, here you are in the middle, being pulled in opposite directions by the busy bandwagon and the infinity pools.
And guess what? Will power is not the way out.
Jake and John spent years working in the tech industry and they understand these things will eventually wear you down because that’s exactly what they’re designed to do: grab and keep your attention.
So being more productive is the answer, right? Nope.
Here’s the reality: the faster you run on the hamster wheel, the faster it spins.
The more you do, the faster things get replaced.
But there is a way to free your attention from distractions and take back control of your time.
Make Time is a super simple framework that I guarantee will work for you because of it’s unique and inherently flexible approach.
Welcome back to Behind The Osteopath. My name is Alan Zaia, I’m an osteopath, Founder of Osteohustle where we plan, build and grow dream careers for osteopaths.
We’ve just hit 400 plays so I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who’s emailed me about last week’s podcast about Multipliers.
What I love most is that you are a part of a community of osteopaths who want to have level-headed, hard-to-have conversations about how we can move forward as a profession.
If you see value in what I’m trying to share, if you can, please leave a 5 star review. If you want to connect with me, my email is in the description or if you’re on your phone, click on the episode, scroll down and you’ll find a Q&A section.
So, as you know, Behind The Osteopath is based on my belief that you should never open a clinic without fully understanding what it takes and a part of that means I’m covering 10 books I believe every osteopath should read.
Make Time is book 6 in the series. I first read this in 2022. I have dipped back into this book on several occasions before reading it again in full for this podcast.
Let’s dive in to the lessons of Make Time
So, I believe the best way to start explaining this book is by going through how Make Time works.
It’s split into four steps.
And then it’s up to you to repeat these four steps every time you need to make time.
The first step is choosing a single highlight to prioritise in your day.
Next, you’ll use specific tactics to stay laser focused on your highlight.
Throughout the day, you’ll build energy, so you can stay in control of your time and attention.
Finally, you’ll reflect on the day with a few simple notes.
Again, it’s a super simple framework that I guarantee will work for you.
Now that you know the make time four-step structure, let’s expand on each.
Step 1: Highlight – Start each day by choosing a focal point
Every day, you’ll choose a single activity to prioritise and protect. Protect being the most important word because otherwise you’ll either jump on the busy bandwagon or get distracted and lost inside of infinity pools.
At this point, the book highlights two critical factors.
The first is that your daily highlight can contain multiple steps, but if you set your highlight as finish A, which means doing B, C and D then you’re committing to completing all of those steps.
The second is that your highlight isn’t going to be the only thing you’ll do each day, but it will be your priority. Having a highlight makes sure that you don’t accidentally lose the entire day reacting to what’s in front of you.
How do you set your highlight?
You’re going to ask yourself: “What do I want to be the highlight of my day?” But that’s hard, right? Jake & John suggest 3 criteria to help.
- Urgency – What’s the most pressing thing I must do today? The key here is to look for projects that are time-sensitive, important and medium-size. In other words, they don’t take 10 minutes, but they don’t take 10 hours either.
- Satisfaction – When I finish my day, which highlight will bring me the most satisfaction? So, where urgency gets you to think about what needs to get done, satisfaction encourages you to focus on what you want to get done. So, instead of thinking about deadlines and priorities, think about the sense of accomplishment, you’ll feel if you achieve that highlight.
- Joy – When I reflect on what happened today, what will bring me the most joy? So, not every hour has to be optimised for maximum efficiency. Believe it or not, you are allowed to have fun as an osteopath!
Leading on from knowing the 3 criteria that will help you to create your highlight, the natural follow up question to ask is: What should I choose as my highlight on a particular day?
For me, when I started practising the idea of setting a highlight, I found it really difficult to try and prioritise what it is that I should be focusing on, but I promise you that the more you make the active choice of creating a highlight, the more you realise that you’re making the choice to focus on your priorities instead of simply reacting to whatever the day throws at you, then all of a sudden the day is over and you feel like you’ve not achieved anything meaningful.
In short, trust your gut and choose something that takes between 60 to 90 minutes.
So, step 1 is to Highlight. Step two is to beat distraction to make time for your highlight.
Step 2: Laser – Beat distraction to make time for your highlight
Creating a highlight and making that your priority isn’t enough by itself.
Jake and John speak the importance of us needing to rethink how we react to distractions that will ultimately get in a way of us achieving our highlight.
You may have already spotted that the majority of these distractions are based on technology. So, what’s important is for us to understand that we can’t just throw away our phone and not use a computer.
But what we can do is rethink our relationship with technology to stop the never-ending and unhelpful distractions so that we can find what Jake and John describe as laser mode. Which I’ll talk about later.
Step 3: Energise – Use the body to recharge the brain
For step 3 Jake and John talk a lot about how we need to be able to take care of ourselves.
You know, with basic things like exercise, food, sleep etc which as osteopaths are things that we know all too well and we talk to our own patients about on a daily basis. However, I think we can all agree that even though we have all of this knowledge and insight that we often fail to utilise it as much as we suggested.
Jake and John don’t expect you to make radical changes overnight, if at all, and instead they offer simple shifts you can make to create energy for the things that you want to do.
Step 4: Reflect – Adjust & improve your system
Now, again as osteopaths, we’re fully aware of the benefits of taking time to reflect on particular situations. However, how often do we actually do that for ourselves as people?
Here, Jake and John say that reflection involves taking a few notes before heading to bed.
So, step four with reflection, it’s where you’ll decide which tactics you want to continue, and which ones you want to either refine or stop doing because they don’t work for you.
Jake and John suggest that as you discover which tactics work best for you, that you’ll build a customised daily system tailored to the unique way in which your brain works, your lifestyle and ambitions.
For me this is where this book really stands out. There is no ‘copy/paste, plug in and play time management strategy’.
It’s a case of: Here’s a simple framework and here’s a whole bunch of tactics that we’ve found to work for some people, but not for others, and therefore it’s up to you to pick which tactics to pick, retest and repeat.
So, before I dive into some of the tactics that I have found particularly helpful for myself, and for the osteopaths that we work with at Osteohustle, I need to cover 3 things Jake & John say you need to do in order to make this Highlight, Laser, Energise and Reflect framework, work.
- Record your tactics. Here you’re going to draw 3 columns and you’re going to assign a heading to each column – Highlight, Laser and Energise. Then, you’re going to find one tactic for each column, so one tactic for highlights, one tactic for laser, one tactic for energise. They’re all very bite-size tactics and some are only a paragraph long. The key here isn’t to read them all then find your favourite. You find one you’d like to try for each then experiment it.
- No perfection required. Summarised in a great quote which says “perfection is a distraction – another shiny object taking your attention away from your real priorities“. Basically, it’s easy to think that there’s someone who is always on time, doing everything they need to and all while getting the perfect amount of sleep with the perfect diet. It’s obvious when you say it out loud, but it’s simply unattainable. So, don’t aim for perfection, aim to experiment because that’s the point of this: you have a framework and you fill it a combination of tactics that work for you, which you can only figure out by experimenting.
- The “Everyday” mindset. This is the idea that the best tactics are the ones that fit into your every day. You won’t use all the tactics. You’ll use some tactics sometimes on this day, and other tactics on that day.
Alright, now we’re at a point in the book where all there is to do is to look at the tactics for each section.
So, there are 87 tactics in total, here are some of my favourites and some we’ve found that work extremely well for our clients at Osteohustle. I hope you find them helpful and maybe inspire you to grab a copy of the book.
By the way, go check out and support your local library.
Some of these tactics I’ll explain more, others not so much because the whole point is for you to build your own imperfect collection of tactics that work for you.
So these tactics are based around you being able to successfully create and make time for your highlights.
Tactic 1: Write it down
I know that, with the way to my brain works, and for the majority of people, keeping things in my head isn’t very helpful. Therefore, I find extremely helpful to simply write down my highlight – which I find makes it real. 90% of the time it’s on my computer. 10% of the time I write it in a pocket book on mornings where I don’t feel like opening my laptop.
Tactic 4: Batch the small stuff
In other words, make a bunch of small things your big thing. I found this very helpful for the majority of Osteohustle clients who need to build momentum with getting stuff done in a set period of time. This is a really great clutter clearer.
Tactic 8: Schedule your highlight
Here, you’re not just writing your highlight down, but also deciding what time of the day you’re going to work on completing the highlight.
Tactic 12: Just say no
Simple and effective – extremely underutilised by osteopaths because we think we can take on everything. Also, if it involves somebody else it’s important to be nice but honest and just because you’re saying no to this now, doesn’t mean that you can’t say yes in the future.
Tactic 16: Quit when you’re done
So, avoid accidentally falling into the busy bandwagon mentality and just doing one more thing by having a hard stop. Do not work until you’re exhausted because, in the long run, working until exhaustion makes us more likely to fail and fall behind because we’re not prioritising the rest we need.
These tactics are based on the fact that you have now chosen your highlight for the day that you’ve made time for it in your busy schedule, and now is the time where you need to focus.
Jake and John say that you must beat distraction to laser in.
Now, obviously, this is a ongoing, very difficult thing to do, so Jake and John say that your best chance to beat distraction is to create barriers to distraction, and therefore make getting distracted harder for you to slip into.
Tactic 17: Try a distraction-free phone
What you’re doing with this tactic may seem quite radical but what you’re going to do is delete any infinity pool apps from your phone. So that means deleting any social media apps, your email app, games and news apps.
I find myself going through periods of deleting social media apps whenever I feel like I am in a period where I noticed myself becoming distracted by them, and therefore feeling extremely frustrated by the fact that I don’t have enough willpower to not aimlessly scroll on my phone.
As for my email app, I haven’t had it on my phone for nearly a year now because I never reply to emails using my phone and I only ever find myself opening it up finding something that I believe I need to reply to you even though somebody else has made it my priority to do so. Therefore, by not having it on my phone, I get to choose when I reply to emails and that is when I open up my computer and actively login to my email account.
Tactic 19: Turn off all notifications
Whether or not you try and have a distraction-free phone, you should at the very least turn off almost all non-essential notifications.
Tactic 25: Ignore the news
Here’s a quote “truly breaking news will find you, and the rest is not urgent, or just doesn’t matter.“
I believe in getting away from any platform that impacts you more negatively than positively.
So the next time you find yourself reading or watching something that makes you feel frustrated, riled up, anxious, unhappy or find unhelpful, unsubscribe, unfollow, leave, get rid of it.
Instead, surround yourself with people who vastly improve the volume and quality of positivity and helpfulness in your life.
Trust me when I say that, as soon as you leave, block and ignore the negativity, the politics, the bullshit, the bitching, you’ll realise that you never needed it in the first place.
Tactic 48: Shut the door
Here’s a quote from Stephen King: “the closed door is your way of telling the world, and yourself that you mean business”. Take this as finding your own uninterruptible space.
For me, this is where the book gets really interesting because Jake and John say that “Choosing a highlight and getting into laser mode are the core of Make Time, but the secret sauce is energise. Our thesis is simple: if you have energy, it’s easier to maintain your focus on priorities and avoid reacting to distractions and demands. With a full battery, you have the power to be present, think clearly and spend your time on what matters, not default to what’s right in front of you. If you want energy for your brain, you need to take care of your body.”
As I previously mentioned as osteopaths, we are very in tune with this kind of way of thinking, however, I believe that the vast majority of us are guilty, not following our own advice for what we know is good for us.
I’ll keep this nice and simple, this chapter is broken down into six parts which are:
- Keep it moving. Explaining that exercise is good matter how much you get of it.
- Eat real food. Basically stopping in processed food as much as possible.
- Optimise caffeine. Basically they walk through tactics, like wake up before you caffeinate, caffeinate before you crash, take a caffeine nap, understand when your cut-off point is for consuming caffeine, etc.
- Go off grid. This highlights the importance of getting away every now and again, but more importantly, to find ways to be able to find moments of quiet in your every day life.
- Make it personal. Essentially, put in the effort to spend time with whoever it is that you care about, and those who recharge your battery.
- Sleep in a cave. So, here you’re getting rid of all electronics in your bedroom, with the exception of an alarm clock. They also talk about sneaking in a nap, quoting several studies that show the effects of strategic naps. Finally, especially for the parents out there, you’ve got to find as many ways as possible to take short breaks to, quite frankly, maintain your own sanity.
And now, it’s time to wrap things up with reflection tactics.
Lastly, the book covers a great way to reflect on each day and each tactic using a one page summary sheet, which I’ll include a PDF link to in the episode description, which is free to download from their website.
So, there it is. Now you have a way to make time management work for you.
If you need help with your time management skills so you can get more purposeful work done, come and speak with us!
My email is in the description. Just have the subject as MAKE TIME, you don’t have to say anything else, I’ll reach out to you knowing that you’ve come from this episode.
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Thank you again for listening. See you next week. Cheers.
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