Business Book Club Review: Make Time

Written by Michelle Telling.

Make Time: How to focus on what matters every day, by Jake Knapp & John Zeratsky 8127OzsAQVL

I should start this review with a disclaimer. I did not particularly enjoy the book and, since reading it a couple of months ago, I'd kind of forgotten all about it (along with volunteering to write the review). But here we are, and thankfully I have my handy notes exported from my Kindle and a page of handwritten notes from the discussion.

Until the pandemic derailed our lives, I enjoyed venturing down to London to have a breakfast and coffee at Ozone along with the animated discussion from a group of women with a kiwi-twang reverberating around the room. Book-club-via-Zoom is a different beast but still worth crawling out of bed for and much easier to get to from Grafham Water where I live.

This book did appeal to me as rarely feel I have ‘enough’ time, and the things I really want to do so often end up pushed to one side by other things I ‘have’ to do. Some years ago, the group read 168 Hours - you have more time than you think, by Laura Vanderkam but despite this, I don’t seem to.

To summarise the key points from the book:

  • Timewasters come in the form of the ‘busy bandwagon’ (endless tasks) and infinity pools (endless distraction).
  • We need to be more intentional in the way we live life – you only waste time if you’re not intentional about how you spend it.
  • Make a ‘highlight’ for each day – the priority thing you WILL do. This is something I just couldn’t get my head around – at the time the priority thing I had to do was complete P11D benefit in kind returns, hardly a ‘highlight’ by anyone’s definition.
  • 'Might-do' lists can be more useful than ‘to do’ lists – you can then apply the criteria ‘urgency, satisfaction, and joy’ to select the work that is important to do today.
  • Put on your own oxygen mask first – this reminds us that we need to take care of ourselves, before we can look after others.

As always, discussing the book within the group brought out a range of different reactions (unlike me, most preferred this book to 168 hours). Some needed to restrict time spent on the mobile phone/email infinity pool, others have been reviewing whole body health issues such as exercise, caffeine and sugar.

Perhaps most poignantly, one person shared how during this locked down/slowed down season, they have been able to spend more time with family and friends and being grateful for this time. I think that is the most useful lesson from the book, to slow down, make most of the time we have and spend it with those you love.