Fighting the two very powerful external forces that steal time and concentration
We want to be more productive, but productivity is not always the key to a happy and efficient life; often, all it means is having to do the things that the people want us to do, but faster. The goal of the authors is instead to provide a system, called Make Time, that will help you to get more time out of your days, and dedicate it to what really matters most to you: here lies the secret of living your life to the fullest.
The idea behind this book is to start feeling less busy, less distracted by busy schedules, and to become more present for what you are doing every day.
Why is it so difficult? Because, in this day and age, there are two forces that influence our time and our ability to concentrate. One is the Busy Bandwagon: the idea according to which, if we want to adapt well and be appreciated in today’s society, we must show that we are super productive and efficient, never miss a beat, and know how to fill our diaries with one thing after another. The second is the Infinity Pool, or anything that can continue to be used for an infinite amount of time, such as apps, social networks, emails, streaming TV series, and so on; this type of content, which is constantly updated, always available, and to which we are constantly exposed, draws us into an out-of-control vortex of distraction, which at the end of yet another busy and demanding day, we tend to view as somewhat of a reward.
Both forces are very strong, because they have become our "default setting" – the familiar autopilot that guides our daily lives. By definition, default settings are those that are pre-defined by others, and are the easiest and most comfortable to follow; you can modify them, but it requires energy and willpower, so many people end up just accepting them and getting used to them as the norm. Indeed, willpower on its own, in this case, is not enough: Busy Bandwagon and Infinity Pool are simply too powerful, having been purposely created to exhaust and distract us in a continuous and endless loop - the two authors, who have worked for Gmail and YouTube, know all too well how certain tools are specifically created in such a way as to ensure that they are used for as much time as possible.
Precise measures need to be taken to change your default settings once and for all, so as to regain possession of your time, use it intentionally, and always be the one deciding what you want to focus on. According to the authors, Make Time shows you exactly what you need to do in order to achieve this: it consists of a series of tactics, based on numerous studies and experiments in the field, that you need to select, test, and repeat, so as to create your own system, one which is best suited to your personal daily needs. Before diving into the tactics and starting to test them out, be sure not to forget that the pursuit of perfection is also a form of distraction, because it makes us focus on something that is impossible to achieve. There is no point in aiming to be perfectly productive, focused, and rested every day, because it is simply impossible, especially considering how unpredictable life tends to be. It is much better to commit yourself to always doing your best, and strive to experiment with different tactics, in order to find the lifestyle that best suits you, constantly spurred by the desire to move away from those default settings that want you to be busy and distracted, constantly robbing you of your time.