Book Summary



How did you spend your time last week? When you think back, does your week seem like a blur, like a dream you can barely remember? If so, it’s probably because you spent the entire week on the busy bandwagon.

The busy bandwagon is a cultural belief that if you’re not busy; that is, you’re not running around like a headless chicken, then, you’re doing something wrong. At work, when you ask someone how they’re doing, they’ll probably tell you, “I am busy.” People now wear their busyness like a badge of honor.

So to avoid feeling left out, you and i hop on the busy bandwagon and spend our whole day responding to emails, running from meeting to meeting and constantly adding tasks to our to-do lists. When we step off the busy bandwagon to relax, infinity pools of busyness are waiting to pull us into their vortex.

John and Jake define infinity pools as apps and other sources of endlessly replenishing content. If you can pull to refresh, it’s an infinity pool. If it streams, it’s an infinity pool. To prevent the busy bandwagon and infinity pools from turning our daily lives into a blur of meaningless activity, we must learn to live more intentionally.

To do so, we need to focus on daily highlights. To illustrate the power of a daily highlight imagine taking a trip to Disneyland with your family. After a long drive, you pay too much to get in, you wait in long lines in the heat, you deal with screaming kids and you eat greasy food that makes you feel like crap but then there’s that one moment, that one peak moment of joy the ride on splash mountain with your daughter in which you both get soaked that makes your time at Disneyland worthwhile.

We tend to remember peak moments, not entire experiences. So over the course of a busy day we can answer 100 emails, we can complete 20 errands but if we don’t have a big win, a peak moment, a highlight, then our day will seem just like every other day. Our weeks and months will become a blur.

To make our days more meaningful, we need to define a daily highlight before our day begins. To define your daily highlight, imagine a friend calls you at the end of the day and asks what was the highlight of your day, if you can answer that question before the day begins, you give yourself the best opportunity to experience a peak moment and stop your weeks and months from becoming a blur of busyness and mindless distraction.

By establishing your daily highlight, you’ll be able to look back on your week and think, “ah! Monday was great because i did this one big thing. Tuesday was great because i made time to hang out with my child, which led to that one memorable moment.

To help you find your daily highlight, authors Jake and John have provided three highlight categories: urgency, significance and joy. To find a highlight in the urgency category, ask yourself, “What’s the most pressing thing i need to do today?” Like that proposal you promised a client or that test you need to study for. Of all the urgent things in your life, what could you make progress on that would make your day feel like a win?

When searching the satisfaction category for a potential daily highlight, ask yourself, “at the end of the day, what would give me the most satisfaction? Maybe that’s drafting 2,000 words for that book you want to write or completing the first module of that computer programming course you wanted to start. These are things you want to do but don’t necessarily need to do in the.

For the joy category, you can find your daily highlight by asking yourself, “When i reflect on my day, what experience will give me the most joy?” Here, you stop searching for things you can accomplish and start identifying the people you love to spend time with. Innate activities that bring you joy i.e. activities you do for the sake of doing them. Joy based highlights might include going to the playground with your child or having a guitar jam session with your friend or taking a cooking class with your spouse.

As you consider all three categories: urgency, satisfaction and joy, write down all the potential highlights on the blank piece of paper in no particular order. This piece of paper is your ‘might do list’. Each item on your might do list should be bigger than a task but smaller than a major project and each item should take between 60 to 90 minutes to complete.

Once you have a few good options on your daily might do list, rewrite the items that you think will make your day memorable on a new list then circle the one highlight you want to focus on today. Now put that highlight on a post-it note and put that post-it note in a place you’ll see throughout the day.

Now the final step is to open up your calendar and block out a 60 to 90 minute chunk of time that you’ll dedicate to your highlight. That’s it. By identifying and focusing on one highlight each day, you’ll start living more intentionally and you’ll increase the probability that each day will count.

However, you still need to prevent the busy bandwagon and infinity pools from pulling you away from your highlight. To help with this, the authors have several tactics. Here are three tactics i found particularly helpful.

Tactic number one: send only email. The biggest source of busyness is email particularly email on your phone. Because email is so easy to access on our phone, we feel the urge to check it throughout the day and when we’re focusing on our highlight like cooking with our family, practicing guitar or writing a blog post, our attention is fractured and what’s worse if a highlight becomes hard then we’ll quickly escape to our inbox.

The easiest solution is to simply delete the email app on our phone. But if you’re like me and you think. “That’s too hasty,” because you need to communicate with your team or send updates to somebody, then there is a better way. Remove the primary email account from your phone but set up a secondary send only email account on your phone. When you need to send an email message, open up that secondary email on your phone and send away then when someone replies to you set up auto forwarding to your primary account, that’s not on your phone.

This way you won’t be tempted to check email on your phone because there is no email coming in and you’ll be forced to check your email on your desktop where it’s actually faster to respond to all your email because you’ve access to your files and you can type out responses.

Tactic number two near impossible logins.

Infinity pools are powerful because they’re so friction-less. To access YouTube or Instagram on the phone, you just need to hold the phone to your face and hit the app icon. To add more friction to infinity pools and reduce their pull, execute the following three steps.

Step 1: remove all apps on your phone that you have the urge to check like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, news apps and any other apps you feel that you overuse. Now that they’re off your phone, you’ll need to log into these services on our desktop.

Step number two: you reset all your passwords so they’re all different and they’re all crazy then save all your crazy passwords in a password manager.

Step 3: uncheck the option to save passwords on every service.

Now when you try to log into Facebook or Instagram or YouTube, you need to make an effort and you get a chance to stop yourself mid login and think, “Is this how i really want to spend my time?” If so, go ahead. If not, get back to your highlight.

Tactic number 3: install a kill switch.

For a lot of people, the best time to experience a highlight is in the evening. However the evening is usually the time we waste hours in an infinity pool like Netflix. To protect our time we need to kill the primary source of busyness and distraction: the internet. The best way to kill the internet is to not think about doing it and have a vacation timer do it automatically.

A vacation timer is a device you plug into your outlet which you then plug your internet modem into. Then you can set the vacation timer to kill power to the modem at a specific time every day. I set my vacation timer to kill the internet between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. now between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m., i can’t watch TV because my it’s internet-based and i can’t waste hours browsing websites on my laptop.

The result is more quality time with my wife, more time reading and more time on my passion projects and better sleep. In the end make your days count by focusing on one highlight every day: something urgent you’ll be proud to have completed, something satisfying you want to do but don’t need to do or something that brings you joy. Then use tactics like send only email near impossible logins and the internet kill switch to ensure that you have the time and the attention to dedicate to your highlight.


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