Make Time — Book Review

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This is one of the frequently recommended books on productivity. Having read Deep Work, Four Hour Work Week, and Atomic Habits, I was not expecting to find much new information here. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover new tricks I could apply immediately. On top of that, it was nice to revisit previously read techniques.

Make Time is a very presentable book that mixes efficient structure with a conversational writing style. The result is a modern take on the difficult subject of productivity, especially applicable to knowledge workers like myself.

The book revolves around the Highlight, Laser, Energise, and Reflect cycle. It’s a good abstraction to plan one’s deep work daily.

What I liked

  • Nicely presented with visual aids.
  • Relatable stories.
  • Easy to follow and apply.
  • Never gets boring.
  • Good to learn from authors’ experiments.
  • Urk the hunter-gatherer analogy was spot-on in explaining why we go about things the way we do.
  • Insider thoughts about why today’s apps and social networks are so irresistible.

What I didn’t like

  • A bulk of the advice is not new or common sense.

Key learnings

The authors list 87 tactics to deal with the aforementioned four pillars of the make-time cycle. My favorite ones include the following:

  • Tactic 7: Run a personal sprint.
  • Tactic 16: Quit when you are done.
  • Tactic 17: Try a distraction-free iPhone
  • Tactic 23: Skip the morning check-in
  • Tactic 25: Ignore the news
  • Tactic 30: Watch out for time craters
  • Tactic 49: Invent a deadline
  • Tactic 54: Start on paper
  • Tactic 55: Make a “random question” list
  • Tactic 56: Notice one breath
  • Tactic 61: Exercise every day (but don’t be a hero)
  • Tactic 65: Eat like a hunter-gatherer


Make Time is an easy-to-recommend book, even to folks who aren’t too much into reading. If you have never read a productivity book before, grab a copy and start reading. It might be the best book you’ll read on the topic.

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