If you want attention, you have to be willing to give it. In fact, she is in our stressful one Working world a high good.

Attention Concentration Focus: How to slow down your life

We are the time fanatics

We're not rocket-building billionaires like Elon Musk, handsome renaissance men like Tim Ferriss or genius executives like Sheryl Sandberg. Most time management advice is written by superhuman supermen and superwomen. But you won't find anything superhuman on these pages. We are completely normal, fallible ones Peoplewho like everyone else in Stress and are victims of various distractions. What our Perspektive What makes us so exceptional is that we are product designers who have spent many years in the technology industry and helped design services like Gmail, YouTube and Google Hangouts. As a designer, our job was to represent abstract concepts (for example, "Wouldn't it be cool if the emails were auto sortieren would?”) into real Solutions (e.g. Gmail's Priority Inbox). For that we had to understand how each other Technology in our Everyday life integrated and changed. This experience offers us insights into the alluring power of infinity pools and what we can do so they don't dominate us. A few years ago we became clear, that we can also apply design to something invisible: the way we spend our time. We started teams at Google and others Company to help organize their days differently so they can focus on their most important ones priorities could concentrate. And we also used the design process in the development of this book. But instead of taking technology or business opportunities as a starting point, we started with the most important projects and the most important people in our lives. We tried to carve out a little time each day for our own top priorities. We challenged the standard behaviors that characterize the Busy Bandwagon and realigned our to-do lists and schedules.

We challenged standard behaviors around infinity pools and redefined how we use technology. Our willpower has limits, so every redesign must light be manageable. We couldn't get any of it mandatory liberate, so we worked with limitations. We've experimented, we've had successes and we've had setbacks, and over time we've learned. In this book, we share with you the principles and tactics we have discovered, and present numerous stories about our human errors and clumsy solutions. We thought the following episode was a good place to start:

We react more than act

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It was in 2012; my two sons played with a wooden train set in our living room. Luke (8 years old) busily put the track sections together while Flynn (toddler) drooled on a locomotive. Suddenly Luke raised his Head and asked: dad why are you looking at your phone. His question wasn't aimed at me guilt close; he was just curious. But I didn't have a good answer. I mean, I'm sure I had some excuse for checking my email at that moment, but not a good one. I wanted to be present and have that precious quality time with me Family enjoy, and yet I sat there and stared at my iPhone. I'd been looking forward to spending time with my kids all day, and now that that moment had finally arrived, my mind was actually elsewhere. At that moment I realized something. It wasn't that I got momentarily distracted; i had a bigger one Problem.

I realized that I was reacting to my daily schedule, my email inbox, and the endless stream of new information in the world Internet. I simply forgave countless moments like this – but for what actually? So I could reply to another message or check off another item on my to-do list? This realization was frustrating because I was already trying to find a better one Balance to find. When Luke was born in 2003, I made a resolution to work more productively so I could have more quality time at home. In 2012, I considered myself a champion of productivity and efficiency. I managed to keep my working hours to a reasonable level and was home for dinner every day. So saw Work-Life-Balance off - at least I thought so. If so, then why did my eight-year-old son make me think of it I aufmerksamthat I was distracted? If I was always on top of things at work, why did I always feel so stressed and torn? When I get 200 emails from my in the morning Team started and finished it all at the end of the day, was that really a successful day? And suddenly it dawned on me: being more productive didn't mean doing the most important work; it just meant reacting more quickly to other people's priorities. As a result of the constant online presence, I wasn't present enough for my children. And I kept postponing my big "sometime" -Objectiveto write a book. In fact, I put it off for years without writing a single page. I was way too busy in the sea of ​​emails Status-Updates and selfies of other people sitting treading water at lunch.

Does a distraction-free cell phone help?

Not only was I disappointed in myself, I was downright pissed off. In a fit of anger, I grabbed my cellphone and uninstalled Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. As each of these icons gradually disappeared from my screen, I felt a great burden lift from me. Then I stared at the Gmail app and bared my teeth. Don't forget that I was working at Google at the time and had worked with the Gmail team for years. Still, I knew what I had to do. I still remember the message that flashed up on my screen, asking me, almost in disbelief, if I could for sure would be that I really wanted to delete the app. I swallowed hard and tapped delete.

I expected to get nervous, tense, and isolated without my apps feel. In the days after, I actually noticed one change. Surprisingly, I didn't feel stressed, but rather relieved. I felt liberated. I stopped reflexively reaching for my iPhone at the slightest sign of boredom. Time with my kids slowed down positive Way. "Ouch," I thought. "If the iPhone doesn't make me happier, then what about all the other things?" I loved my iPhone and all the futuristic power it gave me. But I'd accepted all the standard behaviors that come with a smartphone, which constantly drew me to that shiny little device in my pocket. I wondered how many other areas of my life needed to be reviewed, realigned, and redesigned. Which other standard behavioral patterns did I adopt blindly and how could I change them on my own responsibility? Shortly after my iPhone experiment, I started a new job. I continued to work under the umbrella of the Google group, but now at Google Ventures, a venture capitalist investing in external Startups invested. And that's where I met a guy named John Zeratsky on my first day.

The Obi-Wan-Kenobi of time management

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At first I had made up my mind not to like him. John is younger and - let's be Honestly – more attractive than me. And what was even more obnoxious about him was the fact that he just had an unshakeable calm. John was never stressed. He always completed important work before the deadline and also found time for other projects. He got up early in the morning, got his work done early, and went home early in the evening. And he always smiled. How the hell did he do that? Well, I ended up getting on really well with John, or JZ as I call him. I soon discovered that he was a soul mate - my brother in spirit, if you will. Like me, JZ was disillusioned with the Busy Bandwagon. We're both tech-savvy and have spent years building addictive tech services (when I was at Gmail, he was at YouTube). But it also dawned on us both that these infinity pools functioned at a significant cost of our attention and time.

And I was determined to do something about it. He was sort of Obi-Wan Kenobi on that subject, except instead of a frock he wore jeans and a plaid shirt. And instead of the POWER, he believed in what he called “that System« referred to. There was something almost mystical about it. He didn't know exactly what it was, but he believed it existed: a simple system for avoiding distractions and wasting energy and buying time. I know, it sounds kind of strange to my ears too. But the more we talked about what such a system might look like, the more often I found myself nodding. JZ dealt intensively with the earliest epochs of human history and evolutionary Psychology and recognized that part of the problem lies in the great chasm between our archaic hunter-gatherer roots and our crazy modern ones World rooted. He viewed the problem through the product designer's lens and concluded that this "system" would only work if it broke our standard behavioral patterns and made distractions more difficult to access, rather than relying on us to fight them with sheer willpower . "Damn," I thought. If we could develop such a system, it would be exactly what I was looking for. So I teamed up with JZ and that was the beginning of our collaboration.

How do you really save time?

My distraction-free iPhone seemed a bit extreme to many, and I'll admit I struggled at first. But when I finally got the hang of it, I thought it was great. And so, together, we began looking for other ways to redesign—ways to shift our default behavioral pattern from being “distracted and distracted” to being “focused.” I started out reading the news only once a week and changed my sleeping habits to become a morning person. I experimented with six small meals and then tried two main meals. I tried a variety of physical activities, from long-distance running to yoga to daily push-ups. I even persuaded my programming friends to develop custom to-do list apps for me. Meanwhile, Jake logged his daily energy levels in Excel spreadsheets for a year, trying to figure out if he should be drinking coffee or green tea, or exercising morning or night, and even if he liked being around other people (the answer : Yes, mostly). From this possessed Behavior we learned a great deal, but we were interested in more than simply determining what worked for us; we still believed in them Idea a system that everyone could adapt individually to their own life. And to find that, we needed neutral test subjects. As luck would have it, we had the perfect lab.

While Jake was working at Google, he developed a so-called "Design Sprint". This is essentially a work week that is being completely realigned. A team sits down for five days, cancels all other appointments and focuses exclusively on solving a single problem following a specific checklist of activities. That was our first tangible attempt to redesign not a product, but time. And it worked. The design sprint was quickly adopted across the Google group. In 2012 we started to run design sprints together at start-ups from the Google Ventures portfolio. In the following years there were more than 150 such sprints, in which almost a thousand people took part: programmers, nutritionists, CEOs, baristas, farmers, etc. For two time fanatics like us, the whole thing was an impressive opportunity. We had the opportunity to redesign a work week and learn from hundreds of high-performing teams at startups like Slack, Uber, and 23andMe. Many of the principles presented in this book were inspired by the discoveries we made during these sprints.

What daily change teaches us

Our first lesson was that something magical happens when you start your day with one primary goal. On every sprint day we concentrated on a single important focus point: on Monday the team prepared a problem analysis, on Tuesday each participant sketched a single solution, on Wednesday the team decided on the best possible solution, on Thursday it developed a prototype and on Friday he was tested. An ambitious goal was achieved each day, and only one at a time. This focus point provides clarity and Motivation. If you aim for an ambitious but achievable goal, then at the end of the day you have achieved something. You can tick it off, sit back and satisfied go home. Another lesson learned from our design sprints was that we were more productive when we banished all communication devices from the room. Since we have our own Regulate certain, we could ban laptops and smartphones, and the difference was nothing short of phenomenal. Without the constant distraction of e-mails and other infinity pools, everyone present concentrated on the task at hand.

The default behavior has been changed to focus. Also, we learned how important Energy for clear thinking and focused work. In our first design sprints, teams worked late into the evening and energy slumps were fought with sugared energy bars. As the week progressed, however, general energy levels inevitably plummeted. As a result, we made tweaks accordingly and found that things like a healthy lunch, a short walk in the fresh air, frequent short breaks, and a slightly shorter workday helped maintain high energy levels throughout the week, leading to more effective work and led to better results. And finally, these experiments taught us the power of our own practical experience. With the help of experiments we were able to improve the process, using experience, the results of the changes firsthand Hand to experience a deep trust that we would never have developed if we had limited ourselves to reading about other people's experiments and successes. Our sprints involve a whole team working in a focused manner for a week, but we knew right away that there was no reason why an individual couldn't redesign their own day based on these principles as well. These lessons formed the basis of this book. Of course, there was no panacea for perfection. Occasionally we were still dragged along by the busy bandwagon and got sucked into the infinity pools. Some of our tactics became successful habits, while others stuck and failed. By examining our daily results more closely, we realized why we were stuck somewhere. The experimental method also allowed us to be more forgiving of our own mistakes. After all, each error was just a data point, and we could always try again the following day.

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