LifeProductivity | 7 Min Read

#8 - H.L.E.R

As a follow on from last week's edition, this week we cover H.L.E.R, what it stands for and how it can help us achieve more.

Hey Friends πŸ‘‹

I hope you're doing well and have had a great week?

As I noted in the last newsletter ( Busy Bandwagons and Infinity Pools - Sunday Summaries #7 ), I have been reading Make Time: How to focus on what matters every day by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky. So, in this edition of the newsletter, I wanted to cover the key principles of the book.

They are Highlight, Laser, Energise, Review or to keep it snappy H.L.E.R.


So, let's start with Highlight. What are we talking about? Unfortunately, not making some words or phrases stand out on a bit of paper but instead picking a single important moment for your day.

The idea is that every day you pick a single moment, task or objective that you want to do that day and then protect the time for it in our calendars.

So, no matter what we allow time for it to be done within the day, this means no calls interrupting it, no meetings being double-booked with it. Nothing should be disturbing you from completing that highlight because we have protected the time to do it.

What is worthy of being a highlight you may ask?

Well, it can be anything, it doesn't need to be something you have to do, it could be something you want to do. Here are some ideas:

  • Reading a book
  • Working on a side project
  • Spending time with your family

What the highlight is doesn't matter. All that matters is it's important to you and it's something you want/need to do. And, of course, we will do other things throughout the day but by setting the highlight we are giving ourselves an allotted amount of time to spend on the thing that is most important to us.


Once we have picked our highlight, the next thing we need to do is laser our focus on it and get to work completing our highlight.

As I talked about in last week's newsletter there are distractions everywhere that come in many different forms but can be largely grouped into two categories according to the book, Busy Bandwagons and Infinity Pools.

These distractions aren't going anywhere; Facebook, Twitter and the rest of social media won't be turned offline anytime soon and the 24-hour news cycle is here to stay. So, unfortunately, we can't rely on others to help us focus by removing distractions from the world. Instead, we need to change our relationship with technology.

This can come in many forms but for me, it meant turning off notifications on my phone for everything that wasn't essential. So now all I get notifications for are texts and calls which means I don't need to worry about non-important things distracting me from my work.

But, it's not just notifications that are a problem emails and YouTube are also massive distractions for me so I also removed these from my phone so I'm not tempted by them.

Your mileage may vary with these things because ultimately what distracts you is unique to you. So, if you're interested in doing the same to focus on your work, think about where you spend your time and get distracted the most. Then remove it or at a minimum add barriers to make it harder to access. For example, logging out of Social Media apps.


It's okay to have a highlight and create the time to work on it by laser-ing our focus and removing distractions. But, we still need the energy to do it.

Our bodies and minds are quite literally the centres of everything we do so we need to treat them with respect so we have the energy to work on the things we want.

The best ways to charge our batteries and get energy are with:

  • Exercise
  • High quality and enough sleep
  • Healthy food
  • Quiet time
  • Face-to-face time

Now, I won't sell you on some false narrative that I'm some superhuman that eats the perfect diet, sleeps the perfect amount every day and runs 10km every morning because that frankly isn't true.

But, what we can do is try our best every day to achieve those things and give ourselves credit for the small wins we get.

We don't need to be perfect to feel some of the benefits, even a 5-minute workout at home will boost your energy and skipping a takeaway for a healthier meal will help your energy levels.


As with all things, to know if we have improved or if the direction we are heading in is correct, we should review our progress. In the book, they recommend taking a few notes before bed to recap the day by answering questions like:

  • What did you do differently?
  • How did you feel?
  • What was your energy levels like?
  • What was your highlight?
  • What brought you joy throughout the day?

This helps us review our progress and ultimately, build the best schedule and habits for our lives so we can maximise our time working on the things that matter most to us and have the energy to do them.

And, what's important to note is this isn't a make or break thing, every day is its own unique challenge and can be taken independently from every other day. So, if one day you sleep awfully, don't exercise and can't work on your highlight; don't worry about it, just try again tomorrow and see what you can do differently.

I hope you enjoyed this quick summary of the core concepts of Make Time: How to focus on what matters every day, if you found it interesting and want to learn more I highly recommend reading the book. They include loads of different methods they tried themselves for the above concepts to give us ideas.

I hope next week is a great week for you and brings you much happiness, and as always if you want to chat, feel free to reply to this email or DM me over on Twitter.

Thank you,

Coner 😊

πŸƒβ€β™‚οΈ What I've Been Doing

This week, I've been working hard on the PhyType website. I'm hoping to have the redesigned MVP launched by the end of November / the first week of December. It will be pretty barebones to start with but it is a base to build from.

To start with we will have the landing home page and the changelog page. Soon after this, we will add a blog page and some blog posts to hopefully get in the Google rankings over time.

If you're interested in learning more about PhyType, follow me over on Twitter where I often show the work in progress and talk about what we are up to.

In other news, I took part in a great Twitter Space on Wednesday that was talking about Hustle Culture. I don't have a link to share for the recording but watch this space as some exciting stuff is happening. πŸ‘€

Finally, I also signed up for the Amazon Affiliate programme ( none of the links in this newsletter are affiliate links ), but in the long term, I'm hoping to use this as a form of income.

πŸ’¬ Quote Of The Week

"Nobody ever looked at an empty calendar and said, β€œThe best way to spend this time is to cram it full of random meetings!” Nobody ever said, β€œThe most important thing today is everybody else’s whims!” Of course not. That would be crazy. But because of defaults, it’s exactly what we do."
Quote from Make Time: How to focus on what matters every day by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky

Get the book on Amazon here

πŸ“Ί What I've Enjoyed

This week, I've enjoyed a few things; chief of the list is Make Time: How to focus on what matters every day by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky as you could probably guess. πŸ˜…

But, I'm also working through a few other books which are quite interesting:

Shamefully, I've also got hooked on a Netflix series which is Formula 1: Drive To Survive, it's quite niche content but if you're interested in Formula 1 then I recommend it.

🎬 This Week's Content

This week has no content specifically but here are the updates I shared on Twitter of me working on the new PhyType Website.

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