Not Today Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: Not Today talks about what it really means to be productive and presents nine effective strategies to achieve higher returns on your work input from the perspective of two entrepreneurs who are used to working hard. 

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Not Today Summary

Productivity is something that most of us strive to achieve, yet end up doing the opposite – procrastinating. To be productive is to efficientize your time in a way that creates the most output per added input. Although working efficiently sounds simple in theory, practice beata us all. 

Not Today delves into the nine most effective strategies that you can use to become more productive and presents the story of Mike and Erica Schultz, two entrepreneurs who also faced huge personal challenges that came with raising an ill child on top of their professional responsibilities. 

Here are my three favorite lessons from the book: 

  1. Use the TIME formula to split your hours more efficiently.
  2. Use self-drive and the power of prioritizing to be more productive. 
  3. Manage time by doing more of what makes you happy and what serves you in the long run.

We’ll go in detail with each lesson as our next point in the summary, so make sure to pay extra attention to it in order to get all the useful insights!

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Lesson 1: Use Mike and Erica’s TIME formula to efficientize your work

With so many professional personal challenges going on in their life, from running a business to taking care of an ill child, Mike and Erica had to find a way to efficientize their days so that they can make the most out of their time. Quitting being entrepreneurs wasn’t an option due to financial reasons, so they had to work smarter instead.

Therefore, they came up with a strategy for enhanced productivity: TIME. Here is what it means:

  1. T – treasured time. 
  2. I – investing time.
  3. M – mandatory time.
  4. E – empty time.

Treasure time is spent doing things that please and make you happy. Since it differs from one person to the other, you know best how this time should be spent. It could be painting, dancing, spending quality time with your family, or anything at all. Investing time implies looking to develop yourself, seizing new opportunities, learning new skills, or anything that improves you and exceeds your regular attributes. 

However, mandatory time is just that – your regular work, the professional responsibilities that you must fulfill, and the day-to-day duties. Here you can outsmart time and combine it with the previous category. For example, if you’re commuting or cooking, you can listen to a podcast in the meantime, so as to achieve the best of both worlds

In contrast, empty time allows you to spend unstructured time doing nothing, relaxing, enjoying daydreaming, and so on. However, people usually manage to find it in their schedule to practice a lot of such activities, so implementing the TIME strategy in your life may call for cutting back some hours from this category.

Lesson 2: To stick to TIME, try prioritizing and motivating yourself

The theory sounds simple – you now have to split your time into four categories and this is how you’ll get everything done. In practice, we tend to spend all of our days into the mandatory and empty categories, instead of doing more of the first two. 

If you want to kickstart your productivity journey, you’ll have to motivate yourself more. Start by writing down your goals and break them into smaller chunks called objectives. Then, find motivation in each objectives by tying your goals to a why and a how and getting specific in terms of what steps you’ll take to accomplish them.

After you have everything written down, it’s time to set up a strategy and use the power of prioritizing. Start with investing time and prioritize your daily GIA (Greatest Impact activity), which is a productive practice that will serve you the most in the long run. 

For example, you can learn about allocating funds for your retirement fund, or master a new skill. The other important aspect of this strategy is to reengineer your habits. Identify unproductive habits and turn them around. For example, if you have the habit of staying inbed til noon, force yourself to get up and tale a walk instead.

Lesson 3: Obsess with time by learning how to manage it like a pro

Just like Mike and Erica, we all have personal challenges to stress over. Sometimes they take much of our time away and mess up our schedule. Other times, we fall prey to distractions such as emails, pop-up notifications, phone calls, people entering our space, etc. 

The key message here is to stop being distracted and manage your time properly. In theory, you have to spend as much time as you can in the treasured and investing categories, while mandatory time should be kept under healthy parameters. Work to live, and not vice versa. As for empty time, try to eliminate that as much as you can.

Altogether, the key is to obsess over your time. When you try to do mandatory time but there’s other priorities to take care of which you can’t always postpone, such as playing with your child, it’s best to do that and find another moment to take care of work. However, make sure that you come back to the mandatory duties.

The key isn’t to have everything figured out, but to be aware of these four categories of time and take each day one by one to see where everything fits in your schedule. Another important aspect is to learn when to say no. However, instead of refusing treasured time, save your no’s for empty time and useless notifications.

Not Today Review

Not Today is your go-to guide for becoming more efficient, getting things done in a smart way by cutting back on procrastination, and overcoming life barriers with success. The book goes in detail about the personal lives of Mike and Erica Schultz, who faced great challenges in parenting an ill child, running a business, and being proactive in their community in the meantime. This book will teach you how to live an extraordinary life and get past barriers by simply efficientize your days and categorizing time.

Who would I recommend the Not Today summary to?

The 25-year-old graduate who finds it hard to keep up with their freshly started career on top of a personal life, the 27-year-old freelancer who spends the whole day in front of their laptop but does little to no work, or the 37-year-old parent who faces challenges in their personal life but needs to maintain focus on all areas of their life in the meantime.

Last Updated on October 6, 2022

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Maria Deac

While working with my friend Ovi's company SocialBee, I had the good fortune of Maria writing over 200 summaries for us over the course of 18 months. Maria is a professional SEO copywriter, content writer, and social media marketing specialist. When she's not writing or learning more about marketing, she loves to dance and travel all over the world.