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May 21, 2020

New York Times bestselling author and productivity expert, John Zeratsky, made time to chat with me about his mission to help you improve your focus, find greater meaning in your work, and get more out of each day.

“All of the old structures and routines are gone.... When we have a schedule for ourselves ... that becomes scaffolding we can stand on, we're free to focus.” — John Zeratsky

John studied journalism in college and has spent over 15 years as a designer for tech companies like YouTube and Google. He was also Google Ventures's in-house copywriter, editor, and content strategist. At Google Ventures, he helped develop the design sprint process and worked with close to 200 startups, including Uber, Slack, 23andMe, and Nest.

As a result he co-authored the bestseller Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days – written with fellow "Time Dork" Jake Knapp. But they're by no means run-of-the-mill productivity experts, as you'll soon hear.

Their latest collaboration is Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day a book described by the bestselling author of The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg, as "A charming manifesto [and] do-it-yourself guide to building smart habits that stick. If you want to achieve more (without going nuts), read this book."

Seems only fitting at a time when many of us are WFH (working from home), experiencing cabin fever (or worse), and questioning the future of work itself (i.e. "going nuts").

John is a keynote speaker whose writing has been published by The Wall Street Journal, TIME, Harvard Business Review, Wired, Fast Company, and many other publications.

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In this file John Zeratsky (JZ – no not that Jay-Z) and I discussed:

  • Why your smartphone saps your energy, focus, and attention
  • The origins of the "distraction-free" mindset
  • How to rethink your definition of time
  • Why now is the best time to write that novel
  • Sustainable ways to tune out during a pandemic
  • Why storytelling is still the universal solvent
  • And the importance of recharging your soul

Show Notes: