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Jake Knapp on having a distraction-free phone for six years

My guest today is Jake Knapp. Jake spent the last 10 years at Google and Google Ventures where he created the Design Sprint, which is a method for building and testing a prototype in five days. He then went on and wrote a book about the process, called Sprint, which was a New York Times bestseller. He recently wrote another book called Make Time, which I mentioned on a previous episode. I personally loved Make Time, which is all about strategies to help make time for doing your most important work and really getting the most out of each day.

I was so excited to have Jake on the show, as I’ve followed his work for several years. What I particularly loved about this chat was how practical Jake is in his strategies and how he applied them during his time at Google. Now I should warn you that this chat somehow ended up starting with a story about a near-death experience - but don’t worry, it gets more upbeat from there!

We cover a whole lot of things, including:

  • How a near death experience lead to Jake becoming a self-confessed “time dork"

  • Jake’s number one tip for creating a great day

  • Why Jake hates the traditional to-do list

  • How Jake created a distraction free phone - and how it changed his life

  • The importance of boredom

  • How to take back control of your calendar

  • How Jake managed his calendar at Google Ventures

  • How Jake approaches his email

  • Being productive versus being purposeful

  • Why you need to be prepared to let little bad things happen in the pursuit of using time well

And here are links to some of the things mentioned in this show:



Six years distraction free iPhone

How Basecamp structure their calendars

Find out more about Jake at and get a copy of Make Time here. You can also listen to Jake’s awesome podcast, the Product Breakfast Club, here.

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If you are looking for more tips to improve the way you work, I write a short monthly newsletter that contains three cool things that I have discovered that help me work better, which range from interesting research findings through to gadgets I am loving. You can sign up for that at

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