Make TIME for What Matters with John Zeratsky

No one has the time. We have to make the time. If we aren’t intentional about how we set up our days, it’s easy to lose focus and get caught up in distractions. Then, at the end of the day, we find we haven’t met our goals. And by the end of the week, we’re struggling to keep our head above water and make it to the weekend.

On this episode, author and speaker John Zeratsky shares tips and tricks for making time and keeping ourselves on track.

Zeratsky says one of the easiest ways to bring back that focus is to outsource both willpower and discipline. For example, you can remove distracting apps from your phone. You can set alarms reminding you to check your email at specific times, or you can block schedule your day, so you know exactly what you need to do and when. When you keep your tasks and time blocks separate, you’re not anxious about that email you accidentally saw in the coffee shop line but haven’t responded to yet. By reconfiguring your day and your methods, you make the path of least resistance the one you want to be on. The right choice becomes the easy choice and you’re able to make time for everything that matters.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Start the day by choosing a highlight
  • Reconfigure your environment to help you focus
  • Take care of your body to bring your best energy
  • Reflect and make adjustments to your day
  • Set expectations based on your values and worth


 “When we slow down and look at it, we realize that by making ourselves less reactive and a little bit less responsive, we can actually be better colleagues, we can be better partners, we can be better friends and humans, and all of those things. We need that space to truly do our best.” -John Zeratsky

“There’s a concept in cognitive research called attention residue. It’s literally like this residue that builds up every time you pay attention to something that you can’t resolve at that moment. You’re just building up this layer after layer of this goo that slows down everything else you’re doing.” -John Zeratsky

“Treat your time with the same level of analytical and critical rigour that we apply to our work and our workouts and our diets and all that other stuff.” -John Zeratsky

“I try to …  intentionally craft habits around the things that I know I won’t otherwise do.” -John Zeratsky

“My philosophy is that for the things that we know we need that ongoing help with, as much as possible, we should try to outsource those. We should try to reconfigure our technology, reconfigure our environments, set up our schedules, make commitments to other people, whatever we can do, so that at the end of the week, we don’t have to look deep in the well for that last little ounce of willpower.” -John Zeratsky


You can follow John Zeratsky’s work and find additional resources online at You can also check out his two books: Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day (with Jake Knapp) and Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days (with Jake Knapp and Braden Kowitz).


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Episode 186