How I Work

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

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Episode notes

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

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.

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