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30 of The Best Podcast Episodes for John Zeratsky. A collection of podcasts episodes with or about John Zeratsky, often where they are interviewed.

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30 of The Best Podcast Episodes for John Zeratsky. A collection of podcasts episodes with or about John Zeratsky, often where they are interviewed.

Updated daily with the latest episodes

Productivity Secrets from NY Times Bestselling Author John Zeratsky

The Writer Files: Writing, Productivity, Creativity, and Neuroscience
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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:

May 21 2020



MBS235 - Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day with John Zeratsky

Matt Brown Show
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John Zeratsky is a writer and designer on a mission to help people make time for what matters. He is the author of Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day. Listen in as Matt and John give some practical insights on how to manage your time in order to be the most productive during this unprecedented time we are in.

You can now catch the Matt Brown Show LIVE on all social media platforms. Like, share, and send your comments through. Find more information on upcoming guests at

Apr 27 2020

1hr 4mins


Ex-Google Ventures designer John Zeratsky on structuring your day around a highlight, his daily reflection ritual, and the pro-human smartphone.

How I Work
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My guest today is John Zeratsky, otherwise known as JZ. JZ is a veteran technology designer, keynote speaker, and the bestselling author of Sprint and Make Time.JZ has worked with more than 200 of the world’s most important and innovative organizations, including Google, Harvard University, Slack, IDEO, and Netflix.

For nearly 15 years, JZ was a designer for technology companies. At Google Ventures, he helped develop the Design Sprint and worked with startups like Uber, 23andMe, Flatiron Health, Blue Bottle Coffee, and Nest. Previously, he was a designer at YouTube, Google, and FeedBurner.

I am a huge fan of both of JZ’s books and had his co-author, Jake Knapp, on How I Work about a year ago which is an interview you might want to check out too. I think you will find this interview super practical - and note, it was conducted BC (before corona), so if some things seem out of context, like our talk about travel, just keep that in mind.

In this interview, we cover:

  • The problematic default behaviours we have at work
  • How JZ structures his workdays
  • Creating a distraction-free phone
  • JZ’s daily reflection ritual
  • Making sure every day has a “highlight” - and how to work out what your highlight should be
  • How JZ’s approach to structuring his day has changed from leaving Google Ventures to working for himself 
  • JZ’s approach to making email processing as efficient as possible
  • Why JZ doesn’t have a to-do list, and instead, has a “might-do” list
  • The pro-human smart phone
  • JZ’s litmus test as to whether he is using his phone wisely
  • How JZ schedules walking breaks into his day
  • How JZ uses a calendar template to help optimise his day
  • JZ’s home game routine versus his away game routine (for when he is travelling)
  • JZ’s go-to apps and software

You can find JZ here and here, and on LinkedIn and Twitter. Buy Make Time and Sprint and enrol yourself in the Highlight Course here

Visit for full show notes from all episodes.

Get in touch at

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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Mar 25 2020



167: Make Time with John Zeratsky

Productivity Paradox
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Have you ever thought about choosing your goal for the day from the very get-go when you wake up? Think about this for a second, what if you started your day by planning what you want to be the highlight, and then worked backward to make sure it happened? That’s one of the things that today’s guest, John Zeratsky, shared in this episode. John is the co-author of Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day. He shares his wisdom on not living our life by default, and how things, like the busy bandwagon and infinity pulls, are tugging away at our attention. He explores what he’s learned over the years about productivity optimization, and how he uses the four-step structure of Highlights, Laser, Energy, and Reflect to help build his day. 

What’s In This Episode:

  • How John’s boating trip taught him two tremendous life lessons
  • The negative consequences of the busy bandwagon
  • Cutting off the infinity pulls at the source, so we’re free to choose what to focus on
  • John’s four-step structure of Highlights, Laser, Energy and Reflect
  • His three strategies for selecting a highlight to concentrate on day by day

Mar 24 2020



How Competitors MAKE Time with John Zeratsky

Compete Every Day
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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.

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

Click here to order John's book Make Time.

Support the show by using code PODCAST for 15% off any order at

Connect with Jake:

Mar 11 2020



The Mojo Radio Show EP 255: How High Performers Learn To Focus On What Matters - John Zeratsky

The Mojo Radio Show
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John Zeratsky, a former designer at YouTube and Google, became obsessed with the idea of redesigning time. He is the bestselling author of Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day. He also writes for the Wall Street Journal, TIME, HBR, Wired, Fast Company, and teaches at Harvard. Make time is not about crushing your to-do list, optimising every hour, or maximising personal productivity. It's about creating time for your priorities by rethinking our constant busyness and distraction.   What brings John to Australia and Sydney? What's the best story someone has told John about getting out of the Infinity Pool? Why are we blaming technology for our problems with attention? For many, it's a fear of missing out, FOMO, what's the solution to FOMO? Does John ever catch himself wading in the Infinity Pool and think "Wait, I'm the Make Time guy? John was a self-described nerd at school; what would he say to students at a high school? We should use technology to support connection and not replace it. Are we losing connection? An example of someone who makes time and has the discipline to get out of the Infinity Pool. Is the constant noise around us impacting our ability to focus and, in fact, costing us time? Why does John believe productivity leads to stress? Go faster so we can do more, why that seems to be a false productivity myth. Has John ever been perceived or felt like a perfectionist? Many people seem to lack the willpower to stay the course. What are our limits with willpower? How should we measure the success of time? We all have a to-do list as our default. What's the opposing view to that default? What does John's daily planner look like? Is it paper-based or screen, and what's the breakdown and structure? Is Twitter John's distraction kryptonite?     LINKS   John Zeratsky   John Zeratsky on Twitter   Maketime blog   The Mojo Radio Show on Patreon   The Mojo Radio Show   The Mojo Radio Show on Facebook   The Mojo Radio Show on Twitter   The Mojo Radio Show Answering Machine 08 7200 6656 08 7200 MOJO   The Mojo Radio Show copyright Gary Bertwistle & Darren Robertson   Products or companies we discuss are not paid endorsements. They are not sponsored by, nor do we have any professional or affiliate relationship of any kind with any of the companies or products highlighted in the show.... sadly! It’s just stuff we like, think is cool and maybe of interest to you our listeners.   “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”

Dec 01 2019

1hr 9mins


How to Make Time for Things That Matter, with John Zeratsky

Afford Anything
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#226: Feeling time-crunched? Today’s episode is for you.

Today’s episode features productivity expert John Zeratsky, who shares specific, action-packed time management strategies, with a focus on email management. If the term inbox zero sounds laughable, these strategies are up your alley.

John’s interest in productivity began one winter morning in 2008, when he realized that the past few months had been an eerie blur. He realized that time was slipping away. He knew he needed to figure out a better way to manage his time - and his life.

He started deep-diving into time management strategies and eventually co-authored a book, Make Time.

If you want to learn how to redesign your daily schedule, you’ll enjoy this episode.

For more information, visit the show notes at

Nov 18 2019

1hr 13mins



Inspire Nation Show with Michael Sandler
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If you’ve ever wanted more time in your day, then do we have the Make Time show for you!

Today I’ll be talking with John Zeratsky, the best-selling co-author of Sprint, along with Jake Knapp, and the co-author of a new favorite book on time, Make Time.

And that’s just what I want to talk with him about today, about how to bulldoze your calendar, and focus on what matters, every day.

Key Points Discussed:

  • How did John start working with Google and YouTube?
  • How did he begin his own time experiments?
  • What are infinity pools and how do they suck away your time?
  • What’s the busy bandwagon and how does it affect our time?
  • What does it mean most of our time is spent in “default”?
  • What’s the difference between being productive and doing the most important work?
  • How do we handle our email on our smart phones?
  • What’s a distraction free iPhone?
  • What is a design sprint and how does it help us get things done?
  • What’s a high priority goal?
  • What’s it mean to start one’s day with a high priority goal?
  • What are the four steps to find and make more time in your day?
  • What’s it mean to highlight?
  • What does it mean to laser, and how does it help us beat distraction?
  • How do we use the body to recharge the brain?
  • What’s it mean to reflect to adjust and improve our system?
  • How is perfectionism a distraction?
  • How do we choose what to focus on first?
  • What’s the danger with to-do lists?
  • Can becoming a morning-person change your life?
  • How can timers transform our day?
  • What’s a time timer (

Additional Resources:


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Oct 23 2019

1hr 6mins


Ep. 261: John Zeratsky on Making Time

Raise Your Hand Say Yes with Tiffany Han
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This week we're talking about time management. But wait! I know you *think* you've heard everything there is to hear about how to get more done and optimize your time! But my guest, writer, speaker, and designer John Zeratsky is going to shake up your whole world when it comes to the question of how much time do you have *and* how are you spending it.

In this episode, John and I talk about what to do when you're "losing" time, how to get yourself out of the busy-filled cycles so many of us exist in, how to let things go AND STILL get things done (because we aren't trying to throw our ambition baby out with the bathwater!) and how to figure out a system that works for YOU and allows you to focus on what matters most to YOU. (Yes. Those capital YOU's matter because this isn't about following someone else's prescription of How To Do Everything.)

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!

Show Notes:

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Connect with John:Website | Twitter | Linkedin | Medium

Making Time by John Zeratsky and Jake Knapp

Sprint by John Zeratsky, Jake Knapp, and Braden Kowitz

Lost in Startuplandia by Keller Fitzsimmons

Aug 27 2019

1hr 4mins