A newsletter about making good use of time, from the dorky keyboards of Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky.


Recent posts:

The Distraction-Free Android
John Zeratsky on Medium

Why my brand-new Google Pixel is better without Gmail, Chrome, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram… or even Google

Start With a Full Calendar
John Zeratsky on Medium

I enjoyed a meeting-free stretch last year while we wrote Sprint, but that’s not normal. No… most weeks I have to fight and scrape and resort to dorky tricks to regain control of my time. My favorite trick is to Start With a Full Calendar. Fill your calendar with activities that matter to you, before others can fill it for you.

I Gave Up on To-Do Lists—Here’s How I Use a Might-Do List and a Calendar to Plan My Days Instead
John Zeratsky on Medium

Last year, I shared my One Big Thing philosophy. The idea is simple: Focusing on one big thing each day is more productive and more satisfying than checking off as many tasks as possible. But my post was also a bit of an anti-to-do-list rant. Indeed, after years of intense fascination with finding the best kind of task-management system, I gave up. Today, I don’t use a to-do list. Instead, I use a “might-do” list.

Distractions are a Nuisance, but Infinity Pools are the Real Problem
John Zeratsky on Medium

If you feel like you’ve lost your ability to focus, and you want to reclaim the time wasted on mindless browsing and pull-to-refreshing, disabling notifications is not the solution.

The Slacker's Guide to New Year's Resolutions That Stick
Jake Knapp on Medium

My New Year’s Resolutions used to fail every time. Then I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, and was quite taken by this line: “What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” The next January, I made a resolution to run every dayIt worked! Building a small daily habit was way easier than a big sometimes habit.

How I Order at a Restaurant Without Screwing It Up
Jake Knapp on Medium

Maybe my decision paralysis comes from too many options, or perhaps it’s because I don’t get many opportunities to eat at a restaurant. Regardless, I invented a sequence of 7 rules to allow me to order food without screwing it up.

Fancy Tools Are a Distraction—Here’s What I Use Instead
John Zeratsky on Medium

What’s the best to-do app? The most exquisite notepad and pen for taking notes and sketching? The finest watch? On the Internet, it’s not hard to find answers to these questions. And here I am with yet another Medium post about tools. But this one is different. This post argues against fancy tools and in favor of simple, cheap items you can find anywhere.

A Day Without Meetings: How I Started From Scratch to Create the Perfect Workday
John Zeratsky on Medium

In 2015, while we were writing Sprint, for the first time in my professional life, I had days without meetings. What did I do?

How I Used a Vacation Timer to Write a Book (or, Why I Shut Off the Internet at 9PM)
Jake Knapp on Medium

For years, I tried to start a daily writing habit. See, I had this crazy idea to write a book, and I knew I’d need a lot of time and practice to get it done. But with kids and a full-time job, there was no way I could find big blocks of time during the day. If I was going to write regularly, I’d have to make the time… from somewhere.

How to send (but not receive) email on your iPhone, and why doing it doesn’t mean you’re crazy
John Zeratsky on Medium

When I started Distraction-Free iPhone, I was immediately taken with the lack of incoming email; the absence of sounds, buzzes, and badges; the quieting of that nagging voice that used to speak to me: “hey, you might have an email.” But I did miss the ability to send email.

Time is not enough: why “getting in reps” is the best way to learn
John Zeratsky on LinkedIn

“Sometimes people ask me for career advice. Usually they want to know about skills to learn, books to read, where to find inspiration, stuff like that. But my favorite advice is not about what to learn; it’s about how to learn.”

One Big Thing: a simple way to do more by planning less
John Zeratsky on Medium, TIME, and InVision

“The most important things never showed up on any to-do list. My best work happened when I spent hours in flow, intensely focused on a single task. These projects didn’t need to be sliced into neat to-dos. They didn’t need to be managed — I needed to clear my schedule and do them.”

Why I ignore the daily news and read The Economist instead
John Zeratsky on Medium

“I don’t follow the daily news. I don’t read a paper, watch TV news, or follow any news outlets on Twitter. Truly important breaking news always finds me. For everything else, there’s The Economist.”

How I became a morning person (and why I decided to make the change)
John Zeratsky on Medium and TIME

It’s early and dark. The alarm sounds, and you reach over to switch it off. After a short pause, you sit up. You swing your legs off the bed, touch the floor with your feet, and reach for your phone. “I’m half asleep,” you think. “I’ll just look at Twitter while I wake up.” Ten minutes pass, then another five. You’re not asleep, but you’re not really awake either.

My year with a distraction-free iPhone (and how to start your own experiment)
Jake Knapp on Medium and Lifehacker

In 2012, I realized I had a problem. My iPhone made me twitchy. I could feel it in my pocket, calling me, like the Ring called Bilbo Baggins. It distracted me from my kids. It distracted me from my wife. It distracted me anytime, anywhere. I just didn’t have the willpower to ignore email and Twitter and Instagram and the whole world wide web. Infinity in my pocket was too much.

The distraction-free iPhone (or why I’m happier since I disabled Safari)
Jake Knapp on Medium, Lifehacker, and Gizmodo

When people see my iPhone they’re like, “My God, man, do you have some kind of crazy phone virus?” It’s got no web browser. No email. No Twitter, no Instagram, no Facebook. But no, the phone isn’t broken. I actually did it on purpose. It was supposed to be a one week experiment, and now it’s been months, and I don’t want to go back.