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Disrupt Yourself Podcast with Whitney Johnson

Jun 12, 2018

My guest today is Laura Vanderkam, an expert on time management who's 2016 TED Talk "How to Gain Control of Your Free Time" has been viewed over 5 million times. She is the author of several books on time management, including Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done, which was released in May of this year.

Laura did not go to college to become a time management guru. She admits to a mild interest in productivity, having read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People at a young age, but it wasn't until she had to balance having a child and building a journalism career that she began to look at how people spent their time.

What Laura found was that much of the narrative surrounding how people spend their time isn't very accurate. While many people believe that they are busy and never have time for anything, the truth is that if something unexpected happened--such as a water heater breaking or a basement flooding--we are all able to "magically" create more time in our schedule to handle the emergency while still accomplishing other tasks that were already on our plate.

While many people view being "busy" as a sign of importance, Laura challenges the idea that we need to fill every second of every day, and instead recommends finding "open space" in our schedule to allow us to think and grow in ways we can't anticipate when setting our schedule for the week.

For more takeaways and links from this episode, visit