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December 03, 2019 | Tom Ballard

“Life-changing” experience in July 2014 provided inspiration for Samantha Lane

There’s always something that causes an entrepreneur to latch onto a specific opportunity. In Samantha Lane’s case, it was what she describes as a “life-changing” experience in July 2014.

We did not know her at the time, but one can imagine that the former Chicagoland resident who moved to Tennessee at age 18 was a hard-charger in her earlier years. After all, she played high school basketball against legendary Lady Vol Candace Parker.

In mid-2014, Lane was Territory Manager for King University and needed to have surgery to repair pectus excavatum, more commonly referred to as funnel or sunken chest. “I planned to be out a month,” she says, so she had meticulously organized how her work would be handled while she recovered from the procedure.

In actuality, Lane gradually returned to the job but with a new perspective on life after a longer than anticipated recovery that included a staph infection. What she learned during that extended period was that her priorities were literally out of order; Lane needed to reprioritize her work versus the other parts of her life. As she developed a way to do so, something she now describes as a “Gift from God” became the impetus for a company named Origami Day.

“People saw the peace that I had in my day,” Lane says of the system that she developed to ensure that she was living each day to its fullest. Today, through two products that are sold locally and online and a menu of services, Lane is exposing others to her approach to time management, stress reduction and, most important, the right balance between work and the other parts of their lives.

“I want to help people understand how to be present and productive in their lives” is the way she describes her personal mission and the focus of the company. “Origami Day is a philosophy and the tools to implement it.”

The company’s name is both symbolic of an important concept in the work-life balance conundrum and a tip of the hat to her mother’s ancestry – Japanese. In that language, origami is defined as the art of folding paper into decorative shapes and figures. Lane’s approach to time management starts with a single sheet of paper, folded in such a way that six quadrants are created – one for each day (Monday through Friday) and one for a combination of Saturday and Sunday.

She explains that individuals prepare their to do lists for each week, but they only see those for a single day at a time. As such, they are focused on the items that must be completed that day, and they can easily mark through them as they are finished.

There is also a planning notebook where an individual can list items for the future – next week, next month, or next year. And, Lane keeps busy holding workshops, keynoting events, and providing individual consulting.

“I thought the business was all product,” she says. “Today, product is 25 percent while services are 75 percent.”

Readers of may recall reading about or even seeing Lane pitch in February 2017 at the annual “What’s the Big Idea 48-Hour Launch.” She sold her first product in November 2017 but only went full-time three months ago.

Origami Day has been bootstrapped thus far, but Lane wants to see it grow to, as she again emphasizes during the interview, “help people shape their time for work-life balance.” In her view, it comes down to three simple rules: know what’s important, make a plan, and make sure you protect that plan.

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