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October 29, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Samantha Lane shares work-life balance tips

The former Knoxvillian now lives in Charleston, SC. She was the first speaker on the final day of the "Startup Mountain Summit" in Johnson City.

It was about four years ago that we first met Samantha Lane, Founder of Origami Day, and shared her inspiring story of survival and perseverance in this December 2019 teknovation.biz article. A lot has changed in those nearly 48 months.

Samantha Lane

Lane now calls Charleston, SC home, even though she says she and her husband still have a house in Knoxville. She has also become a team trainer, personal coach, and keynote speaker, such as Friday’s presentation at the “Startup Mountain Summit” in Johnson City. What has not changed is her passion for helping others manage their time.

Defining time management as understanding “how to build a business without burning out,” Lane related how the then Territory Manager for King University took what she thought would be a month away from work in mid-2014 to have surgery to repair pectus excavatum. It is more commonly referred to as funnel or sunken chest.

Well, as the old saying goes, those best laid plans sometimes don’t pan out. She was away from work much longer, due in part to a staph infection. When she returned, Lane had a new sense of the importance of work-life balance, and Origami Day was the result.

“I wanted life to bring me joy,” she said, and a good part of that joy comes from helping others. The business has been her full-time job since late 2019.

A key message that Lane delivered to the attendees was that they “cannot make more time” in a day, so people need to “work proactively rather than reactively.” To do so, she outlined three pillars.

  • Pillar #1 was to know how to prioritize, and Lane recommended that attendees start with the Eisenhower Urgency Matrix. The four-quadrant task management tool helps people organize and prioritize tasks by urgency and importance. Tasks are divided into four boxes based on those individuals will do first, the tasks scheduled for later, the tasks that will be delegated, and those that will be deleted.
  • Pillar #2 is planning. Lane says she takes Fridays to plan for the next week. She uses the Origami Day tool to cover three steps: what is on her schedule, those other things that she hopes to accomplish, and those tasks that require “digital reinforcement” such as an email or calendar invitation to others.
  • Pillar #3 is protecting the plan by being able to say “no” or “not now” when asked to do something that would disrupt the plan.

“So much of time management is actually energy management,” she says.


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