Making Time for What Matters

Samantha Lane

By Jackie Wise Parreco
Photos by Sam Thomas

Samantha Lane (Knoxville ’07) was trying to maintain relationships with family and friends, exceed goals at work, make health a priority and, possibly, sleep for six hours each night. As she juggled all of this, the tether of work pulled harder and harder, and living life took a backseat.

Then life interrupted.

In 2014, Lane underwent surgery to fix a congenital chest-wall deformity. Her surgery resulted in multiple complications and proved the intervention she needed.

“I realized my priorities were off. I was putting work first and life second,” says Lane on how her business, Origami Day, began.

Samatha Lane
Samatha Lane

At the outset, the mission of Origami Day was admittedly selfish; Lane wanted better work-life balance. That mission grew when she realized others also struggled to find balance. Origami Day gives people tools to find work-life balance without sacrificing productivity at work.

While getting educated on time management, she realized the products she needed did not exist: planners were too busy and complicated. As a busy person, Lane wanted something that was not. For three years, she designed and built her own planner and then set out to find a printing partner that could execute her vision. That process took more than a year, but the search concluded with a sleek and functional planner to help people focus on the big picture of their lives.

Aside from the yearly planner and her signature folding, planning sheets, Origami Day provides one-on-one coaching, workshops and corporate training. Lane spends her days helping people go after the life they want.

“You can have work-life balance and still crush it at your job; you just have to go against the grain,” she says.

She is there to help her clients take those brave steps outside of the norm, which she says is much less scary after the first step.

Starting her business is her ultimate testament to that philosophy, as the decision to go for it felt worrisome. However, asking herself about the potential outcomes brought clarity to the choice.

“The best things were so inspiring because I could do this and truly help people. The worst were all things I could overcome,” she says.

She is clear that entrepreneurship has its challenges, with resources—time or money—always being tight.

However, when asked about her successes as an entrepreneur, Lane quickly shifts the focus from her professional success to that of her clients. Hearing their stories of achievement using the Origami Day products—or what they learned through coaching—is Lane’s reminder that her work makes a difference.

Origami Day

Top Three Tips for Time Management

  • Know what is important to you and what things add happiness to your life.
  • Take time to make a plan so you can work proactively, not reactively.
  • Learn to say no to the things not in your plan.


Learn more about Samantha Lane and Origami Day at