Hello Leader,

This KEY may shock you. It carries both good and bad news. Are you expressing your true talent? Are you as effective and productive as you can be? Your productivity zone is specific. To make the most of it you need to pay careful attention. I am not Malcolm Gladwell; but if I were, this could easily be the subject of my next book. To save both of us some time, I will compress the book into a concise KEY. I invite you to reflect on the discovery presented here and to pushback or validate its implication for you. This breakthrough awareness can help you improve productivity in a significant way. Please share with me your insights about your productivity zone and which of the five patterns represents how you produce your most meaningful contributions.

As always, you are welcome to forward this KEY to friends, family and associates. We hope to grow and double our distribution list. Sincerely,

Aviv Shahar

Sam Szteinbaum, Chief Learning Officer, Hewlett Packard:
“I used Aviv multiple times while at HP (both as a business manager and then as CLO for the company). He consistently delivered high quality content, which created tremendous value for the company and personally for each individual who participated in his programs (based on their own feedback after these events). Aviv’s work is customized to the needs for each team and situation. He develops unique content and is flexible to ensure the business objectives are achieved. He has been undeniably the most impactful vendor I worked with at HP over my 25 year career.”

Invitation: Engage The Power of Your Most Precious Assets

Are you using your time effectively? Are you able to apply your energy in the best way? And are you engaging your focus creatively?

Join us for our upcoming tele-seminar on Friday, September 11th at 2:00 p.m. EDT – How to make the most of your precious assets – Your TERF: Time, Energy, Relationships and Focus? I will share with you original insight never spoken about before and powerful strategies that helped transformational leaders create results.

Your Peak Productivity Zone

A critical mindset both for executives and everyone else is that your most precious assets are your time, your energy and your focus. Effectiveness is enhanced when you bring precious assets into alignment with values and purpose. In this key we explore how to maximize the productivity zone to help you apply your precious assets with this awareness in mind.

Here is the ultimate productivity insight. The idea in short: The most productive people in most fields produce their most important work in 90-120 minutes a day. That’s the bad news. But it’s the good news, too, if you know how to make the most of your Peak Productivity Zone. Top performers produce their most vital work, impactful collaborations and breakthrough innovations inside 120 minutes a day. The peak productivity zone is exercised in five main patterns (templates): Sprints, Solitude, Intervals, Transitory moments and Combinations. We’ll explain each of these in a moment.

What about the other 20 hours, or at least six, seven or ten hours at work? Are they a total waste? Absolutely not! You use these hours to do everything else that you need to do in order to live, learn, connect, love, play, make meaning and enjoy. By using this other time optimally you clear the space and help yourself be your best in the peak performance and productivity zone.


If your entire workday is comprised of multi-tasking-if you do not turn off multi-tasking ever-you deprive yourself of your highest productivity zone and likely will not ever realize your full talent and capability.

Let us be clear. Multi-tasking is great. It is essential for a productive life. You would not survive a day without it. But living is about much more than surviving. It is about thriving; about playing a bigger game. It is about making a breakthrough contribution; about creating significance. Your peak productivity zone is found in full and total engagement. Your undivided presence and focus becomes the conduit of possibility, meaning and the next breakthrough.

Naturally, a large part of your work time is spent on multiple activities, preparing and supporting what you are then able to do in your productivity zone, which is where you focus on the task at hand to the exclusion of all else and produce your most valuable contributions.

The patterns you create and apply for your peak productivity are determined by:

  1. Your role and responsibilities: You are managing virtual teams, involved in one or many projects, participate in many meetings, and so on…
  2. Your biorhythm and habits: Your energy cycles-Are you a morning or an evening person? And so on…
  3. Your situational and work environment: You work from your home office, in cubicles, in a closed office, have a long or short commute, travel a lot, and so on…

Conversations with top talent and executives reveal that there are five main patterns of maximal productivity, with a few variations. Each person is unique. Each achiever fashions his or her own optimal template of success. Here are the five patterns we have discerned:

1st – The Sprints: a 10-minute sprint pattern – This pattern is used by professionals that produce their best work in sprints of 10 minutes. Whether their work is solo or collaborative, on the phone or in person, they spend 50 minutes of an hour preparing, learning, going through stuff to clear the space for 10 minutes of highly productive engagement. In a regular work day you may have six to twelve sprints like this which make for 60-120 minutes of full and total engagement. Your sprint may focus on solo work or be exercised as a clear summation of a meeting or an important phone call.

2nd – The Solitude: a 120-minute solitude pattern – Professionals that use the solitude pattern mostly apply it in the morning. Others apply it late at night. Good examples are authors, painters, programmers and designers who find that the first hour or two of work is when they get the most productive work done. In this strategy you spend a concentrated period of 90-120 minutes of uninterrupted focused work.

3rd – The Intervals: a 20-30 minute Interval pattern – This pattern is similar to the sprint. Many professionals find that their best solo work, as well as collaborative engagement, is exercised in 20-30 minute concentrated intervals. For these individuals, intervals of focused effort create an inhale and exhale rhythm that help them produce the greatest results.

4th – The Transitory moments: situational transitory pattern – Certain roles, functions and personal inclinations enjoy and are most ready to play full out in bursts of situational and transitory moments. Examples include managing by walking around, quick huddles and moments of intense and productive engagement in strategy conversations, in coaching, or in working on a complex problem on the phone or electronically.

5th – The Combination: combined pattern – Many create their unique combination as their productivity pattern. A good example is the executive who takes the first 45 minutes of the day for focused review of financial, organizational and strategic matters. He then identifies the two or three most vital things he needs to accomplish for that day. The rest of the day flows from the clarity produced in this focused work with a few concentrated Sprints, Intervals and Transitory moments.

To identify your optimal pattern and to help you cultivate your peak productivity, practice and develop awareness of the following five elements and when they show up:

  1. Engagement. You are fully present and engaged.
  2. Motivation. You are energized and motivated to do what you do.
  3. Focus. You have a clear focus. Your environment allows you to focus and block out distractions.
  4. Alignment. Your activity is aligned to your overall objective and purpose. You are supported and have what you need to create results.
  5. Outcome. You know what success looks like-you have clarity of vision about the outcome you are looking to create.

Why is it important to recognize your patterns of operation?

A. The first message here is that as a knowledge worker a big chunk of your work is preparing for the 120 minutes of high impact contribution. We are not saying that meaningful work happens only in 120 minutes a day. We are saying that work is preparing for and supporting the value-creation you generate in short concentrated bursts. The game of golf is a clear demonstration of this principle.

This same principle applies in parenting. As a parent, twenty minutes of a focused presence without anything else on your mind means more and is felt more than four hours of half attention between scanning your blackberry and on to the next phone call. As we said, multi-tasking is necessary but not sufficient.

B. The second message is the shocking realization that your success and destiny are determined by 120-or, at times-just 15 minutes a day! The rest is to manage everything else so you and your people can be in the ultimate productivity zone when it’s called for.

I defy you to tell me that you have little or no control of your time and your work day. It simply is your choice. You do have the power to choose differently. The choices and decisions you already make corroborate this insight. You may agonize on an issue for a long time but the final decision is taken in a single concentrated moment.

C. The third message is that superb personal management is not about expanding your 120 minutes as much as it is about making your 120 minutes all that they can be for you.

The orange tree creates a million flowers, a small percentage of which become fruit. So is the case for you.

Now it’s your turn. Turn the KEY. Teach and help your teams discover the productivity zone. Get everyone to read this KEY and discuss it in your next meeting. Explore how to maximize this insight. Unleash the power of peak productivity!

Our Leadership and Talent Programs help you focus on your strengths and on your Peak Productivity Zone. You practice strategies to help you accelerate breakthrough results. Call or email us to find out about a program for your team.

© Aviv Shahar

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