15-Minutes of Power

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Problem: I Can’t Get the Most Important Work Done

Solution: 15-Minutes of Power

Many leaders and knowledge workers have difficulty getting to the most important work – the work that creates real value in their life and the organization. Instead they are bogged down with emails, messages, and other time-consuming tasks. Almost as bad as the drudgery of low-value routine work is how easy it is to get side-tracked once we get started on the work we are so anxious to do. The solution is a simple technique called the 15-minutes of power.


Step 1:

Pick the task you really want to do – the high value activity that needs your focus.

Step 2:

Pull out your smart phone and set the timer function for 15-minutes.

Step 3:

Work, work, work… and, do not let anything get in your way. This is your sacred time. These 15 minutes are yours, guard them.

You will be amazed at how much gets done in 15 minutes. You will also be surprised that once the timer rings you won’t want to quit, which is a nice unintended consequence.

Use the 15 Minutes of Power several times a day – Morning, Noon, Afternoon, Night. Your productivity on the highest value work will increase dramatically.


We learned this technique from a software development team leader from Atomic Object who used a timer to force us to finish our ideas in preparation for a collaboration session. He handed us blank paper, colored pencils and crayons, and then he set an old fashioned egg timer for 15 minutes. When the timer rang we stopped and briefed our ideas to each other. That experience was one of the most entertaining and productive collaborative experiences I’ve ever had.

We now use that same process to get our most important work done. In any single day we can identify 15-20 activities that are important that we would like to work on. They range from business to personal to family to volunteer… We are a busy society. By adopting this technique our focus has changed and our productivity has gone through the roof.

To Recap

Pick one thing from that large list – one thing that you know will move the dial in your success. Then, apply the 15 Minutes of Power to it and viola – results will flow almost faster than you can absorb.

Without the 15 Minutes of Power people find themselves mired in emails that don’t matter, their Dilbert calendar, looking for a snack, consuming social media, searching for something to listen to…almost anything but the work that makes a difference.

The next time you want to truly get something done, whether it is writing a blog post, designing a new landing page, framing a planning process, outlining a project, writing a performance review, or scheduling a great retreat for your family, use the 15 Minutes of Power and watch your success soar.