The Productivity Giants Series with Peter Shankman, Founder of HARO


We’re excited to feature Peter Shankman on the #ProductivityGiants series this week. Peter is best-known founding Help A Reporter Out (HARO) which in “under a year became the de-facto standard for thousands of journalists looking for sources on deadline, offering them more than 200,000 sources around the world looking to be quoted in the media.” The New York Times called him “a public relations all-star who knows everything about the media and then some.


Since founding HARO, Peter has built other successful companies as well, including The Geek Factory, a boutique marketing firm located in New York City that services clients worldwide. He also created ShankMinds: Breakthrough, an online community of business professionals who come together to share advice, expand their business, and find ways to improve their lives.



We chatted with Peter about his daily routine – including his very early wake-up time, how he combats distraction, and the worst advice he’s ever heard.


What does the first 90 minutes of your day look like?


When my alarm goes off at 3:45am and my bedroom lights have finished their automated program to light my room, I rise out of bed, already in my workout clothes, because I always put them on the night before.


I slip on my bike shoes and walk move six inches to my Peloton bicycle, which sits right next to my bed. I snap on my heart-rate monitor and start my first 45-minute workout of the day.


By the time the sun comes up, I’ve either done two rides already. Or I’m finishing an outdoor long run or a lifting workout at the gym, depending on whether it’s a day my daughter is staying with me.


What’s your number one productivity/time-saving tip?




Any favorite tools?


Health trackers like Strava, Apple Health, and MyFitnessPal.


Do you have a pre-bed/nightly routine?


Lights off. Phone off. Black-out curtains drawn.


How often do you check your inbox?




#1 Email tip?


Keep it at 5 lines or less.


Favorite SaneBox feature?


I love its brilliant, almost angelic-like filtering systems.


What’s the biggest hindrance to your productivity? How do you combat it?


Shiny objects syndrome. I combat it by doing my most productive work in places where it doesn’t exist, such as airplanes.


When you lose focus, what do you do to regain it?


I exercise or do something to increase my dopamine and serotonin levels


What have you learned from your failures?


I’ve learned that it is not a failure if I learn from it. The best decisions I’ve ever made, and the most success I’ve ever had, have all come after my biggest failures.


What bad advice do you hear often?


Try to fit in.


What book has changed your life and why?


They Can Kill You But They Can’t Eat You by Dawn Steele.


What’s your definition of productivity?


Creating an environment where I can get into my zone of focus and stay in for as long as I want.


In the last 5 years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?


I’ve stopped assuming malice in others, when more often than not it’s just stupidity.


What have you become better at saying no to?


Events that have no benefit to me.






Follow Peter on Twitter.