18 MINUTES : Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, And Get The Right Things Done
The Effective Strategy & Tip For Being First Things First
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Based upon his weekly Harvard Business Review columns, 18 MINUTES clearly shows how busy people can cut through all the daily clutter and distractions and find a way to focus on those key items which are truly the top priorities in our lives.
In short, It offers a plan for getting the right things done in business and in life.
Who hasn’t struggled with trying to accomplish a crazy amount of to-do’s into one day?
And, it often seems as if the list just keeps getting longer as the day progresses…and the frustration inevitably increases.
What if the solution wasn’t doing more, but doing more of what really matters to you?
That’s exactly the approach that Peter Bregman offers with 18 Minutes:
“18 Minutes provides a solution to these struggles and frustrations.
There are some key takeaways from this book. It’s worth the read just to get the system down. It works immediately.
● Step 1. Work from a world of having 3-7 goals (max) each year.
● Step 2. Spend 95% a day on your goals, and 5% a day on that crap you have to do, like emails and calls.
● Step 3. Follow the daily regimen to check in with yourself each hour, at end of day ETC.
It’s a comprehensive approach to managing a year, a day, and a moment so that our lives move forward in a way that keeps us focused on, and doing, the things we decide are most important.
An important first step in reclaiming our lives…This book will help you make smart, thoughtful decisions about what’s wo9rth doing and what’s not.
And it will offer you some simple tools and skills to follow through on those decisions so you spend your time doing the things that matter while avoiding the things that don’t.
This book is also about enjoying the process. Managing your life shouldn’t feel like a chore.
There are four primary sections to the book:
Section 1 – Pause – The examples in this section will prepare you for the rest of the book. You will get into a mind-set that will help you to see the possibilities of getting the most out of your time.
Section 2 – What is this year about? I’m a big fan of Chris Brogan’s “three words for the year” exercise where you pick three words that will symbolize your priorities and efforts in the new year. This is very much the same idea. In 18 Minutes, Bregman shows you four elements around which you should focus your efforts over the year:
✔ Leverage your strengths
✔ Embrace your weaknesses
✔ Assert your difference
✔ Pursue your passion
Section 3 – What is this day about? – this is where you learn how to translate what your year is about into a daily 18-minute plan.
This isn’t really a new concept. The Franklin Planner folks had this figured out, as do most people who are on a mission to achieve something.
I have a friend who likes to say that most people know more about what they want on a pastrami sandwich than what they want out of life.
Bregman is saying the same thing. Figuring out what your year is about is huge, but keeping that goal in focus day in and day out is even more challenging for most people.
In this section, Bregman delves deeper into how to combine those four elements of who you are into a more powerful, more fully self-expressed version of you.
He relates a wonderfully telling story of how he repeatedly fell during a mountain biking trip because he found himself slowing down at a rock instead of plowing over it.
We could immediately see his point and thought of how we become sidetracked by certain events in the day because we didn’t plan ahead and acknowledge potential obstacles and how I would handle them.
There is a terrific list outline in this section that you can use immediately. Just use those four or five things that your year is about as list categories; then put your tasks underneath.
Bregman also recommends creating a category called “The other 5%- Mine.”
When I saw this, I had an epiphany! I’ve been using Google Tasks to keep track of my to-do lists and had created lists by Clients. Now I see that I can create my lists by these four categories.
In fact, if you read my review on Karmic Management, you’ll find Bregman’s system works just as well with the 6 time lists mentioned there.
An interesting benefit you’ll get from this arrangement of your lists is the ability to quickly see which categories have an abundance of tasks and which ones are a little thin.
This is a terrific visual barometer that you can use to see if your day is the way you’d like it to be. If it isn’t, you can quickly make a change.
Section 4- What is this moment about? I’m sure you see a pattern unfolding in this book.
Focus on who you are, what your year, day and moments are about, and keep your tasks focused in those areas–then you will certainly get where you want to go.
This section is all about being present moment by moment and noticing when you are about to get distracted.
Bregman discusses tactics for managing distractions – those shiny objects that clutter our day, those siren songs that ultimately steal us away from our mission in life.
And neither should reading a book about managing your life…18 Minutes will home in on who you are and how you can best use your talents to achieve the things that will make you happy, productive, and successful.
And if you are a little—or even a lot—out of focus, don’t worry:18 Minutes will bring you back in.”
Bregman works from the premise that the best way to combat constant and distracting interruptions is to create productive distractions of one’s own.
Based upon a series of short bite-sized chapters, his approach allows us to safely navigate through the constant chatter of emails, text messages, phone calls, and endless meetings that prevent us from focusing our time on those things that are truly important to us.
Mixing first-person insights along with unique case studies, Bregman sprinkles his charming book with pathways which help guide us — pathways that can get us on the right trail in 18 minutes or less.
18 Minutes, this book is a worthwhile read, especially for people who need not only to manage their time better, but also ensure their time is being spent on the right things.
Too often, wisdom about the proper priorities of work, family, volunteerism, and so forth is won at the expense of years (even decades) of misdirected labor and focus.
A thoughtful read of this book won’t tell the reader what to do, but may cause the reader to think more deeply about their own priorities and the true value of their goals.
“Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy.”
About the Author
Peter Bregman is the CEO of Bregman Partners, a global management consultancy where he is the advisor to CEOs as well as to their top management teams on leadership and workplace issues. He is based in New York City.