18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done

Posted February 1, 2012 in Career Management, Decision Making, Self-Insight, What We're Reading

18minutes3dBy: Peter Bregman

Reviewed by: Glain Roberts-McCabe

The Premise: In this age of “work-on-demand”, where lines between work and home are continually being blurred, Peter Bregman’s 18 minutes promises readers the opportunity to get a grip and regain control of their time. The book is written in very quick read 3-4 page chapters and mixes Bregman’s personal experience with some practical/tactical suggestions. Some of the suggestions veer into “motherhood” with statements like “life is a marathon, not a sprint” and “a brief pause will help you make a smarter next move”. Bregman’s writing style is friendly and conversational and, despite some of the strange chapter headings (The Girl Who Stopped Alligator Man), the personal stories and anecdotes do make for a quick and easy read.

The Bottom Line: My conclusion about most time management type books like 18 Minutes is this: if you’re a highly organized person, you probably don’t need it, and if you’re a highly disorganized person – assuming that you manage to read the entire book in the first place – success will hinge on whether you actually put any of the suggestions into action. Since I fall into the latter camp on this issue, I have found it’s best to focus on taking one thing and doing that well. For me, the takeaway from this book is to focus on the 5 things that matter the most with your job and make sure you focus your activities around them each and every day. Bregman suggests picking 3 things that are work related and 2 that are personal. I’ve spent the last 12 months trying to get relentless about my top 3 priorities and have definitely noticed a difference in my results. I like the addition of building in 2 personal things to that structure. Overall, this is a great book for business owners and any line leader who’s feeling constantly behind the 8 ball and struggling to prioritize activities. The exercise of identifying your 5 key focus areas and then bucketing your current to-do list into each area should be eye-opening and give you your money’s worth.

Roundtable Rating: A quick read with some good tips on how to focus your time and energy.

Check out the book and some online tools here.

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