Review: 18 Minutes by Peter Bregman

The subtitle of this book is "Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done." Although Bregman outlines an 18-minute-a-day time management plan, this book is about  much more than just getting things done.

In fact, the author detours from the usual perspective of time management books right from the beginning. He maintains that it is impossible to do everything and that a rewarding life is the result is of choosing the right things that help us achieve our goals. 

Most of us live life in fast-forward. Bregman argues that the first step to managing your life well is to reduce your forward momentum with a simple pause. Just the act of pausing will help us make a smarter next move and orient ourselves more to the things that are most important to us.

The crux of the book is finding your focus and designing your life around four behaviors:

  • Leverage your strengths
  • Enhance your weaknesses
  • Assert your differences
  • Pursue your passions

Bregman suggests that we determine what the five BIG THINGS are we want to spend our time on for the next year and to organize our lives around those and be vigilant about staying on course.

To be successful, we also need to identify what things to ignore in our lives. And the distractions come at all of us fast and furious – so setting our course and mastering distraction are the big to-dos here.

Creating your to-do list around your five BIG THINGS (or four or six) provides daily opportunities to evaluate our progress. We need to make conscious decisions about everything – to schedule it; do it; or let it go.

He assures us that failure is inevitable, useful and educational.

Bregman is generous with stories from his own life and those of his friends and clients. He demonstrates that multi-tasking is inefficient and unproductive. It's switch-tasking where we are constantly moving from one thing to another and not doing anything completely or well.

Peter Bregman's 18 Minutes gives us a workable framework for a daily ritual that helps us choose and keep our focus and then consistently remind ourselves of that focus throughout the day.

His writing is conversational and compelling. You'll come away with helpful, real-world advice on how to organize ourselves to achieve an authentic and meaningful life.

What system are you using to create and manage your authentic life?

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