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

by Peter Bregman

Peter Bregman writes, “The world doesn’t reward perfection. It rewards productivity.”  18 Minutes is a book about choosing your priorities and getting things done.

The author suggests finding your focus based on your strengths, weaknesses, differences, and passions. “Assert your differences… Don’t waste your year trying to blend in… Understand your obsessions and you will understand your natural motivation.”

He then advises choosing “five areas that will make the most difference in your life.”  You should spend 95% of your time on things within these categories.  If miscellaneous things consume more than 5% of your time “it means you’re spending too much time on other people’s priorities, your frivolity and life maintenance, and not enough time on your priorities.”

Bregman addresses the fallacy of multi-tasking. “We don’t actually multitask. We switch-task. And it’s inefficient, unproductive, and sometimes even dangerous.”  He also advises against scheduling back-to-back meetings. “End meetings at least fifteen minutes before the hour and schedule that time to prepare for the next one. Maybe, then, we can keep that meeting to thirty minutes and have an extra fifteen minutes to go to the bathroom, answer email, or surf the Web. That would be more efficient than doing those things during the meeting.”

Bregman, Peter. 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done. New York: Business Plus, 2012. Buy from Amazon.com

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