18 Minutes

18 Minutes Book Review – Finding Your Focus

There is a great little book out there by Peter Bregman called “18 Minutes; Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done”. I read this book some time ago. When I came across the book again recently, I thought it was a good time to revisit it. “18 Minutes” is a book about how to find your focus, master distraction, so that you get the right things done. As we all know, getting the right things done can be a daily challenge for many entrepreneurs.


So Who is Peter Bregman?

18 Minutes Book CoverPeter Bregman is a consultant, a national speaker, and he writes business columns for the Harvard Business Review, Forbes magazine, and other publications. He has definitely mastered time management in his own business. It's easy to see that his focus each day is on getting the things done that will help him achieve his annual goals.

Peter has a lot of great suggestions in his book, and here are just a few of them.

1. Finding Your Focus

In his book, Peter says you need to slow down your momentum; hover above your world and look around. See things as they really are, beyond what you expect things to be, while also focusing on your outcome. This is an extraordinary way to look at things. One other tip he has is to be open to extraordinary potential. How many times does our mindset limit our potential? We are all capable of that. These things will help you to tap into resources and talents that you may have forgotten were there.

Next, ask yourself, what is this year about? What do you want to create? Are there things that are no longer working that you need to let go of?


2. The Three Day Rule; Getting the Right Things Done

Peter has a “three-day rule” for getting things off your to-do list. Nothing stays on the list for more than three days. The author believes they will just get in the way of what you really need to get done if you leave everything on your list.

Everything falls into one of these 4 categories after three days:

  • Do it immediately
  • Schedule it.  Put it on your calendar and commit to doing it so that things actually get done.
  • Let it go if it is not enough of a priority.
  • If you simply cannot do that (let it go), then he has a “someday/maybe list” that he looks at monthly. ( I have to admit that I have one of these lists.) Peter says he sleeps a little better knowing that these things are actually on a list somewhere, even if he probably will never do a lot of them. Eventually, the ones that are no longer relevant will get deleted. Some of those projects may ultimately go on your priority list next year.

The real point he is making is that they come off your to-do list. You don’t get weighed down by things that are not your priority now.


3. Creating A Daily Ritual In 18 Minutes

Step 1. Your Morning Minutes. (5 Minutes)  Decide what will make this day highly successful. Ask yourself what can you realistically accomplish today. Begin your day with this exercise.

Step 2. Refocus. (8 minutes – 1 Minute For Every Hour )  Set an alarm to ring every hour and start the work that is listed on your calendar. Manage your day hour by hour in order to maintain your laser focus.

Step 3. Your Evening Minutes. (5 Minutes)  At the end of the day, take 5 minutes and review how your day went, and decide if there are any final things you can take care of. Is there anyone you need to update with a call or an email before you finish this day? Also, ask yourself how did I do? How can I make tomorrow better? And finally, take a few minutes and plan tomorrow.

Taking these 18 minutes a day you can save yourself hours of inefficiency, and it will help you to choose your focus throughout the day.


4. Mastering Distraction. What is This Moment About?

Peter has some good tips for mastering distraction, for holding on to your boundaries (we all need boundaries), and saying no convincingly.  It's often hard to say no even though we know we should.

As he points out, sometimes we get in our own way like when we procrastinate. We let other things take the place of that important job we have avoided tackling. And since he is very human, he also shares some of his “slip-ups” in his own life.


5. Choosing Your “One Thing”

After reading this book, you will probably have a lot of great ideas about what you should do differently whether it is structuring your to-do list around your annual goals and focus or stopping every hour to take a breath and refocus. Whatever it is, choose the one thing that you think will make the biggest difference in your life so that you see positive change year after year. Choose your “one thing” and do it. When you have mastered “your one thing”, then choose another one. Rinse and repeat as some folks say.


Wrapping Up…

I would love to know what you do to help maintain your focus throughout the day. For those of you that have small children, if you have some secrets to share, I would love to hear those, and I'm sure other parents would love to hear those also.


Love Books?

I know I do. Check out another one of my favorites, “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero BY CLICKING HERE.  It's a good one!


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This blog which was originally published in January of 2012 has been updated.





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