I have just finished reading a terrific book called “18 Minutes” by Peter Bregman. This book is about how to find your focus, master distraction and get the right things done. This is a daily challenge for many entrepreneurs.
Peter Bregman is a consultant, a national speaker and he writes business columns for the Harvard Business Review, Forbes magazine and other publications. I would say that he has pretty much mastered this whole time management thing in his business. His focus each day is on getting the things done that will help him achieve his annual goals.
He has a lot of great suggestions and here are a few of them.
Finding Your Focus
In his book, Peter says you need to slow down your momentum; to hover above your world. Look around. See things as they really are, beyond what you expect things to be. Focus on your outcome and be open to extraordinary potential. This will help you to tap into resources and talents that you may have forgotten were there.
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?
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 more than three days. He believes they will just get in the way of what you really need to get done if you leave everything on your list, so they fall into one of these 4 categories after three days:
*Do it immediately
*Schedule it. Put it on your calendar and commit to doing it.
*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.
Creating A Daily Ritual In 18 Minutes
Step 1. Your Morning Minutes. (5 Minutes)
Decide what will make this day highly successful. What can you realistically accomplish? Begin your day with this exercise.
Step 2. Refocus. (1 Minute For Every Hour – 8 minutes)
Set your phone, watch or computer to ring every hour and start the work that is listed on your calendar. Manage your day hour by hour.
Step 3. Your Evening Minutes. (5 Minutes)
At the end of the day, take 5 minutes and review how your day went. Is there anyone you need to update with a call or an email before you finish this day? And finally, ask yourself how did I do? How can I make tomorrow better?
Peter says that by 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.
Mastering Distraction. What is this moment about?
Peter has some good tips for mastering distraction, holding on to your boundaries and saying no convincingly. As he points out, sometimes we get in our own way such as 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.
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 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. Choose it and do it. When you have mastered your one thing, then choose another one. Rinse and repeat as some folks say.