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Book Review: 18 Minutes

Sam Bridegroom  |  Posted Sunday, February 23rd, 2014 at 11:09:05 AM

Image:Book Review: 18 Minutes18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done by Peter Bregman

Format I Used:  Kindle
Short Version Review:  A relatively quick read, with a lot of very practical tips for improving productivity. Recommended.

I first started reading Peter Bregman in the Harvard Business Review, where his contributions always seemed to resonate with me. In his book 18 Minutes, he provides a number of ways we as mere mortals can actually cut through a lot of the clutter in our lives so that we can focus on "the real work" that needs to happen. That "real work" can be something in either our personal or professional lives - because it all needs to be managed somehow.

I read this book about a year and a half ago, and found it to be engaging, enlightening and best of all, a pretty quick read. As I look back through it trying to remember what jumped out at me, it's quite evident that I'm due to re-read it.

The book presents time management concepts in an interesting and logical order, which are cumulative - meaning "once you've mastered this, you can move to the next step, which is...". The key concepts he presents:
  • Hover Above Your World - because it's hard to really see what's going on and what's important without looking at things from that 10,000 foot view.
  • Finding Your Focus - once that broad overview is recognized and understood, find the things that really need focus. This is a concept I see in many management/self-improvement books, but the presentation of it here is broken into a lot of sub-parts that make aligning it with the way that I often work (or perhaps should work)  much easier.
  • Getting The Right Things Done - This is always the hard part for me, getting the priorities right. The approach to managing To-Do lists (The Three-Day Rule) was a spin I'd not considered before - and need to adopt into my daily operation.
  • Mastering Distraction, Initiative and Yourself - in other words, really sharpening the time management skills so that we can defend ourselves against the many things that try to distract and rob us of the the control of our time. I'm seeing this in my daily work now - a lot of opportunities for various things to interfere with my priorities, much more so than I've had to contend with in the past.

Everything is presented in a real world, "this is how it has worked for me" kind of way. It's not preachy (as many of these books are), but rather a very conversational delivery of how using a framework with these concepts can change one's approach his work. There were a number of points that were very accurate of my own behaviors (unfortunately), so I've got some work to do to improve my methods.

As I re-read it, I'll update this review - because I know I've forgotten some things. It will be interesting just how far off the wagon I've fallen.

Available at Amazon (Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle),  Audible and also as an Apple iBook.

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