Review of 18 Minutes and Interview by CareerBright

Yes Mr Bregman, count me in the plan, I want to achieve all that you say in your book title here. Find your Focus Master Distraction and get the Right Things Done.

This book inspires you to:

  • Focus on the things most important and high up on your priority – and note that you list for the year could be as short as only 5 things you want to get done well.
  • Replace the typical “To-Do List” with a focus list and an ignore list.
  • Identify the four elements – your strengths, weaknesses, uniqueness, and passions – that form the foundation of your success and happiness and time well spent.

Sharing from his own life’s experiences, Peter Bregman does a good job in his book (18 MINUTES – Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done) as it almost represents our own day-to-day life story; written in an impeccable style which has you nodding in agreement and at the same time cringing on “that’s what I do; must change”.

A recommended must read to increase efficiency and get rid of our routine unproductive distractions. This is one of those books which is not going to my book shelf, it would be on or around my work table for long – until I learn well how to have a clear focus, avoid distractions and get done what means most to me.

And here are some brilliant insights from Harvard Business Review columnist and business consultant Peter Bregman, the author of 18 MINUTES: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done which will help you make a decision on when you’re getting this book to super charge your productivity and add success and satisfaction in whatever you do in life.

  • Distraction is, in fact, the same thing as focus. To distract yourself from X you need to focus on Y.
  • So often we scramble to get a lot accomplished in a day, and success – only to realize, in retrospect, that those things we accomplished won’t get us where we want to go. It’s not a lack of effort. It’s lack of direction and focus.
  • You can change your success by changing your mindset. A growth mindset is the secret to maximizing potential.
  • The secret to surviving a buffet us to eat fewer things and the secret to thriving in our life is same:  Do fewer things.
  • Just 18 minutes a day can save you hours of inefficiency. The trick is to choose your focus deliberately and wisely, and then consistently remind yourself of that focus throughout the day.
  • The world doesn’t reward perfection, it rewards productivity.

Peter Bregman says “A good story – one you feel deeply about and I which you see yourself – tremendously motivating.” That’s exactly how the book flows, weaving stories from his experiences and those who he has observed. We can all relate to the incidents and that’s what makes the book an interesting and simple-to-connect-to read.

At times our lives go on too fast, too fast for us to catch on and we feel like living weekend to weekend doing work that is work but not completely satisfying or life fulfilling. If you’re at such a crossroad or just zooming past on the highway, this book could be your rest area stop, a few hours to pause and reflect on how you can make your career more satisfying or just making the current processes and task efficient and streamlined.

We all want to achieve something in life, we want and value success, but don’t often achieve it. To pause and question WHY and then change what we aren’t doing right is the way to happiness. Overcoming distractions and finding the right focus is the very first step.

Get your copy of 18 MINUTES: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done on Amazon.

And don’t forget to stretch your neck now and then as you read through this … since chances are that you’ll be nodding all your way through or be reading the whole book in a go!


In an interview with Careerbright Peter Bregman brings to light how his ideas on productivity can bring efficiency and improvement in our ‘distraction-overflow’ world and when dealing with today’s tough economic situation.

Q. Welcome Peter! Congratulations on your book! Enjoyed reading it and trying my best to master distractions to find the stealth focus I need to get my tasks done. It’s imperative in our “socially” distracting world to plan on the tasks but witnessing time slipping by to the point of not meeting the deadlines.

What tips can you share with us that can help us manage the time spent on social media which is a major distracting force from getting things done?


 Social media can wreak havoc on a day. It’s so tempting to just “check in” and see what people are posting or to post yourself. My best advice is to cordon off specific time in the day or evening where you allot yourself “social media time.“  Choose the amount of time that works for you and put it in your calendar.  So for example, you might decide that you will check sites from 12:00 – 12:30. Outside those times, you let your social media continue flowing without your involvement. That’s how I handle email and it’s saved me a tremendous amount of time. I process it in batches – 30 minutes here and there – rather than answering it as it comes in.


Q. How do you see this principle being applied to organizations and especially the many start-ups these days with a lot to achieve in the short time they have for product launch or “fear” of competition?


18 Minutes is specifically geared towards people who have more to do than they have time for. And, these days, who doesn’t?

Part of the problem with time management books is that they aim to help us get it all done. But we can’t possibly get it all done – there’s too much to do. And it’s dangerous to try because the wrong things – the things that are most important to us – will fall through the cracks.  Anyone working in an organization – especially a tiny start up – knows that their competitive advantage is on spending high leverage time – where each minute produces real strategic value.


Q. Nobody’s ready to slow down, though we all want to! What’s the best approach to tackle our lengthy to-do list and not feel overwhelmed with all that’s on our plate?


Cut down the to do list! 

At the beginning of a year, I decide on 5 areas that I most want to focus on. My areas include things like “Speak and write about my ideas,” “Do great work for my current clients,” and “Nurture myself and my family.” And I make sure that the work I do in each of these areas places me in my sweet spot:  at the intersection of my strengths, weaknesses, passions, and differences, so that I can’t help but succeed and feel fulfilled.

Then, I use a Six Box To Do List (You can download a template Each of my top 5 areas of focus gets a box. The 6th box is for “the other 5 percent.” I write each of my to do’s in the appropriate box.  Anything that doesn’t fit in my top 5 gets relegated to 5% of my time. Many things are left undone, but I know that the most important things – the ones that are in my top 5 boxes, are my priority. And each day brings me one day closer to what I want to get done in a year.


Q. With the slow economy it is taking more time than ever for many to get back to the workforce. Looking for a job is a full time job and not to mention highly stressful and time consuming. What tips would you share with those in job search in finding focus to achieve conducive results?


This is a terrible time for many people and my heart goes out to them. My best advice?Don’t spend all your time looking for a job. Spend one or two hours at most. It should be one of your boxes, not all 5. The other four should involve things you love doing with other people. In this economy, spending all day looking for a job won’t help you find one any faster and will leave you depressed and devoid of energy. If, instead, you spend a few hours looking and the rest of your time doing things you love with other people, you’ll be more energized, have more interesting things to talk about when you eventually get a job interview, and a far more attractive candidate to an employer. Most jobs come through referral so who knows? You might even end up getting a job from someone with whom you’re doing the things you love.

18 MINUTES:  Find your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done (September 28, 2011; Business Plus) by Harvard Business Review online columnist Peter Bregman.

Get your copy on Amazon.

– Originally published at