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

It seems only fitting that we kick off the year with a resolution-related book review, though we’re not talking dieting, exercise, or swearing off junk TV. It’s a book about time management. I know what you’re thinking--better time management is just applying common sense. If it’s so simple, though, why aren’t I better at it?

As a husband, father of two, full-time employee, and nursing student, it’s safe to say that time management ranks high on my list of priorities. But reading books about it? Not so much. Nevertheless, I received a copy of Peter’s Bregmans’ 18 Minutes some time back and somehow managed to make it through all 46 bite-sized chapters.

One of the many things I appreciate about 18 Minutes is its specificity. Eighteen minutes. Makes you curious, doesn’t it? Maybe skeptical. The Grapefruit Diet is specific, too. But this is specific in ways that are actually useful beyond preventing scurvy. And that’s a big part of what pulled me in.

Another thing I liked was the fact that this wasn’t simply a plan to help you cram more into your day. It went much deeper. Bregman pushes you to evaluate what’s really important in your life--really narrow it down--and make sure that your time and energies are directed toward those things.

A couple of my favorite chapters were later in the book: “Does Obama Wear a Pearl Necklace? Creating Productive Distractions” and “It’s Not the Skills We Actually Have That Matter: Getting Over Perfectionism.” Being prone to both distractions and perfectionism, they spoke to me. Great titles, too, eh?

I won’t spoil the significance of the 18 minutes, except to say that they add up to some useful disciplines. The great thing is that even without the 18 minutes, there are still enough valuable insights and strategies to make this book a worthwhile and engaging read. To me that says a lot about the author.

If I had to identify one shortcoming of the book, it’s that it seems geared toward white collar workers. Honestly, that seems to be the demographic most in need of help in this area, but I think the lessons are relevant to everyone. 18 Minutes is an entertaining, useful, and entertaining read. You couldn’t go wrong making it part of your New Year’s resolution.


JenC said...

Good review. I've been a little intrigued seeing it around but haven't gone through it. I'll have to pick your brain :)

Speed Weasel said...

Great review! It is interesting that we have similar backgrounds and this very notion of boil it down to what is really important was a major topic point in my pastor's last serman. Your description makes me want to add it to my 50 in 2012 project. I just may, and I'll send you a note when I get it up (may be a few months, as I have a good list ahead, but it's benefits may bump its position in line).