Based upon his weekly Harvard Business Review column (one of the most popular columns on HBR.com, receiving hundreds of thousands of unique page views a month), 18 Minutes clearly shows how busy people can cut through all the daily clutter and distractions and find a way to focus on those key items that are truly the top priorities in our lives.
"Really great system"
The things we want most - peace of mind, fulfilling relationships, to do well at work - are surprisingly straightforward to realize. But too often our best efforts to attain them are built on destructive habits that sabotage us. In Four Seconds, Peter Bregman shows us how to replace negative patterns with energy boosting and productive behaviors. To thrive in our fast-paced world all it takes is to pause for as few as four seconds.
"A wandering generality"
Reading is time-consuming. I was already over-busy before I started reading several books a week. And I am a slow reader. I tried the traditional shortcuts, but none of them worked. Reading the PR materials is insufficient for understanding a book, and executive summaries are awful. I have never read an executive summary that came close to conveying what’s interesting and useful about an author’s work.
How often do you get to the end of another long and frantic day and wonder why so many important things didn't get finished? We've never worked so hard and felt so unproductive and unfulfilled. 18 Minutes takes this challenge and turns it on its head. Peter Bregman, top Harvard Business Review columnist and global management consultant, shatters the myth of getting it all done by offering a clear and simple plan for getting the right things done.
I perused the restaurant menu for several minutes, struggling with indecision, each item tempting me in a different way.
Maybe I should order them all...
Is this a silly decision not deserving deliberation? Maybe. But I bet you’ve been there. If not about food, then about something else.
Accountability is not simply taking the blame when something goes wrong. It’s not a confession. Accountability is about delivering on a commitment. It’s responsibility to an outcome, not just a set of tasks. It’s taking initiative with thoughtful, strategic follow-through.
Robert and Howard had always gotten along well. They’d worked on several projects together and considered each other friends. So when Robert discovered that Howard held a strategy meeting and hadn’t included him, he felt betrayed. He immediately shot off a text to Howard: “I can’t believe you didn’t include me in that meeting!”
George*, a managing director at a large financial services firm, had an uncanny ability to move a roomful of people to his perspective. What George said was not always popular, but he was a master persuader.
When we were in college, Eleanor, then my girlfriend (now my wife), wanted me to take a Myers-Briggs type test, a personality assessment that would categorize me into one of 16 boxes, each box containing four letters that would explain me.
For many years - almost as long as he could remember - Ian* owned and ran a successful pub in his small town in Ireland. Ian was well-known around town. He had lots of friends, many of whom he saw when they came to eat and drink, and he was happy.
What do you do when you have a sticky problem that you’ve attempted to solve in every way possible and none of your solutions have worked?
"I was biking with my friends Eric and Adam, both far more skilled and experienced mountain bikers than I, on terrain that was slightly beyond my own skill. I thought I could do it.
If you want to be productive, the first question you need to ask yourself is: Who do I want to be? Another question is: Where do I want to go? Chances are that the answers to these questions represent growth in some direction. And while you can’t spend all your time pursuing those objectives, you definitely won’t get there if you don’t spend any of your time pursuing them.