Time To Get Things Done

Apr 14, 2014 1 Min Read



Most of us look back on the years that have gone by and wonder where they went. We often ask ourselves why we have not accomplished all that we had sought to do. More often than not, we start off our days knowing we are not going to get it all done.

Time – it is the only element in the world that cannot be retrieved once it is lost. When we lose time, it is lost forever. Newton’s first law of motion states that an object will keep on moving at a constant velocity until an outside force acts upon it. Actually, what is true for objects is also true for people.

We either continue moving along a path that isn’t very right, yet we fail to get ourselves off the path, or at times, we consciously choose the correct path, yet we keep getting knocked off-course.

We need to break these patterns if we want to be able to look back at our moments, our days, our years and feel good about what we have done.

We need to intentionally intervene and interrupt our own lives – to interrupt our inertia, our daily distractions and instinctive responses so that we do not look back at ask ourselves, “Where did that moment go?”, “Where did that day go?” or “Where did that year go?”

In 18 Minutes, Bregman seeks to provide a solution to such struggles, challenges and frustrations. This book gives a comprehensive approach to managing a year, a day, and a moment so that our lives are moving forward in a direction that keeps us focused on, and doing the things that we have decided are the most important. This is a critical first step towards reclaiming our lives.


Bregman writes the book in four parts. He starts off with Part 1 which he entitles Pause. In this section of the book, he shares with us some mindsets and habits that will help us position ourselves such that we will see possibilities that are otherwise beyond what we would notice. It helps you focus on the right things, translate those things into a daily plan, follow them through and master the unavoidable distractions that will come to undermine our efforts.

Part 2 is What Is This Year About? and it will guide you to organise your life around the things that matter to you: things that make you happy, use your gift and move you toward your goals in life. This section closes with the author helping you put things together to create your annual focus.

What Is This Day About? forms Part 3. Here, Bregman teaches you how to translate your annual focus into an 18-minute daily plan. Why is that necessary? It will help you get the right things done, have a productive, satisfying and a measurable step towards achieving your annual focus.

The final part, Part 4, What Is This Moment About? teaches you how to master and conquer distractions. You will discover here that sometimes, we need to use distractions, sometimes we need to avoid them.

Bregman draws the book to a conclusion by sharing with us an infallible method for gaining good momentum which will move and spur us toward the direction we want to go.

18 Minutes is not just another time management book. It doesn’t teach you how to get it all done. You will never get it all done. Instead, it teaches you to make smart, thoughtful decisions about what’s worth doing and what’s not. It teaches you to focus on the right things.

18 Minutes is like a FIND ME button on the Google Earth app on your iPhone. This is a book that will lead you to discover your most effective self, giving you a clear view of yourself and your environment.

Not only that, as though on the Google Earth app, it then provides you a map to guide you to get to where you want to go. Bregman puts it well when he says, “18 Minutes will home in on who you are and how you can best use your talents to achieve the things that will make you happy, productive, and successful”.

Read and apply 18 Minutes so that like many others, when the time comes at the end of life itself, you, too, will be able to say, “I used my time well”.

Part 1: Pause

Hover over above your world

It was in the midst of success that Bregman suddenly realised that he was missing the feeling of “I’m doing the right things with the right people in the right way to make the most of who I am”. He didn’t know why and was too busy to figure out why. So, he kept going on.

Until the day when everything crashed, including his business. At that point, Bregman realised he needed to reclaim his life. He slowed down his activity, engaged a reversed gear on his forward momentum, took a pause before making choices, took time off, and allowed his mind to wander. Bregman began to look more closely at himself, his life and his surroundings and began to discover a birth of potential within him.

He began to spend time on things that mattered to him, things he was good at, things he enjoyed. As he threw himself into the air and saw a bird’s eye view of himself, he unearthed a deep potential within himself.

And that’s the journey Bregman wants to take you on – the journey to tap the FIND ME button on your Google Earth app, pause, as you allow yourself to fly higher and hover above your world, and then, making preparations to land exactly where you want to be.

Slowing the spin

Reducing your forward momentum

It is hard to resist and control forward momentum. This is especially true when we have invested our time, energy, emotions, money in being right. But when you sensed you’ve made a mistake and you’ve pushed so hard and it will be embarrassing to back out, how does one backpedal?

Bregman suggests two strategies that help us to backpedal:-

1. Slow down – just stop pedaling so hard. As the momentum begins to lose force, gently start to change your direction. For example, if you are pushing hard in an argument and start to realise that you may be wrong, you should begin to argue your point less, and instead listen to the other side more. Listening is always the best antidote to forward momentum.

2. Start over – it is undeniable that our past affects our current decisions. It’s a mental game that requires humility. When we know that we are heading in a wrong direction, we need to be strong enough to admit it, stop and start over. It takes great strength of character to admit you are wrong or even begin to question your own perspectives.

Great leaders are those who have enough confidence to look critically at their own views and remain open to other people’s views. A great leader would slow down and start over, even when he knows he is right. Bregman suggests that we learn to reduce our forward momentum. It is a critical first step towards freeing yourself from the beliefs, habits, feelings and busyness that could be limiting you.


The incredible power of a brief pause

Bregman was playing the alligator man game with his seven-year-old daughter, chasing her in the pool, when all of a sudden, she gasps, hands in the air and yells, “PAUSE! I’ve swallowed water!” They stopped for her to catch her breath.

Often times, a brief pause is all we need to help us make the smarter next move.

Google has an added feature in Gmail called UNDO SEND, which one can now enable through Gmail Settings. Once you press SEND, Gmail holds the email for five seconds.

During this time, you can still stop it from being sent out. Here’s the interesting point – a five-second pause is all that majority of people need to realise they have made a mistake.

Here’s the challenge, in real time, whether it is in person or over the phone, there’s no such button. In real time, we need to avoid that unproductive SEND in the very first place. Perhaps, we should use those five seconds before we press SEND.

Remember that there is no rule that says we need to respond to something immediately. Take a deep breath, slow down, and delay your action. It has a direct calming effect on your brain. All it takes is a few seconds – to intentionally choose the direction we want to take.

Koh Earn Soo and his team take the best books and summarise them into shorter, readable content in the hope of inspiring people to read more and learn more. To read the rest of this summary and summaries of other bestsellers, subscribe to www.thebestbooksummary.com

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This article is published by the editors of Leaderonomics.com with the consent of the guest author. 

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