What can you do in 18 minutes?

Get your mind out of the gutter! I don’t mean that! I’m talking about a nonfiction book I read last week.

18minutes18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done
by Peter Bregman was the Kindle Daily Deal one day for $1.99. Finding focus and dealing with distractions are both challenges for me, so I figured what the heck?

There are some pretty good ideas in this book, some of which I’ll put to use right away, others I’ve already been doing. The 18 minutes in the title refers to spending five minutes at the beginning of the day planning what you’re going to do (I already do this), and five minutes at the end of the day going over what you did and are going to do the next day (I do this, too). The other eight minutes are a new concept to me, however. The idea is, once an hour, pause for a minute and take stock of your day. Are you being the person you want to be? Are you focusing on areas that you want to? I’m assuming he only has allowed for eight of these pauses because this book is mostly focused on business (although it does touch on personal life and relationships, too). But I found it an interesting concept.

Another concept I found interesting was that, while most time management books tend to focus on getting all the stuff on your to-do list done, this one instead tells us that we try to do too much – more than anyone can reasonably do in a day – and that we should instead choose five or so areas in our life we want to focus on, and build our to-do lists around those to the extent we can (while acknowledging that there are going to be things we simply have to do).  And get rid of the rest. This is also something I’ve been trying to work on this past year, although I hadn’t thought about it this clearly. It’s why I always put off marketing and promo activities – I simply hate them, and don’t want to do it. The time I accidentally wiped out my to-do list was almost a relief, because I remembered the really important stuff, but most of the marketing stuff simply went away. And I decided I was OK with that, even if it meant I sell fewer books. Because I also decided that I’d rather have fun with my writing than let it become focused on sales, and something I dread.

ROW80Logo175ROW80 is something that can be whatever we want, and for me it’s fun! So here’s how I did this week:

  • Skim/read three chapters in research book – Nope.
  • 1500 words on new ms – Yes!
  • 4 workouts – Yes!

I am just going to shelve the research for now, since it’s not turning out to be very interesting, it’s for a different story than the one I’m working on right now, and I want to focus on that. So I’m raising the bar on wordcount this week, but I again have things going on several evenings, so not too much:

  • 2000 words on new ms
  • 4 workouts

What about you? Found any tips for managing the to-do list lately? Whether or not you did, and whether or not you’re doing ROW80, how did your week go? Please share – I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

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