Libro 26/52: 18 Minutes by Peter Bregman

Screen shot 2013-07-29 at 9.53.50 PM

Ever have Dawn-til-Dusk Days?

No, I’m not referring to vampires here.


Days when you are running non-stop, 100 miles per hour from morning til night?

You are the non-cartoon, business version of the Tazmanian Devil.


Firing off emails.

Attending meetings.

Multi-tasking (during those meetings.)

Wooing prospects.

Texting while driving.

Banging out proposals.

Chugging coffee.

Firing off more emails….


You are making things happen.


The day starts and the day ends.

You’ve done a ton of stuff.


But then you examine what really happened… and you’re not certain the most important issues were addressed or advanced.


Plenty of movement, to be sure.

As to the amount of action?



Peter Bregman’s book, 18 Minutes, is a book to help you avoid feeling like that.

At least not as often as you do now.



The subtitle of 18 Minutes is Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done. I implemented several of his suggestions this past week. They work.


Sure – it’s only been one week, but I think I’ll be able to stick with Bregman’s suggestions because they are simple. They make intuitive sense. After reading David Allen’s popular, Getting Things Done, I struggled with his suggestions. There was an awful lot going on.


Mainly folders.

And sub-folders.

And maybe even folders for the other folders?


Too much.


I’m confused easily and the various elements in his program seemed like more effort than it was worth. I tapped out after 8 weeks.


Bregman’s approach is different.

He starts off by saying you’re not going to get everything done.


You’re not and you won’t.


Accept it.


Now… let’s focus on what truly matters and develop habits that help us avoid the everyday BS dragging us down.


Questionable meetings.

Meetings to prep for other meetings.

Checking email 16x each day.

Things like that….


One technique that saved me a few hours last week is the Beep. Bregman encourages readers to set 8 (8 of the 18 minutes referred to in the title) alarms during the day – a beep at the end of every hour.


When the beep goes off, ask these questions:

1. Am I doing what I most need to be doing right now?

2. Am I being who I most want to be right now?


“At first it seemed counterintuitive to interrupt myself each hour. Aren’t interruptions precisely what we’re trying to avoid? But these one-minute-an-hour interruptions are productive interruptions. They bring us back to doing what, and being who, will make this a successful day.

This isn’t all about staying on plan. Sometimes the beep will ring and I’ll realize that, while I’ve strayed from my calendar, whatever it is I’m working on is what I most need to be doing. In those situations I simply shift items on my calendar so my most important priorities still get done and I make intentional choices about what I will leave undone.”


This past week I set 8 alarms on my iPhone and tried out the Beep.


On multiple occasions I found myself completing work that needed to be done, but it wasn’t work that needed to be done immediately to help me accomplish my primary goals for the week. 

Screen shot 2013-07-21 at 10.17.28 PM


Bregman has gone to the Seth Godin-Dan Pink-Heath Bros. school of writing.

Good company, to be sure.


The hallmarks of this writing style are chapter-leading short stories, frequent self-deprecation, short chapters (5 pages or less) and detailed summaries. The pace of 18 is brisk. It’s an easy read.


Bottom Line: This book will pay for itself in 20 minutes. Even if you don’t like to read, you like being productive. Try before you buy via Peter Bregman’s fantastic blog. Bregman also contributes regularly to the Harvard Business Review and NPR.



Bradley Hartmann is El Presidente at Red Angle ( He’s reading 52 books this year. He’s trailing by 4 books at the moment. Plenty of time left….

Screen shot 2013-07-21 at 10.16.28 PM


LIBRO 52 Challenge YTD

1. Kennedy/Nixon by Chris Matthews

2. Poke the Box by Seth Godin

3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 

NA. Buy-In by John Kotter and Lorne Whitehead

4. Education of an Accidental CEO by David Novak

5. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

6. Blood, Brains and Beer by David Ogilvy

7. Lyndon Johnson :: Master of the Senate by Robert Caro

8. 1776 by David McCullough

9. To Sell Is Human by Dan Pink

NA. Profiles In Courage by JFK*

10. Write It When I’m Gone by Tom DeFrank

11. FDR by Jean Edward Smith

12. The Cluetrain Manifesto by Locke, Searls, Weinberger + Levine

13. One Click by Richard Brandt

14. Persuasive Presentations by Nancy Duarte

NA. James K. Polk by Walter Borneman

15. The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw

16. The Illustrious Dead by Stephan Talty

17. The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk

18. Adventures of Johnny Bunko by Dan Pink

19. Thunderstruck by Erik Larson

20. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

21. Ctrl Alt Delete by Mitch Joel

22. Down & Dirty Pictures by Peter Biskind

23. Makers by Chris Anderson

24. Tales from Q School by John Feinstein

25. The Business of Belief by Tom Asacker

26. 18 Minutes by Peter Bregman

Categories: Libro 52 Challenge

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

13 replies


  1. Libro 27/52: Drive by Dan Pink « the red angle
  2. Libro 28/52 :: Enough by John Bogle « the red angle
  3. Libro 29/52 :: Contagious by Jonah Berger « the red angle
  4. Libro 30/52 :: Lexicon by Max Barry « the red angle
  5. Libro 31 + 32/52 :: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman + A Very Short Tour of the Mind by Michael Corballis « the red angle
  6. Libro 33/52 :: The No Asshole Rule by Robert Sutton « the red angle
  7. Libro 34 + 35/52 :: Choose Yourself by James Altucher + The Halo Effect by Phil Rosenzwieg. « the red angle
  8. Libro 36/52 :: Inside The Box by Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg. « the red angle
  9. Libro 37 + 38/52 :: The Power of Less by Leo Babauta + Wild by Cheryl Strayed « the red angle
  10. Libro 39/52 :: Big Data by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger and Kenneth Cukier. « the red angle
  11. Libro 42/52 :: Black Irish by Stephan Talty « the red angle
  12. Libro 43/52 :: The Firm by Duff McDonald « the red angle
  13. Libros 44-50 :: The final chapter of the Libro 52* Challenge. « the red angle

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: