How often do you get to the end of another long and hectic day and wonder why so many important things didn’t get done? We’ve never worked so hard and felt so unfulfilled. ’18 Minutes’ by Peter Bregman shatters the myth that you can get it all done and instead provides solutions to the issues we face every day. Embrace 5 time management solutions from this book.
LESSON 1: Imperfect Is Better Than Perfect
According to the world database of happiness, Iceland is the happiest place on earth. Why is this so? Eric Weiner, author of ‘The Geography of Bliss’ travelled to Iceland to find out. After interviewing numerous Icelanders he discovered that their culture doesn’t stigmatize failure. Maybe that’s why Iceland has proportionately more artists than any other nation in the world. Weiner says there’s no one on the island telling them they’re not good enough. So they just go ahead and sing and paint and write. This makes them insanely productive. According to Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi, a Hungarian psychologist ‘it’s not the skills we actually have that determine how we feel but the ones we think we have.’
So what does all this mean? If you think you’re good at something whether or not you are you, you will do it. If you think you aren’t good at something then you won’t be able to do it. Want to learn playing the guitar? Then pick one up and start strumming it like a madman. Try that even if you play the most awful repugnant and unappetizing tune that you’ve ever played in your life. You want to complete that history essay? Then open Microsoft Word and write the crappiest thing you’ve ever written in your life. Get writing, you’ll be miles ahead of the perfectionist that sat there and worried about making things perfect and got absolutely nothing done. The world rewards productivity not perfection.
LESSON 2: Decide When and Where
We’ve all been there on a hang out with our mates. Jimmy asks “Are you guys hungry?” and Eddie replies “I don’t know. What about you?” “Yeah a little. What should we get to eat ?” you replied. Eddie says “I’m not fussed.” You ask “Maccas? KFC?” He replies “Doesn’t bother me.” and the cycle goes on and on. Before you know it, it’s been one whole hour until finally Dillon steps in and says “Right we’re going to KFC now. Hop in the car or you’ll miss out.” Dillon decided when and where and as so everyone finally got around to eating dinner. Too often we say we’ll write that book, catch up with that friend or go for a run. However If we don’t decide when and where we’ll do it, it rarely gets done and a lot of time is wasted.
LESSON 3: What Not To Do
It’s just as important as what you need to do. Your to-do list may contain three items, for example 1. read for 30 minutes 2. exercise for sixty minutes and 3. spend time with your family for 90 minutes. However your ability to complete these tasks can be interrupted by distractions. You could be halfway through your reading session and then your friend rings to spend the odds. Before you know it, 60 minutes have passed and you haven’t finished your reading yet. To eliminate such distraction you could have a not to-do list that says thing like turn off your phone when reading.
LESSON 4: Create An Environment That Compels You To Do What You Want
Here’s a fable for you. The lion that sat royally on a rock at the top of the hill day in day out for all the park visitors to see. It turns out the rock on which the lion sat was temperature controlled as it was warm on cold days and cool on hot days. There was no need to train the lion or to tie him to the rock. The people thought that he liked the view by just making the rock a place where he wants to sit.
The real-life equivalent of this fable is installing a fan in your office during the summer and a heater during the winter. Who wants to work in 40 degree heat and get creative? Maybe running with a group will make it more fun than exercising alone. Maybe you could work on your laptop at the local park rather than inside.
LESSON 5: The 18-Minute Plan
Bregman claims just 18 minutes a day can save you hours of inefficiency. The trick is to choose your focus deliberately and wisely and then consistently remind yourself of that focus throughout the day. Here’s an 18 minute ritual to do just that.
Step 1: Take 5 minutes in the morning to decide what tasks will make your day successful. Schedule these tasks into your calendar.
Step 2: Refocus one minute every hour. Set your phone to buzz every hour. When you hear it take a deep breath and ask yourself whether you spent your last hour productively.
Step 3: Take five minutes in the evening to review your day and analyse how it went.
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Image credits- Google Images.
Also published on Medium.