One of my all time favourite business books is ’18 Minutes’ by Peter Bregman.
The crux of the book is that time is irretrievable—once we’ve wasted time we’ll never get it back—and it gives a huge number of actionable ideas to make the most of our limited time on Planet Earth.
The book has four main parts…
Part 1 is simply called ‘PAUSE’ – I’ll explain why in a moment
Part 2 is about having the best year possible
Part 3 is about making every day better and
Part 4 is about overcoming distractions and making the most of every individual moment of your life.
I highly recommend you read the full book, and I don’t want to spoil it for you but here are some of my key highlights from the book.
As entrepreneurs we have a tendency to take on more and more projects, to hustle and to move as fast as possible. That’s great, until things start going wrong. Then we usually try going even faster to put things right!
Or maybe nothing’s going wrong – maybe we’re simply heading in the completely wrong direction and don’t even realise it?
So, Peter’s initial advice is to do the opposite – slow down or even completely stop.
Take time to think about where you are, where you’re headed, and what you need to do to get there. Great advice for busy entrepreneurs who are hustling like crazy!
There are so many books now on the subject of finding and maintaining your focus, but Bregman has some excellent and quite contrarian advice on the subject.
Like he says in the book, you can do anything – and become an expert at anything, as long as three specific conditions exist…
1) You want to achieve it.
2) You believe you can achieve it and most important of all
3) You ENJOY TRYING to achieve it.
This again is great advice. All of the things I’ve done successfully in my life so far are things that I WANTED to do, that I believed I COULD do, and Which I ENJOYED doing.
Following those three principles resulted in me becoming a multi-millionaire – so of course I recommend that if you CAN’T tick all three of those boxes then you may need to start making some changes to your workday.
Bregman makes the case that when you end up doing work you love, with people who are passionate about what they’re doing, then chances are you will not only succeed but also excel at it.
In a section titled ‘Assert Your Differences’ he suggests that you distinguish between tasks you do with other people, and tasks you do on your own—and then figure out how to spend ninety percent of your time doing things you love with other people, rather than on your own.
Now I’ve not heard anyone else say this before, at least not the way Bregman says it.
Again this resonated massively with me.
In 2013 I co-founded a number of businesses with a lifelong friend who has skills which are exactly opposite to – and therefore complement – mine.
Together we do things that — on our own — we probably wouldn’t have ever tried to attempt.
So if you’re currently working completely on your own, maybe consider partnering or somehow collaborating with someone you know well, even if just in a small way to start with.
This part of the book resonated with me the most.
I’ve had a few dark times in the past when I felt quite depressed, and looking back those were the times when I simply wasn’t challenging myself. I didn’t have any major goals that energised me.
I think it’s so important to be challenged and the book really drives this point home.
These days I’ve got some massive projects on the go. Some of them even scare me slightly.
However, what we see as large scary goals today, in future you will look back and see them as small, because you’ll have grown in relation to them.
If you look back on what you were five years ago – can you see that you’ve grown in terms of capabilities, experience and courage?
If not, grab a copy of this book and devour it like I did!