Book Club: 18 Minutes — What Is Your Year About?

written by Roger Carr on June 14, 2014 in Book Club with no comments">no comments

We can be more focused, increase our productivity and further the positive difference we want to make just by taking breaks in a variety of ways. This was one of the key discussions in Part One of the book 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done that we are studying in this BT Book Club. If you missed the review on Part One of the book, you can catch it by clicking here.

Part Two of 18 Minutes provides advice on what we should do to improve our yearly perspective and planning.

yearly theme calendar

Photo Credit: photosteve101 via Compfight cc

Part Two Summary

For a fulfilling life, we need to limit our focus to only a few things. Otherwise we end up over‐committing our time and not spending enough time and energy on any one thing to do it well. Bregman says to focus on only five things for the year and commit to spending 95% of your time solely on those areas. These areas should be selected to make the biggest difference in your life.

How do you select those five areas?

  • Identify areas that matter to you.
  • Do what you love or want to try. By selecting things you are passionate about, you will stick with it even through the challenging periods of time.
  • Consider areas where you can “leverage your strengths, embrace your weaknesses, assert your differences, and pursue your passions.”
  • The areas should be meaningful and challenging. The challenge should be such that you have a 50–70% chance of succeeding.
  • The areas should also provide you some kind of recognition or give you some kind of influence. This will help keep you motivated to stick with it for the duration.

Bonus Material for Your Best Year

I initially heard about the book 18 Minutes from Beth Kanter. After reading the book and an article by Peter Bregman, What’s Your One Big Theme, she asked “What’s your year about?” It was a thought‐provoking question that prompted me to seek out an answer for myself after absorbing the book and article.

This year my theme is “Be More Effective.” This theme prompts me to ensure my methods are as effective as possible. This includes the need for breaks in a variety of ways as we discussed in Part One of 18 Minutes.

I encourage you to contemplate what your overarching theme for the year will be. Just the thinking you will do as you explore your theme will be well worth the time and effort.

My Aha Moments

Things I need to work on, things I want to try, and new ideas come to me as I read great books. The following are some random thoughts that came to mind as I read this section of the book:

  • Although I have a long‐term vision that is so big I don;t know how God is going to use me to make it happen, my goals do not have a 50% chance of failure. I am not challenging and stretching myself enough. I need to add more risk‐taking in some areas.
  • When I burned out, I definitely had more than five major areas I was pursuing. Reducing the areas of focus at that time would have provided me the margin I needed and the ability to do the fewer things much better than I was able to do.
  • When I selected areas to pursue in the past, I mostly considered my strengths and opportunities in the decision. I look forward to using the additional criteria. Especially embracing my quirks…
  • I like the concept of putting 95% of my time into the five focus areas. It is going to be a big challenge to make it happen. However, if I can do it I believe it will make a huge difference in the impact I have.


Now it’s your turn. Read Part Two of 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done.

What did you learn as you read the section? Is there something you don’t agree with? What will you be applying new in your life based on what your learned? Share your thoughts in the comment section by clicking here

Next Week

We will be discussing Part Three next week. The topic will be about how to get the right things done on a daily basis.

Enjoy your reading! I look forward to hearing from you.