Book Club: 18 Minutes — Pause

written by Roger Carr on June 7, 2014 in Book Club with no comments">no comments

The book we will be reading and discussing to initiate the BT Book Club this month is 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done by Peter Bregman. You can learn about Peter Bregman and his leadership resources at

pause for coffee

Photo credit: Vjeran Lisjak

18 Minutes is full of helpful information on being productive and being focused on the right things. Each chapter ends with a thought provoking idea or action to consider. It uses the power of many stories to illustrate every key point and to motivate action from the reader. Each of the four parts ends with a summary and a discussion of how the information can be used to change your life. The organization of the book makes it easy to know how to take the written words and benefit from them.

Each week we will discuss one of the four parts in the book. Today we are discussing Part One.

Part One Summary

Part one of 18 Minutes focuses on our need to implement pauses in our lives in several ways:

  • Slow down or start over when momentum is deciding your direction.
  • Breathe before acting to eliminate mistakes and poor choices.
  • Rest periodically for refueling and reflection.
  • Stop and ask different questions to truly see how the world and you are.
  • Interupt your limited definition of who you are and replace it with a definition that takes all of you into account.
  • Reflect on and pursue your full potential.
  • Pause to make a clear choice rather than react to a situation.

Building these pauses into our daily actions can create a better life for us, tear down limits we impose on ourselves, and result in us doing things beyond our current imagination.

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:

  • It only takes a tiny pause to make the choice between moving in the direction we want and spiraling out of control. It is amazing that something so small can have a huge impact.
  • Confirmation bias was probably the reason I wound up burned out without realizing it until much of the damage was already done. In the future, I need to ask myself “What changed?” and answer honestly instead of finding ways to justify everything is OK.
  • I just started a run‐walk program to lose weight and to condition myself to run in 5K and 10K charity events. My focus has been on running the entire race. I know the power of taking breaks when it comes to accomplishing work tasks and for better heath, but I had not considered the possibility of using a run‐walk technique that would improve my time in future races. Where else could this concept of taking breaks apply that I have not considered?
  • Why is our first question to people we meet, “What do you do?” What if we ask questions like “What do you enjoy doing?,” “What are you passionate about?,” and “What do you like doing with family and friends?” as a first question? Questions like these would show that we’re interested in them as a whole person, not just as a career person. If we did this, maybe others would start thinking of themselves as a roll up of all their roles rather than only a “career” person.


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

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 Two next week. The topic will be about how to have a yearly focus. I will also be sharing how I learned about 18 Minutes in that post.

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