Is time on your side?

Photo courtesy of fwdthought via stock.xchng

It’s not always easy to blog. I admit this unabashedly! I love to write, and I love words, grammar, and proper punctuation, but that’s not always (or ever) enough. There are two familiar culprits when it comes to blogging inability: the first is writer’s block, and the second is time (or lack thereof).

Writer’s block knows no strangers, and sometimes it’s hard to keep my idea-tree full of ripe fruit. I mentally compare blogging to chatting with a friend so when I have a topic block, I imaginarily (I just made up that word, and I like it) stage a conversation with a friend and try to pinpoint what I’ve done or seen (or heard of, or read) that warrants sharing. This is tried-and-true for me; I can rely on this method 99% of the time to shake off the brain-block. Lack of time, however, is not as easily remedied. After all, one can’t add hours to the day and priorities can’t always be rearranged. Is there a solution?

I’ve said it time and again – my life method is simple, and consists of only two steps: identifying the problem and finding a solution. Google is helpful but it’s easy to get bogged down by the timesuck (yes, I made that up too) that is the world wide web. In this case, the thing I want to share is the thing that boosted me over the no-time excuse, and it’s called 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done by Peter Bregman.

Why am I sharing this book? I’m a gobbly, voracious reader but not really the reviewing type. 18 Minutes contains such great tips and qualities that I just HAD to share, because if even one other person finds it helpful then I’ve done my part. Bregman writes a column for the Harvard Business Review and in 18 Minutes, he’s taken the advice from his columns and turned it into a book for people who feel there are never enough hours in the day. Read Bregman’s opening paragraph, and tell me this doesn’t sound familiar: “Yesterday started with the best of intentions. I walked into my office in the morning with a vague sense of what I wanted to accomplish. Then I sat down, turned on my computer, and checked my email. Two hours later, after fighting several fires, solving other people’s problems, and dealing with whatever happened to be thrown at me through my computer and phone, I could hardly remember what I had set out to accomplish when I first turned on my computer. I’d been ambushed. And I know better.”

I know, I know – there are about nine bajillion other books on time management, so what’s the difference here? Bregman helps narrow the reader’s view of themselves to pinpoint goals, and then he offers easy-to-read, straightforward advice on focusing priorities to make these goals attainable. His prose is witty, helpful, and perhaps best of all, easily implemented. Each chapter is short and stands alone as easily as it integrates into the book as a whole; so, even if you only have five minutes a day and have to squeeze in one chapter at a time, I guarantee you’ll take something from that chapter that will have a positive effect on either personal or career goals. By book’s end, you’ll be able to set plans, refocus when things slip by, and review your time spent and results. Not too shabby, eh?

18 Minutes is available for Nook and Kindle, as well as in print edition. Check it out and let me know what you think!

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