Tuesday, January 6, 2015

18 Minutes? 4 Seconds? Just Do It!

     I saw an email earlier today. It was an announcement for a webinar from ExecuNet that had a phenomenal promise: 4 Seconds — All the Time You Need to Stop Counterproductive Habits and Get the Results You Want with Peter Bregman. It is to take place on Wednesday, January 07, 2015, 1:00-2:00 PM ET or as I am in Los Angeles, 10 - 11 am PT. Wow... 4 seconds. What could a curmudgeonly, prone to woe is me, fellow like me possible do in 4 seconds to "stop counterproductive habits and get the results" I want?
     How could I not sign up for this? 'Tis the season for resolution making after all.
     All I can think of is that Peter Bregman will be revealing some very special magic words, incantations that were revealed to him through some revelation, or perhaps he translated some hieroglyphic no one else has been able to decipher.  Maybe I would learn to babble in tongues for a mere 4 seconds and voila be transformed!
     4 seconds! Sounds incredible.
     Of course, I googled Peter Bregman. I should have already known about him. He is well educated with BA from Princeton and an MBA from Columbia. He runs an eponymic consulting firm, Bregman Partners, which specializes in advising CEOs. The webinar title is the same as his new book being released in February of 2015.  4 Seconds is his not his first book on time and time management. The first was published in 2012: 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done.
     Now mind you, I have read neither book and lord knows I could use every tip, trick, and lifestyle mindset perception, you name it, to help me find my focus, stop becoming the master of being distracted, and most certainly improve my ability to get the right things done, done well, under budget, and ahead of schedule. Given this long winded caveat, I am not afraid to jump into what the esteemed Mr. Bregman has written dedicated 560 pages to... without the benefit of having read anymore than the title of his two books.
Sidebar:  People buy self-help books with increasing frequency.   There is a clear need for helping people lead more healthy, productive, and loving lives.  Oddly, the percentage of folks who actually help themselves is probably constant.  These books have really excellent engaging and attractive titles.  We read these titles and taglines and think that forking over $30 for a book that will enable such great things is a mere pittance.  Too often the results are less than we crave.  Very often the messages in all of these books are the same (did someone say isomorphic?) and are simply repackaged and marketing in a different way.  
     Why 18 minutes and not, say, 20 or even 15 which is a natural increment our smart phone calendars easily deal with? If a non-standard number of minutes were to be chosen, I would have opted for 17 as I believe there is magic in them there prime numbers. OK, let's go with 18 minutes. Taking 18 minutes at the end of one day or the beginning of the next to establish ones focus and priorities for the next day is time well spent.  Every productivity self-help book will offer some version of this as a good thing to make habitual. If one is really busy with complicated tasks in a job laden with random events that require one's attention, maybe another 18 minutes can be allocated for regrouping at midday or mid-afternoon.
     Maybe 18 minutes can also be the amount of time allocated for distractions. Call your mom. Do a crossword. Check Facebook (though be forewarned, 18 minutes is like 1 second in the land of Facebook). Do whatever you want whenever, just don't used more than 18 minutes. In a ten hour work day, that is like 1.8 minutes per hour! Live it up. Enjoy.
     Let's look at the math here. The 18 minutes in the title of his first book is 1,080 seconds. The second book, and I remind you that I have read neither, is, kinda sorta, offering the same thing but in only 4 seconds. Wowsers. Talk about progress! Why read the first book when the second gets you in the same place in 96.73% less time! The Nobel folks need to consider this accomplishment.
     What can one do in 4 seconds? Here is a list of encouragements and admonishments that probably each take a second or less to say.
  • Just Do It! (the Nike classic) 
  • Snap out of it! (the Cher classic from the movie Moonstruck)
  • Hunker down!
  • Stop complaining!
  • I think I can. (the childhood classic from The Little Engine that Could)
  • Keep calm and carry on.
  • No pain, no gain.
  • You can do it! (from the movie Waterboy)
  • Put down that twinkie!
  • Don't stop believin'... (having Journeyed myself from the fictitious South Detroit)
     Add any number of others you can think of. Create your own list.  Have fun with it.
     Given your list, slap four them together as you see fit depending on your own needs. Record them and play them back on your smart phone, pad, or computer whenever you need that a 4 second jolt of focus and motivation. Record several. Record one in our own voice. Have your mother or wife record one. Have your surliest boss do a set... if you can talk him or her into it. Pay James Earl Jones to record a Darth Vader version. 
     Heck, if you can get the right phrase, you may need only 1 second.
     Ah, if it were only that easy.

No comments:

Post a Comment