Quotes from 18 Minutes

I came across 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done a couple of days ago. I don’t know about you, but I do have problems of focus, getting things done, and distraction (loads of distraction).  So I decided to give it a try (after all 18 minutes a day is not much and even if it cures 10% of my ills, it is worth the investment in time to find out).

It is a pretty good book. There is a lot of  good advice on focus, distraction, priorities, planning. What I liked most, is a kind of philosophy about life and work.  Here are a few snippets to give you a sense.

  • Managing your life shouldn’t feel like a chore. And neither should reading a book about managing your life.
  • First, ask yourself what’s working: What about your daily work, your daily life, matters to you? Why are you doing it? What part of your life is a source of pride? What impact do you feel you’re having on people, ideas, or things that are important to you?
  • Next, ask yourself what’s neutral: What are you spending your time on that you don’t particularly care about? What doesn’t matter to you? What’s not important?
  • Finally, ask yourself what alienates you: What are you spending your time on—in work or in life—that contradicts what matters to you? What makes you feel bad? Untrue to yourself? What are you, even slightly, embarrassed about?
  • Are you working on something meaningful and challenging—something for which you have about a 50 percent chance of succeeding
  • Are you relating to other people at work or socially—people you like and to whom you feel close?
  • Do you feel recognized for the work you are doing—paid or unpaid? Can you influence decisions and outcomes?
  •  The secret to surviving a buffet is to eat fewer things. And the secret to thriving in your life is the same: Do fewer things.
  • To get the right things done, choosing what to ignore is as important as choosing where to focus.
  • If an organization could teach only one thing to its employees, what single thing would have the most impact? My answer was immediate and clear: Teach people how to learn. How to look at their past behavior, figure out what worked and repeat it, while admitting honestly what didn’t and changing it.
  • the hardest part about managing time isn’t the plan, it’s the day-by-day follow-through: getting started, sticking to your areas of focus, ignoring nonpriorities, and avoiding the allure of unproductive busyness.
  • to a larger extent than you probably realize, your environment dictates your actions.
  • Create an environment that naturally compels you to do the things you want to do.
  • Efficiency, it turns out, is the enemy of fun. And yet in the end, fun is so much more efficient than efficiency.
  • Everything I’ve seen confirms a simple rule: People do what they choose to do. And if something’s fun, they’ll choose to do it.
  • You can’t fake fun. Which means you have to go into your workday with a sense of amusement. It’s a lens through which you view the world.
  • Fun reduces our need to motivate ourselves because fun is motivating.
  • “It is not the skills we actually have that determine how we feel but the ones we think we have.” quoted from Flow

I am going to try a couple of things and see whether it helps.

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2 thoughts on “Quotes from 18 Minutes

  1. “Teach people how to learn” – Any genuine person who is interested in teaching will do only that. Life provides unlimited learning opportunities everyday. To recognise those and to get maximum out of it people need coaching.

    I liked the line ” Fun is much more efficient than efficiency”. We always tend to spend more time on things which make us feel better, generate feel good emotions.

    When people buy a new car or new house or whatever, what they really buy is the emotion that happens because of buying.

    The question to be asked is how we can help people to generate right emotions to improve their quality of life?

  2. Sivaraman,
    Thanks. “How can we help people have fun while studying or working” is a major challenge that requires a lot of work. But it is worthwhile cause to focus on. Even if we succeed a bit, we will improve the world quite a bit.

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