How to Make 2013 a Great Year: Your Guide to a More Productive Life

18MinutesI always enjoy the sense of possibility that comes with an approaching New Year.  Fueled by holiday beverages, and reflected in a roaring fire, I see a more interesting and productive year on the horizon.  Can you see it too?

We all want to live exceptional lives, and most of us know that we must have the discipline to set priorities in order to do this.

But how can we make the thoughts more than just aspirations?  I have a suggestion for you, 18 Minutes by Peter Bregman.

Peter is a blogger for Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, and Forbes magazines.  He provides commentary for CNN, is a frequent guest on public radio, and speaks worldwide on how people can live, work, and lead more powerfully.  He works full-time on helping other people be more productive.

Here are some of Peter’s ideas that I find inspirational as I sketch out what will be better about 2013:

On slowing down the momentum of modern life
Reducing your forward momentum is the first step to freeing yourself from the beliefs, habits, feelings, and busyness that may be limiting you.

On recognizing your own potential
Knowing what outcome you want will enable you to focus on what matters and escape the whirlwind of activity that too often leads nowhere fast.

Leveraging your strengths
Over the coming year, play the game that is perfectly suited to your strengths.

Avoiding surrender after the inevitable failures
It’s critical to recognize to what extent you have a fixed mind-set versus a growth mindset.  This concept is explored in-depth by Dr. Carol Dweck, a professor at Stanford and author of Mindset.  We all have a little bit of both, what matters is that you recognize when you are giving up, and that you keep pushing.  Failure is inevitable, useful, and educational.  Just don’t give up – stay focused over the year – and it will pay off.

On setting goals
Focus your year on the five areas that will make the most difference in your life.

On deciding what to do and what not to do
To get the right things done, choosing what to ignore is as important as choosing where to focus.

To-do Lists
Never leave things on your to-do list for more than three days.  They’ll just get in the way of what you really need to get done.  If I took this one literally I’m sure I would be divorced and out of business by the end of the year.  But I think Peter is making a good point about priorities.

The title of his book refers to Peter’s suggestion that you carve out 18 minutes of each day to use for managing the other 1422 minutes.  5 minutes in the morning for planning your day – deciding what will make this day highly successful.  Then, take 1 minute every hour of the working day, to refocus by reflecting on the hour that just passed – making sure it’s consistent with your plan from the earlier 5 minute session.

Then, at the end of the day, another 5 minutes session to ask yourself how the day went.

Overall, this is probably the best personal productivity book I’ve ever read.  I‘ve recommended this book to association executives, and I’m grateful to our Chief Operating Officer Kathleen Savitz for giving it to me in 2012.  Kathleen knows how to plan and get things done.  Hopefully we can all get a little more done this year.  Here’s to a great 2013!

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2 Responses to How to Make 2013 a Great Year: Your Guide to a More Productive Life

  1. Anne Collier says:

    Hi John,
    The book sounds great! I can’t wait to read it and recommend it to clients!

    Happy New Year!

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