Peter Bregman writes for the Harvard Business Review and last week he was interviewed on ABC News where he shared his strategy for prioritizing and getting the right things done. 

Peter has written the book 18 Minutes: Find focus, Master Distraction, and Get The Right Things Done. OK… 18 minutes, how could a measly 18 minutes get you focused? Peter has a simple formula. Five minutes in the morning when you get your To Do list organized and schedule some of those items in your calendar with a specific time to accomplish them. Then at the end of the day you spend another five minutes to reflect on what went well and where you could improve… and I love this… show gratitude. Now that is only ten minutes… where do the other eight work in? Every hour take ONE minute to ask yourself… Am I working on what I need to? He sets his watch to go off every hour which will remind him of his commitments and priorities.

Now… let’s be honest. How often do you say "I don’t have time?" Imagine… how that could change when you get present to what you are doing every hour. I bet you will find that you aren’t working on what you need to! I have to admit… THAT is exactly what I realized. I was distracted… a lot! 

Here are some more take-aways for lawyers who are interested in gaining focus for your business development efforts.

1. Focus on follow through… He tells us that we probably don’t lack the motivation, what we lack is the follow through. Use the 18 minutes to focus on the things you need to do in order to follow through on the commitments in your 2012 Business Plan.

2. Learn to say NO… I love this one, as I have written before, is your time being hijacked? We often let others control our time with meaningless interruptions or pushing our buttons of obligations… YOU get to decide how you will spend your time and sometimes the assertion is NO!

3. Narrow your focus to five things… There is great merit in narrowing your focus. We minimize the distractions that get in the way of accomplishing what we have identified as our top priorities.

Black Pearl: Back in October I wrote about another one of Peter’s insights…. Find the one big theme for your 2012 efforts. It’s great insight to give an over all theme to your efforts. By the way… I finally figured out my big theme… adding structure and organization to my initiatives. What could yours be?