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3 Valuable Attention Management Tips For A More Productive Day

With so many distractions in the day of 24/7 media, social media, and the internet, attention management is crucial for getting things done.

What has got you hooked that you are so distracted? Maybe you need some mindful attention management in place.

If you are like most people, you plan your day based on your “To-Do List”. You probably even time block it. However, this plan gets hijacked the moment you open your mailbox.

When your day ends, you find that you were busy all the time, but you did not address what you had planned! Your attention was claimed by things that came up at that moment.

Attention management is the biggest leadership challenge today!

The ability to manage the distractions around us, stay productive, and deliver quality results is the difference between super performers and average ones.

What makes attention management a challenge?

There is too much of external stimulus actively drawing us, on our mobile devices itself via –

  • The alerts for – breaking news,
  • Tweets regarding opinions on breaking news,
  • Friend’s holiday pictures,
  • New emails received,
  • SMS/WhatsApp/slack notifications, etc.

Studies show that human attention gets disturbed every 3 minutes, and approximately half the time, we disturb ourselves.

Add to this the hybrid work environment where ~ 40% of the time, we share space with our family during our work hours, and our distractions multiply. Our focus is divided between the antics of your children, the capers of your dog, the doorbell, the home phone, and much more in addition to our work.

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This onslaught on our brain puts pressure on its processing capacity. Try listening when people cross-talk in meetings!

Can you achieve something worthwhile with this level of intrusion?

How to manage attention –

Dr. Maura Thomas shares the following tips –

Control your environment – Your environment is where you work. How do you need your environment so that you can be most productive? What can you do to control it? Do you need a quiet corner, music, a standing desk, headphones, a do not disturb sign, blocks of time in your calendar to do deep work? How do you let people know that you need to be focused and don’t want to be disturbed? Explicitly setting boundaries is a critical piece of controlling your environment.

Control technology – Most technology applications are designed to keep us hooked. We need to use technology in a way that serves us, instead of holding us hostage. And it is difficult because technology is a distraction, but it is also a tool to manage our work.

Here are some steps that can help –

  • Eliminate push notifications and keep your phone silent when it’s time to focus on work.
  • Log off from your email and communicators.
  • Close programs, windows, and applications that you are not working on, on your computer. You can use apps that block distracting websites or apps during certain hours.

Control behavior – Believe that you are in control over how you respond to the stimulus and control your behavior and thoughts. For example –

  •  Focus on one thing at a time,
  • Take frequent breaks during the day,
  • Unplug from your devices at least for an hour every day,
  • Actively choose the projects and people who are your priority and prioritize them,
  • Decide what you will not do during the day,
  • Note when your mind is wandering off and gently bring it back to what you want to focus on
  • Note down the thought or important task that surfaced in your mind and give it a parking lot, so you can get to it later.
  • Know when you have maximum energy during the day and plan your work accordingly.
  • Slot work that does not require concentration during intervals when there is a lull in your energy, and vice versa.

You are unique. Figure out what works for you and practice that.

Attention management is powerful because it allows us to focus on what is important to us. It is a proactive tool that empowers us to focus more, be present more, connect more and achieve more.

Published here first.

Image source: kzenon Free for Canva Pro

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About the Author

Neelima Chakara

I am an ICF certified ACC coach I use my corporate experience and coaching expertise to help  senior managers - - prepare for next role - transition into their new roles in 90 days Hours coached – 400+ since read more...

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