Manage Your Attention, Not Your Time

With so many stimuli competing for attention, any hope for making it through the day without our brains feeling like scrambled eggs rests on being more conscious of how you parse attention over specific tasks. Here are three ways to keep your focus flowing.

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If there is any one ‘secret’ to effectiveness, it is concentration.
—Peter F. Drucker, management philosopher

“At the end of the day, my brain feels like scrambled eggs!” admitted Phil, an attorney at whose firm I teach. He, like many, was living out the effects of what it means to not prioritize attention in the workday. When distractions abound how do you find focus to get something done?

Make Attention a Priority

My previous post explored what attention is and why it’s important to both quality of life and fundamental effectiveness. Attention is the basic resource or energy you have to invest in your experience. You are what you attend to. It’s that simple.

Let’s go “Big Picture” for a moment. Managing attention has not been on our radar screens because until recently most of us took it for granted. Education has largely emphasized skills for thinking and underemphasized, or ignored altogether, the skills of attending, seeing, and perceiving (let alone feeling). Look at what gets cut from school budgets when times are tough: Arts, sports, and music are the domains that cultivate perception, focus, and their relationship to performance. For good or for ill, we are an “I think…