Earlier on in my professional career, I was often told that I need to determine how to better manage my time. I mean often. Mind, it was very much needed at the time, but more and more I find that time isn’t my biggest issue. These days, it is my attention.
“So you mean priority, right?”
No, I don’t.
I work in the support department. Prioritizing is a given when you’ve been in that department as long as I have because, without the ability to prioritize, you drown in backlog. However, even with your best effort to prioritize the tasks before you and even with the ability to manage your time to be super productive, none of that matters if you can’t give yourself to those tasks and only those tasks.
So then, before I can prioritize and manage time to most effectively do the most I can, I have to decide what to pay attention to.
The thing that bears so much repeating is that attention is a limited resource.
One phrase I have at the office for this is “I can’t brain right now.”
What I mean by that is I’m out of attention to spend on anything else right now. Recognizing that your attention is a limited resource changed a few things for me in terms of just handling the day. One of them being making a shrine out of the time between 8:30-9:30AM every day. That’s my planning time where I have enough attention in the tank to prioritize things that day.
From there, it’s a mad dash to around 12:25PM to handle top priority, high attention stuff. Things that require me to focus on details in order to solve a problem. After lunch, I get into the lower attention stuff because, although I have a reserve of attention, it gets consumed with “Hey, I got a quick question” pretty quick. You’d be surprised how quickly that chews through what you have in the tank.
Sometimes, if I need that attention for something else, I have to pass out the occasion, “I can’t right now…” and that’s OK. Again, attention is a limited resource. Other things I do to help keep my attention where it should be:
- Scheduling appointments with myself.
- Fitbit alarms.
- These wallpapers (take them if you’d like, I made them):
How do you manage attention? Comments are yours.