How to tap into your brain’s 4 attention states to get more done - Deepstash
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“You can’t control time, but you can control your attention. We can all improve productivity if we can systemize the way we work. Instead of looking for the latest tips and tricks, we need to work on attention and workflow management to improve productivity. This involves a collection of behaviors, not done by an app or software.”



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4 brain states and how they impact your productivity

4 brain states and how they impact your productivity

  • Reactive and Distracted: This state is superficial. Your attention is divided and you may be trying to multitask.
  • Daydreaming: This state is when you are choosing not to focus on anything in particular.
  • Focused and Mindful: This state is where you’re fully present and deliberately avoiding distraction.
  • Flow: If you’re lucky, your brain can tip from focused and mindful into flow. This is a state and not a behavior. It’s when you’re laser-focused and fully absorbed in a task. You are disengaged from your sense of self and work is effortless.


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Using the 4 states

The ultimate goal of attention management is to recognize which brain state you’re in and then shift to the one that will help you produce your best results in that moment. Each of the four brain states has a related amount of attention and effort or control.

For example, if you are in a reactive and distracted state while you’re trying to work on a project, you won’t be able to get traction. This state is not conducive to focused work. But if you can recognize that’s where you are, you can take steps to move into a focused or mindful state, says Thomas.


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“Attention management skills are critical to taking back control. They allow you to refocus your day on your priorities, so you can make progress on meaningful work instead of reacting to every incoming [demand] on your attention.”



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