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How to reduce 'attention residue' in your life

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200130-the-life-hack-to-reduce-admin-and-carve-out-downtime

bbc.com

How to reduce 'attention residue' in your life
From elaborate rituals to planners, products and kits, there's no shortage of tools and advice on how to prioritise wellbeing. But perhaps I'm not alone in dutifully clearing space in my schedule for downtime only to lie in the bath fretting about all the life admin I have to do, the entire experience turning lukewarm before the water.

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Get Your Life In Order (GYLIO)

Many of us battle with the never-ending nature of our to-do lists. We feel overwhelmed because life admin is endless and invisible.

We can tackle this issue through GYLIO practices. In essence, GYLIO is about bundling tasks into a single morning, day or week to enable you to clear your mind.

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Get back on track

GYLIO is a way for students to approach their problems with juggling so many opportunities colleges offer, from sport and culture to volunteering and leadership.
A week to 'take a breath' and get things done is essential. The list will look different for everyone. When parts of your life that you are usually on top of begin to fall apart, it is time to take a day or week out and attend to the little things.

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Divided focus

Having multiple tasks on your mind splits your attention and that can reduce overall performance. This is known as "attention residue."
While we can't eliminate distractions from our lives, we can create a "ready to resume list" and plan a return to the task.

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Schedule a GYLIO session

Ask how and when you're going to attend to the task. Whether you call it 'power hour' or GYLIO, bundle small, unrelated chores together to make the invisible, visible.

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Don’t crowd the list

Overcrowding your list can make it feel too daunting.
GYLIO can give the impression that you can take care of all your life admin in a day. It can also encourage people to put off burdensome tasks.

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Drains and Incompletions

  • Drains are the tasks you have to do (commuting, personal admin, email correspondence, meetings, calls). These tasks drain your time and energy that you want to spend on priority work.
  • Incompletions are the items on your to-do list that you have not yet completed. They are related to work and personal items (responding to a simple email, or it can be a dream you keep putting off).

Identify drains and incompletions

If you are spending your time, energy, and attention on tasks that don't support your overall goal or priorities, it's time to re-evaluate.

  • Set aside 20 minutes on your calendar and minimize distractions.
  • List all of your drains and incompletions. Write every last item you can think of, including the light bulb that needs replacing, and the conversation you need to have with a co-worker.

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Attention Management

Shifting our focus towards people and projects, rather than the time it takes for us to work on something is referred to as Attention Management.

Productivity is not a virtue, but just a means to an end, and it means nothing if the end is not worthy. Paying attention to your intrinsic motivation, on why you are excited about the project will make you push yourself naturally and achieve the goal.

Lack Of Distractions Promotes Productivity

Many studies show that bad weather days when it is too cold or rainy, keeps the working people glued to their work, being more productive as they are less distracted by the thought of going outside.

Scheduling styles

When it comes to our daily schedule, most people fall into one of two camps:
  • The Overscheduler: Their days are determined from the moment they wake up to their evening routine.

Scheduling your day

A good daily schedule is a blueprint for a successful life. 

Knowing what we’re doing and when empowers us with a sense of purpose, meaning, and focus.

Your most important work

The most successful people consistently get their most important work done first.

Build recurring time for your most important work in the morning, before you start anything else. Your energy levels are naturally higher in the morning, but completing a meaningful task first thing has also a domino effect that pushes you through the day.