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How to Be a Productivity Ninja: Attention management

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https://zapier.com/blog/productivity-ninja-attention-management/

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How to Be a Productivity Ninja: Attention management
In any knowledge work job, you're really playing two different roles at once: you're simultaneously the "boss" and the "worker". You're responsible for: Deciding what your work is (boss-mode) Doing the work (worker-mode) Dealing with new information inputs (worker-mode) and reacting to them to decide whether to change your priorities...

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Boss-mode vs worker-mode

Knowledge workers usually have to play 2 roles at the same time - the boss and the worker: They have to choose what their work is (boss-mode) and they have to do the actu...

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Limited attention

Your attention is a limited resource and you have to be careful where you are spending it.
If you choose to give away 80 percent of your attention to meetings, you will have 20 percent of y...

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Levels of attention

  • Proactive attention: you are fully focused and prepared for your most important decisions/ most complex tasks.
  • Active attention: you're plugged in, but also easily dist...

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Schedule your work

... based on your attention level.
Save difficult and important task for when your attention level is proactive, leave the intense but easier stuff for those active attention times, and try ...

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Fixes for your attention management issues

  • Make tiny changes to trick your brain and create additional periods of attention (for example, move to a different part of the room every hour).
  • Keep moving and switch task...

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Extra pockets of attention

  • Take advantage of the periods when you're walking somewhere and make some phone calls. You can use your desk time for other tasks.
  • Keep both a physical and a digital file o...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Milton Friedman
"The best measure of quality thinking is your ability to accurately predict the consequences of your ideas and subseq..."

Milton Friedman

Think in Years, Not Days

Before jumping to a conclusion, think about the long-term consequences of your decision.

We may respect those able to fling themselves into a hard problem and make a quick choice with seemingly little thought, but making a meaningful decision needs to be done with care for the long-term effects.

Understand Decision Fatigue

It’s important to be aware of what state of mind you’re in before tackling a hard choice.

Decision fatigue happens when the mental energy required to weigh the tradeoffs of our decision becomes too much for us to handle. 

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Put a Deadline on Your Thoughts

To avoid over-ruminating about a decision, give yourself a time frame to think about it. 

If it’s a small issue such as what paint color to paint your office, perhaps...

Schedule Your Thinking Time

To avoid thinking about problems all day long, schedule a specific time where you give yourself the freedom to think about the issue you need to make a decision about. 

If thoughts about the issue creep into your brain before your scheduled thinking time, tell yourself “No, I’m going to think about that after dinner, not during this meeting”.

Problem Solving vs. Worrying

Dwelling on a problem, thinking “this is horrible, I can’t handle this” or rehashing things that happened in the past are an unproductive use of your time.

Thinking about what steps you can take to improve the situation or actively thinking of a solution to the problem are helpful toward moving forward. 

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The Difference Between Managers And Leaders

Leadership involves creating a compelling vision of the future, communicating that vision, and helping people understand and commit to it.

Managers, on the other ...

The Importance Of Delegation

There's only so much that you can achieve working on your own, that's why it's important to delegate effectively. To successfully delegate:

  • Explain what your team's role and goals are. Or even formalize it in a team charter, which can also be useful for keeping the team on track.
  • Think about the skills, experience and competencies within your team, and start matching people to tasks. 

Motivating Your Team

Whatever approach you prefer to adopt, you also need to bear in mind that different people have different needs when it comes to motivation. 

One size does not fit all. Some individuals are highly self-motivated, while others will under-perform without managerial input, and you need to be able to handle both. 

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