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To Control Your Life, Control What You Pay Attention To

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https://hbr.org/2018/03/to-control-your-life-control-what-you-pay-attention-to

hbr.org

To Control Your Life, Control What You Pay Attention To
Executive Summary Your attention determines the experiences you have, and the experiences you have determine the life you live. Rather than allowing distractions to derail you, choose where you direct your attention at any given moment, based on an understanding of your priorities and goals.

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William James
“My experience is what I agree to attend to.”

William James

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Attention Management

It's is the practice of controlling distractions, being present in the moment, finding flow, and maximizing focus, so you can create a life of choice, around things that are important to you.

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Choosing What You Attend To

Choosing What You Attend To

Attention management offers a deliberate approach that puts you back in control, by managing both external and internal factors.

Practicing attention management means fighting back against th...

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Controlling External Factors

  • Control your technology: it’s there to serve you, not the other way around. As often as possible and especially when you’re working, keep your phone silent and out of sight.

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Controlling Internal Factors

  • Control your behavior: for example, open only one window on your computer screen, and give your full attention to one task until it’s complete, or until a designated stopping point...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

What's Most Important To You

Before you can set your priorities, you need to figure out exactly what they are. 

"You have limited time and energy, so you need to determine what your top two priorities are at any giv...

Create An Action Plan

Take a few moments to create a plan of where you would like to see yourself in the next couple of months or years. 

Align those dreams with your priorities to help you focus on making your wishes come true. 

Designate Specific Time Slots For Tasks

It's important to remember to set time aside for things that truly matter to you. 

Whatever it is, you won't feel fulfilled if you constantly put other things before your own happiness.

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William James

“Wisdom is the art of knowing what to overlook.”

William James

The 2 kinds of distractions

  • Sensory distractions (External): The things happening around us like colleagues talking, phones ringing, people moving around us, music playing, etc.
  • Emotional distractions (Internal). The thoughts that make our attention drift from what we’re doing. For example, remembering a phone call you need to return or thinking about an upcoming meeting.

Daniel Goleman

Daniel Goleman

“It’s not the chatter of people around us that is the most powerful distractor, but rather the chatter of our own minds.”

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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 essen...

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.

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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