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How to reduce 'attention residue' in your life

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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How to reduce 'attention residue' in your life

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

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Key Ideas

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.

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.

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.

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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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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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.

Scheduling styles
When it comes to our daily schedule, most people fall into one of two camps:
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  • The Minimalist: They’ve got one or two recurring events, but a whole lot of white space so they’re “free” (at least on paper) for long stretches of work.
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.

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Digital hoarding and online storage

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The Planning Fallacy

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“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important."
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The Decision Matrix on how to approach tasks has 4 quadrants:

  • Quadrant 1: The Urgent Problems which are important.
  • Quadrant 2: Not Urgent but important tasks
  • Quadrant 3: Urgent but not really important
  • Quadrant  4: Distractions and time-wasting tasks. 

Prioritize the important (Quadrant 2) to attain maximum benefit from your work.

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  • When we have a huge mess around us, it’s hard to be focused. It’s hard to really put our best effort into our meaningful work.
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Creating Impeccable Structure
  • Recognize when a part of my your is messy and could use more structure.
  • Contemplate a structure that would give you a feeling of trust.
  • Write out the structure, then put it somewhere you’ll see it.
  • Put it into action, as a practice.
  • Revisit and revise on a regular basis.
Examples of Structure
  • Financial structure. Create a system so that you are tracking your spending on a regular basis, and have a plan for how to spend it.
  • Communication. Create a system for how you handle emails and messages.
  • Health. Create a system for tracking how active you are and what will you eat to give yourself a thriving healthy life.
  • Physical surroundings. Create a system to asses how messy your house is and how does all of this affect your mental state.

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Energy is everything. It goes beyond status, power, and money. Personal Energy is difficult to measure, as our energy levels vary.

There are 3 types of energy:

  1. Mental Energy: It is your ability to concentrate, pay attention and focus.
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  3. Emotional Energy: Ability to feel compassion.
Managing Personal Energy
  • Mindfulness meditation is an excellent tool to improve our focus and awareness. We can enhance our mental energy by integrating our mind through meditation, instead of getting lost in scattered thoughts.
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