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How to Be a Productivity Ninja: Attention management

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 to save up the easy or dull stuff for when you're capable of little else.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

How to Be a Productivity Ninja: Attention management

How to Be a Productivity Ninja: Attention management

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

zapier.com

6

Key Ideas

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 actual work (work-mode), for example.

This situation has the potential to create conflict and lead to indecision about which role should have their attention at different times of the day.

    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 your attention just for dealing with a few emails feeling overwhelmed.

    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 distracted.
    • Inactive attention: you're likely to really struggle with complex or difficult tasks.

    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 tasks every 30-60 minutes.
    • Get outside and go for a quick walk.

    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 of reading materials. Take advantage of the time spent commuting or in the waiting rooms for your doctor's appointments.
    • Have a thinking list with big decisions for when you are driving or waiting in line for example.
    • Instead of talking via email with your co-workers, invite them for a coffee.

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    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.

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    The 2 kinds of work :
    • Deep work”: using your skills to create something of value. It takes thought, energy, time and concentration.
    • Shallow work”: all the little administrative and logist...
    Cal Newport
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    "The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive. "

    Cal Newport on time management
  • Don’t schedule distractions. Schedule deep work.
  • Keep a scoreboard for deep work: The point is to shame yourself if you’re not up to snuff.
  • Stop saying “yes” to unimportant stuff;
  • Have a “Deep Work Ritual”: Hiding in a conference room and throwing your phone into an abyss is a good one.
  • Ask your boss how much time they want you spending on deep vs shallow work: If they say “100% shallow”, feel free to ignore everything above.
  • Milton Friedman

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    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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