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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Time Management

MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE

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.

    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.

    • 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.

    ... 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.

    • 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.

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    RELATED IDEAS

    Dressing up actually has a real influence on your attention levels because it symbolizes the start of a new day and it helps your brain to shift gears.

    A study was done back in 2012 related to the effect of clothing on a person's mental process. Evidently, it showed that you perform differently when wearing a suit or a scientist's lab coat and even get better intelligence scores.

    7

    IDEAS

    Psychologists call this phenomenon Counterfactual Thinking and it describes how we dwell on the outcomes of actions we didn’t actually take.

    At a certain point, you need to trust you’ve put in the thought and work to make the right decision and just commit.

    With People Outside Your Team
    • Understand fully what your boss wants from you and your team so you'll be better able to meet with their approval.
    • Ask your boss to coach or mentor you. You can usually learn a lot from him, but he may not be proactive about offering this. Think through things as far as you can before you approach them.
    • Look after your team and protect it from unreasonable pressure. Learn skills like assertiveness and win-win negotiation, so you can turn work away or negotiate additional resources.
    • Manage interactions with other groups. Use stakeholder analysis to identify groups relevant to you as well as what they want and what they offer. 

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