Contrasting Effects: Attention Residue - Deepstash

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Productivity Isn't About Time Management. It's About Attention Management.

Contrasting Effects: Attention Residue

Contrasting effects, which compare your mundane task to the more enticing and juicy alternatives, make the task even more escuricating and dull. This Attention Residue happens because our mind keeps wandering to a more interesting task, making the timing of the various tasks at hand something to consider.

Example: Eating a sweet dessert makes your sour vegetable taste even more yuckier.

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What Time Management Is

Time is our precious resource. It is perishable, it is irreplaceable, and it cannot be saved. It can only be reallocated from activities of lower value to activities of higher value.

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Eat That Frog!

Your “frog” is your most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it.

If you have two important tasks, start your day with the biggest, hardest, and most important task first. Focus on completing it before you go to the next one.

Failure to execute

We tend to confuse activity with accomplishment: we attend endless meetings and make plans, but at the end of the day, no one does the job and gets the results required.

“Failure to execute” is among the biggest problems in organizations today.

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Single Task

Switching between tasks can have damaging costs to our work and productivity.

Develop the habit of single-tasking by forcing your brain to concentrate on one task and one task only. Put your phone away, close all the browser windows and apps that you don’t need. Immerse yourself in this task. Only move to the next one when you’re done.

Brian Tracy
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Time management is not a peripheral activity or skill. It is the core skill upon which everything else in life depends.” 

Switching between tasks

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Task switching and focus

Taking on additional tasks simultaneously can destroy up to 80% of your productive time:

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  • Juggling three tasks at a time = 20% of your productive time for each and 40% lost to context switching.
A schedule for sustained attention
It includes:
  • Large chunks of focused “flow” time for more demanding projects.
  • “Themed” days to reduce the need to recalibrate between different tasks.
  • Advanced planning so you can prioritize meaningful work.
  • Realistic time set aside for admin, communication, and meetings.
  • Clear expectations for your teammates so they know when not to interrupt you.