Last Updated on November 17, 2019
Where your attention goes, energy flows. I can’t remember where I heard that, but I know that it’s true. If you pay attention to something that makes you angry, you put all your energy towards that something. If you pay attention to a movie, you put all your energy towards watching that movie. And, if you pay attention to social media, wasting time, and doing nothing, your energy goes towards those things. But, if you pay attention to the things you want and need to get done, your energy goes towards them to and you are able to take action on them and be productive.
It’s Important To Manage Your Attention For Productivity
Your attention decides where your energy flows to, but it’s important to remember that when your attention shifts, it can take a while to get it fully back to the task at hand. In fact, the leader of a study on productivity, said:
We found about 82 percent of all interrupted work is resumed on the same day. But here’s the bad news — it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task.- Source
How many of those 23 minute periods of time are you wasting? How much time do they add up to?
Even if you are only wasting a couple of minutes each time, that adds up throughout the day.
How Well Do You Manage Your Attention?
If you’ve come up with a to-do list that is doable and contains tasks that help you reach your goals, then you already have the most important things that need to be done written out in front of you. All you need to do is pay attention to each task throughout the day, complete it, and check it off.
How often do you check everything off that to-do list? If you can’t answer always, then your attention is not being directed towards the things that really matter.
What To Do When Distractions Pop Up In Your Head
Just as I was writing this article, I realized I wanted to check out another website that I had been thinking about. I could have checked it out now, but that would have taken my attention away from writing this article, so I did what I learned from Simpleology and wrote it down to deal with later.
Writing it down helps free up your mind and keeps your attention on what you are doing. You don’t need to remember that you want to do something. You don’t need to think about it. It’s written down, so you will be able to do it later.
In Simpleology, you write it in a ‘dream catcher’ (a place where all your thoughts and ideas go to look at later), but if you are writing it down on paper or not using Simplelogy, you can simply write it down under the heading ‘Things I want to check out/do.’ Then, when you finish your to-do list for the day, you can start checking out all those things you thought about during the day.
What I find is that often the things I write down to do later – after my priority stuff is done – are not even that important when it comes time to do them. It’s a real eye-opener on how much time we waste on things that don’t matter.
Turn Off Push Notifications
If your phone is a big attention hog, then push notifications are likely one thing that consistently demands your attention.
For instance, YouTube can give you a notification every time someone you subscribe to goes live. The ding or alert that you hear is the first distraction, and then the desire to watch them live is the second distraction. Even if you try to get back to your to-do list, often your attention will stay on the video and what they might be saying or doing – so your attention is being divided, and your energy is only being half utilized on the task at hand.
Even your computer can give you notifications, which is bad if you are trying to get things done online.
That’s why it’s so important to turn off all those notifications that demand your attention but aren’t really that important. Almost everything outside of your list can wait until later.
Take control of your time, life, and productivity, and check out videos, emails, or social media when YOU want to check it out, not when you get notified (or told) to check it out.
Take Breaks From Your Tasks
We are not robots! Well, I’m not a robot, I don’t know about you.
It would be great if we could sit down and get every single task on our to-do list knocked off without a break, but that’s not realistic.
Breaks help us recharge so that we can focus our full attention and energy into what matters. They help us overcome physical and mental fatigue.
- An eating break can give us the energy we need to move forward.
- A nap is needed.
- Meditation helps to give our mind a break during an intense mind-power task.
- A break doing something creative and fun is required.
- A walk is what’s needed.
If you don’t believe it and prefer to have proof, then just know that science has proven that breaks are essential to our productivity.
It’s really up to you and what kind of break you feel you need. But you do need to take it. Just make sure you don’t take hours away from your task. Take what you need and then get back to doing what matters.
Create Habits And Routines
You don’t usually get distracted from doing something if you are in the habit of doing it. It’s something that you automatically do and it’s pretty easy to finish to completion.
For instance, I’m in the habit of sitting down with my journals every morning and going over the day. Nothing grabs my attention during this time because it is so habitual and an important part of my routine.
We already talked about creating a morning routine that sets you up for a productive day, but soon we will talk about creating a daily and evening routine that you can build. Once you get into these routines, you will find yourself in the flow, and distractions will be less likely to pull your attention away from what you need to do.
Commit To Creating The Life You Want
What you do in your day – all the decisions you make and tasks you complete – impacts how your life will be.
I have found that committing to creating the life I want is probably the most powerful thing I’ve done to take charge of my attention.
When I’m working, I remind myself of my financial goals and how they will help me travel and experience more in life. This habit helps me to redirect my focus when it gets pulled away and pay attention to any work task at hand.
When my attention gets pulled away from my husband, I remind myself of my relationship goals and how important it is to spend that quality time with no distractions with him. This helps me pay attention to him and what we are doing.
Real I got to have it commitment, will help you pay attention whenever necessary.