Some say attention management is more important than time management. Although you can manage your time, if you’re not focusing your attention on the right tasks, then all the time in the world won’t move you ahead!
Attention management is the art of managing your time and attention so you’re focused on the right tasks.
To manage your time:
- Use a calendar like Outlook or Google to block out your day from beginning to end
- Add an appointment for each 30 minute increment of the day, creating larger increments for longer tasks
- If you need time for sporadic tasks like checking email, voicemail, taking calls, add time increments for such (based upon prior estimates)
- Set recurring appointments for daily, weekly, and monthly tasks/meetings so you can plan in advance
- Add a summary for each task so you know what you’re working on. Optionally link to a task in your project management system that includes more details
- Enable reminders so you’re notified when each task begins
- Structure tasks so you work on the most important during your ideal work hours. Are you energized in the morning, afternoon, or night
- Optionally, give yourself time between tasks to re-focus
This system works well for those who have control of their attention/time throughout the day. Obviously won’t work for service workers (waiters, clerks, etc…) who are on-demand.
Here’s a few steps to manage your attention:
- Before getting started, identify the goal of the task is and what’s needed to complete
- Put your cell/land line and instant messenger on do not disturb
- Disable email notifications, inbox alerts, chimes, and other distractions (instead, check your email when scheduled)
- If a co-worker interrupts you, let them know it’s not a good time and ask them to discuss later
By managing your attention and time you’ll have less stress and more success!