How to be productive: Attention Management.

This is the second part of the series (and I also think the most important part).

To be consistently productive and manage stress better, we must strengthen our skill in attention management.

Attention management is the practice of controlling distractions, being present in the moment, finding flow, and maximizing focus, so that you can unleash your genius. It’s about being intentional instead of reactive. It is the ability to recognize when your attention is being stolen (or has the potential to be stolen) and to instead keep it focused on the activities you choose. Rather than allowing distractions to derail you, you choose where you direct your attention at any given moment, based on an understanding of your priorities and goals.

Better attention management leads to improved productivity, but it’s about much more than checking things off a to-do list. The ultimate result is the ability to create a life of choice, around things that are important to you. It’s more than just exercising focus. It’s about taking back control over your time and your priorities.

Modern life is all about distractions, and we are stressed out for no reason- emails, phone calls, chat notifications, social networking and the ilk. Smart management is the key to those aspects. I’d detail my workflow in a later post, but attention management should get due diligence.

Here’s another important tip:

  • Control your technology. Remember, it’s there to serve you, not the other way around! Decide to take control by turning off email and “push” notifications which are specifically designed to steal your attention. This will allow you to engage in more stretches of focused work on tasks and activities that you choose. As often as possible and especially when you’re working, keep your phone silent and out of sight.

  • Control your environment. Set boundaries with others, especially in an open-office setting. For example, use headphones or put up a “do not disturb” sign when you need to focus. If that doesn’t work, try going to a different part of your office, or even another floor of your building. If things are really bad, you can try teaming up with colleagues to designate a certain time of day, or day of the week, a “no distractions” day for everyone to do heads-down work.

I am not sure what works for you, as the reader, but have the ability to adapt. Attention management is something that would help you to get the feel of being productive.

via To Control Your Life, Control What You Pay Attention To