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#Microblog Mondays 178: Attention Management

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It is very hard to manage your attention.  It’s different from time management, which I think of as allocating time well or spending time on the right tasks.  This article says it best:

Attention management is more than not looking at social media every five minutes—though it’s also that, too. It’s also about setting priorities and focusing your attention where it matters.

It is riffing off of this article on attention management and knowing your essential priorities.

People often ask me how I get stuff done, working from home.  While I don’t agree with everything Rao says, it’s a great starting point.  Turn off the distractions.  Tell yourself your intention.  Get tasks accomplished in the best order.  One at a time.

Easier said than done, and some days I do it better than others.

What tricks do you use to manage your attention?


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1. A To Don’t List 9. Empty Arms, Broken Heart 17. Loribeth (The Road Less Travelled)
2. Mali (No Kidding) 10. Cristy 18. Failing at Haiku
3. Mali (A Separate Life) 11. Isabelle 19. Amber
4. Daryl 12. Journeywoman 20. Jess
5. Counting Pink Lines 13. Cyn K 21. Chandra Lynn (Pics and Posts)
6. Unpregnant Chicken: Book Launch 14. the OCD infertile
7. Laughing IS Conceivable 15. Suzy Someday Somewhete
8. Risa Kerslake 16. Not My Lines Yet


1 Mali { 01.22.18 at 6:30 am }

I can be pretty bad at this. I am after all highly skilled at procrastination. But if I need to concentrate, I’ll leave my phone downstairs, and turn of anything that is making noise/talking to me. Well read the article tomorrow, but right now my attention us on a tennis match, though it’s after midnight and I should be in bed.

2 Daryl { 01.22.18 at 8:20 am }

I am so bad at this! Making lists helps, and crossing items off helps me feel like I’m accomplishing something. But there are so many distractions at home!

3 Cyn K { 01.22.18 at 9:06 am }

It’s so easy to maintain attention when the task is absorbing. I only realize how I attentive I’ve been after the fact when I realize what time it is. I find I never do it on purpose.

4 Lori Shandle-Fox { 01.22.18 at 9:44 am }

I stick to a schedule that walks that fine line between challenging & realistic. I have certain hours I write even if the kids are home. Time to exercise etc. The kids know that it’s my time to be left alone and the rest of the time is theirs.

5 Risa Kerslake { 01.22.18 at 10:50 am }

Being that I’m terrible at attention management, I’m going to hop on over to those two articles and learn something.

6 Cristy { 01.22.18 at 11:59 am }

Managing my attention is essential to my daily progress. I’m still not great with it, but turning off my phone seems to be the best way to get things done. Thanks for the suggested readings!

7 Sharon { 01.22.18 at 12:41 pm }

Still working on this! 🙂

8 Lavonne @ the OCD infertile { 01.22.18 at 1:06 pm }

I am pretty horrible at this. I can be pretty high strung and borderline ADD so it’s hard for me to dedicate my attention for any long period of time. I try to make lists and prioritize the best I can but it’s definitely something I could do better on.

9 Not My Lines Yet { 01.22.18 at 1:23 pm }

I don’t claim to be any good at this, but there are a few helpful things I’ve found. One of them is to know the times of day that “work” for different things. I’m a morning person. That means early morning is when I can stay focused. So that’s when I block time for projects that need space and concentration. By afternoons, I’m usually less focused, so that’s when I plan to do things that require less attention – responding to quick email messages, building to-do lists, and so forth. This approach doesn’t fix my lack of attention, but it channels it in a way that works for me.

Now, off to go check social media! 🙂

10 loribeth { 01.22.18 at 1:33 pm }

My attention span is not what it used to be (thank you, Internet…) & like Mali, I am a master procrastinator. I do make to-do lists & use a highlighter on the really important stuff in my datebook. Post-it notes help me remember, too.

11 Symanntha Renn { 01.22.18 at 5:03 pm }

I use alarms so that I can totally ignore the beeping of my phone and any clocks, because I am not needed until my alarm goes off. That way I can read or study.
I also turn off the notifications on most of my stuff, and unsub from most email lists.

12 Amber { 01.22.18 at 5:11 pm }

I wish I was better at attention management. Definitely something I need to work on.

13 Inexplicably { 01.22.18 at 5:43 pm }

I drive myself a little nuts trying to do about 3 tasks at once, all of them poorly.!! haha… so I often find myself mentally saying “just finish this first before you move on to that”.

14 Jess { 01.22.18 at 7:58 pm }

I looooooove this article! I agree, attention management is the hardest. We are completely bombarded with so many distractions. I loved what was said about one hour of superfocused work being more productive than 8 hours of interrupted, distracted work. I am amazed at how distracted I am by my phone (and actually I need to go turn off the notifications since getting a replacement due to a WiFi issue, that will help).

Today I used this strategy — stay at school until the big things are done. I know at home there are a zillion distractions waiting for me, not the least of which is my cozy couch. I had 9 essay tests to finish grading today, so I just set myself at my table in my classroom and plowed through them until 6, when they were done. I was much more focused and I was motivated to stay that way, because schools after hours are CREEPY. 🙂 Great post!

15 Chandra Lynn { 01.22.18 at 8:13 pm }

Lists and more lists–and lists with lists. I also use creative “distractions” while I ruminate. So I’m thinking and processing even when it seems like I’m procrastinating…

16 Chris { 01.22.18 at 9:34 pm }

I’ve worked from home for the past 13 years and I find it to actually be a very NOT distracting environment. But, I love reading things like this because I’m constantly having to evaluate what other people find to be distractions and how to overcome them! LOL For me? If I know I need to get something done I just sit down and do it. Always have. As a kid I knew I had to do homework before I could play. So, I immediately sat down and did my homework. My philosophy hasn’t changed. If I know something needs to be done (even 2 weeks from now) I’m much more likely to just sit down and power through because not having it hang over my head feels better. My husband is a huge procrastinator. Just watching him stresses me out! LOL I can’t imagine knowing something needed to be done and not just sitting down and doing it, it’s that ingrained in my being. I actually get annoyed when the phone rings or something and I have to stop. I also love lists and I have all notifications except the ringer and texts turned off on my phone. And even those go off during certain hours.

17 Suzy { 01.23.18 at 1:40 am }

Social media is a big distraction so no social media for me while I’m working. I also take a break at least every 2 hours. So that helps refocus. Good post gave me some food for thought.

18 Lori Lavender Luz { 01.23.18 at 9:21 am }

Fortunately, I was born reveling in delayed gratification. So I am able to use this to get myself to focus…sometimes. I do the think I don’t want to do first, and then I get to do the thing I want to do as a reward.

FB has really messed with my system, though. I took it off my phone, but already I found a workaround. Now, my strategy to resist infinite scrolling is to tell myself Im’m not going to let FB win. Yet often it does. Sigh…

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