Mark arrived at Denver International Airport and settled-in at Gate A-7. “May I have your attention, please?” the gate attendant’s voice competed with the noisy airport. “There is a gate change for Flight 2356 to Phoenix, it will now depart from Gate B-15.”
Making his way through Terminal B Mark spotted Elway’s where they feature a uniquely Colorado menu. “With a delayed flight, I’ve got time to grab some lunch,” he thought as he maneuvered through the crowd.
Not one to waste time, he snatched his MacBook Pro along with a menu. “At least I can catch up on my email,” he mumbled. He logged on and his attention was captivated by a stuffed inbox.
How often do you find yourself thinking, “I just need more time”? Or hear yourself repeating, “I’m so busy!” Or perhaps after another interruption you wondered out loud, “What was I doing…?”
The ability to concentrate is greatly diminished by the pace of life and the expectation of immediate access. The abundance of distractions makes it hard to give your attention or thought to a single object or activity. It’s like asking a kid to study while watching a movie.
To be attention challenged is the new norm.
It’s not time management anymore
Announce a training class on time management and watch the line form eager to find the silver bullet. Enthusiasm and registration skyrockets. But what must be managed, time or something else?
“Time management” is a twentieth-century term that has far outlived its usefulness. The longer into the twenty-first century people continue to frame their productivity in terms of “time management,” the less efficient they will be.
The secret to defending against the constant demands on your attention is learning control—and the most important place for you to exert control is over your own attention. When you control your attention, you control your life. In the twenty-first century, “time management” and “information management” are no longer as important as attention management.
Today’s self-managed teams and leaders are more productive because they are paying attention to what gets their attention. The reward of such attention management is greater productivity.
Attention and your story
Here are two ideas to support your attention management:
- Create Space – make a 15 minute daily appointment to reflect, think, and plan
- Close the Door – schedule 45 minutes to concentration on one thing (airplane time.) Silence notifications, put your device on silent, hang a sign on your door or the back of your chair. The goal: giving your undivided attention to one important thing.
“May I have your attention, please? This is the last call for Flight 2356 departing from Gate B-15 for Phoenix.” Near panic rushed over Mark as he sprinted to “catch his flight.”
Mark’s email grabbed his attention. This time he needed to be interrupted in order to keep his commitment to what mattered most.
What you give your attention to will shape the reality of your world.
What hinders your productivity? What grabs your attention?
What boundaries can you set up to help control your attention?
Oh, by the way, what is your attention worth?
Here’s to your productivity,
PS: If you live in the Tulsa Area come join other leaders committed to improving performance and expanding their influence at Charleston’s for our First Thursday Next Level Leadership Lunch. Use this link or click on Have Lunch on Us on the right sidebar for more information. Experience what Next Generation Leadersteam-based coaching is all about.
Use this link for more information on the book, Personal Productivity Secrets.