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Productivity: Managing Your Attention vs Managing Your Time

Last month, Rachel shared her productivity technique of limiting her daily to do list to only five items. Since then we’ve been exploring the topic of productivity and discovered an article about how productivity isn’t about time management – it’s really about attention management. In this article, author Adam Grant discusses how we live in a society obsessed with productivity.

“We worship at the alter of hustle and boast about being busy. The key to getting things done, we’re often told, is time management. If you could just plan your schedule better, you could reach productivity nirvana”.

Adam Grant

Being productive is not about time management. Focusing on time management just makes us more aware of how many limited hours there are in a day and how many we waste. A better option is attention management, where we prioritise what matters. It’s the “art of focusing on getting things done for the right reasons, in the right places and at the right moments.”

We took a few things away from this article. Here’s some ideas about how you can get more done:

  • Prioritise the tasks that matter (and it won’t matter how long anything takes)
  • Focus on why you are doing the task
  • Do the least interesting task first and save your most exciting task for last as a reward.
  • Work in a space that you get the most work done.
  • It’s not about time, it’s about timing. Think about how you plan your work, “If you’re a morning person, you should do your analytical work early when you’re at peak alertness; your routine tasks around lunchtime in your trough; and your creative work in the late afternoon or evening when you’re more likely to do nonlinear thinking. If you’re more of a night owl, you might be better off flipping creative projects to your fuzzy mornings and analytical tasks to your clearest-eyed late afternoon and evening moments. It’s not time management, because you might spend the same amount of time on the tasks even after you rearrange your schedule. It’s attention management: You’re noticing the order of tasks that works for you and adjusting accordingly” says Grant.
  • Eliminate Distractions or be thoughtful about the timing of those distractions (social media).
  • Don’t analyse how you spend your time and pay attention to what consumes your attention.
  • Do what works for you!

Have you tried to be more productive? How do you get more done?

You can read the full article here: