Not one of us is powerful enough to stop the march of time or slow it down, but we can make the most of it. After all, it’s our most valuable asset along with our attention & energy. Being the master of our time means getting more done, staying focused, and being aware of the distractions around us. Why can’t we do prioritizing tasks and time management effectively?
After all, isn’t the objective to spend as much of our time doing the things we love and enjoy, things that make us whole and our hearts sing?
So effectively managing time is why the term ‘Time Management’ is such a hugely talked about subject. How to hone your time management skills is the holy grail, right?
Some of the battle, of course, is coming to terms with the fact you’ll never get everything done. One of my most favourite quotes which I try to live by is:
“We can do anything but not everything!”
So, if we accept this fact, we need to look at prioritizing our tasks and getting the most important stuff done. Completing a task gives us some clear headspace, great satisfaction, and a brief recovery from the mad modern world.
I do happen to think that the term’ time management’ is old fashioned and outdated.
“In a world where we are constantly connected, buried under apps, emails, social media and are overloaded with information. It’s an old, outdated system, developed years ago when life was quite different.” – Graham Allcott
I’m going to share with you an exciting discovery I made recently, an activity that will help you with prioritizing tasks and time management. I know it will help you because it’s personal to you.
Let’s take a look to see what we’ll be covering in today’s post:
What we'll be covering
- 1 There’s a new game with new rules; it’s called attention management
- 2 Productivity isn’t about time management, it’s about attention management
- 3 The three main types of attention
- 4 Utilizing the right tools
- 5 So, where do you start?
There’s a new game with new rules; it’s called attention management
I read a book recently ‘Productivity Ninja‘ by Graham Allcott.
It was all about attention management (I didn’t even know it was a thing), but boy did it make total sense. It opened my eyes to a simple technique we can all do daily. I think it could be our new secret weapon in time management.
As the name suggests, it’s all about managing our attention better. Keeping our focus and protecting our time from distractions, marrying up our attention levels with different types of day to day tasks.
Managing our time in this way enables us to have the best quality thinking time to get the most difficult tasks done and suggests using the time when we have less focus or energy to do the easiest tasks. Making the most of every hour, we have at work to get the job done.
This is why, in my opinion, Attention Management is one of the most effective tools for prioritizing tasks and time management effectively. In an age of information overload, this should be our tool of choice. Your attention is more precious than your time. If you run out of attention to give, then it doesn’t matter how much time you have or haven’t got.
Productivity isn’t about time management, it’s about attention management
Two examples of attention management
The other day I was designing a logo for someone. After the craziness of the day, I’d not got around to starting the project so at 5 pm I began to look at ideas. It was hard work.
My energy for that day had already been zapped, but I stuck with it. Three hours on and the big idea still hadn’t surfaced. I called it a day. However, the next morning, I got up early to get ahead of the game, and within half an hour, I’d got the idea, the creative concept was in the bag.
It was clear that my attention in the morning was on fire, but at the end of the day, for me, it was just a waste of my time!
Graham Allcott uses an excellent example in his book, which I’m sure you have probably experienced at some point in your working life.
“You have back to back meetings and get to your desk at 4 pm, you might not have run out of time, but you will have run out of attention. Complex and challenging meetings take a lot of your attention and focus, so you’ve got little left at the end of the day. It’s a massive drain on your resources.”Graham Allcott
The three main types of attention
Graham describes attention as currency; he categorises our attention into three main areas:
My understanding is this is for prioritizing important tasks and time management where you need to be in the zone to work on them. Time for tackling your more complex pieces of work. Solving a problem, brainstorming, writing a proposal. He calls this ‘Boss Mode’ because it’s more likely to be the more challenging important tasks in your day to get done, the more critical, the more demanding you’ll need proactive attention.
Active attention is for tasks that tick along easily for you. For example, responding to emails, filling in forms and internet research.
The lights are on, but no one is home, your value is limited. Do the simplest of tasks for work, like sending out invoices, filing, organising the post, or dealing with some calls. Graham calls this one’ Worker Mode’.
Splitting your time using this technique naturally prioritises tasks for the day. Still, of course, there will be the odd exception to the rule when deadlines come in.
I realise I’m more proactive at work in the morning, active in the afternoon and late afternoon, inactive. However, between 5 pm and 7 pm, I sometimes wake up again and can get some more active attention tasks in.
I find that if I start the work day with the most difficult task, or the task I least want to do, avoids building resistance throughout the day. It gives me a real boost, builds some momentum, and I feel I’m off to a positive start.
Utilizing the right tools
The scent of productivity
Another tool I use throughout the day to help me with productivity and focus are essential oils.
Essential oils are great to boost memory, productivity, and focus – plus they give you more energy, help you to stay calm and manage stress.
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Our sense of smell is the strongest of our senses and the only one that is directly connected to the brain. In our noses, we have smell receptors that communicate with the same part of the brain where emotions come to life.
So, it’s not surprising that inhaling an aroma can positively affect our minds at work, too, which is why I designed a range of luxury workspace candles with superior fragrance oils to specifically do just that. It was important that these had long burn times, were vegan-friendly with no paraben or phthalate nasties in them. These are made in the UK for Hello Time by artisan candle maker, Coco & Ginger.
So, where do you start?
The right time, the right task
Think about what your work day usually looks like? If you pick the right time of the day to do the right task, then boom! This simple mindset change could make much better use of your attention and therefore your time.
Try mapping out your day. Identify the best times to give yourself more challenging tasks and the best time for more manageable tasks. Base it on your work life and attention span; you’ll achieve far more and feel real a sense of satisfaction.
Tips to start prioritizing tasks and time management today
If you’re looking for some simple ideas to help you get those important tasks done and improve your time management, head here to see my top 10 time-efficient tips to increase productivity, effortlessly, and start putting them into practice.
My tips cover all aspects of time management at work that will help you with everyday planning, enabling you to focus on the most important tasks at hand and getting them ticked off your to-do list in no time.
Make it a priority today and start using your time wisely.