What You Need: Pen and Paper
Time: 10 minutes
Our attention can be divided (roughly) into 3 types:
Proactive attention: This is where you are fully focussed, alert, in the zone and ready to make your most important decisions or tackle your most complex tasks. This level of attention is extremely valuable
Active attention: This is where you’re plugged in, ticking along, but perhaps flagging slightly. You’re easily distracted, occasionally brilliant, but often sloppy too. This level of attention is useful
Inactive attention: The lights are on but no one appears to be home. There’s not too much brainpower left and you’re likely to really struggle with complex or difficult tasks. Your attention here isn’t worthless, but its value is limited.
> Map out an average day in your working life in whichever way works for you – as a flowchart, list, line chart, mind map or table.
> Include start and finish times, as well as any scheduled breaks and what happens immediately before and after work (e.g. the journey home, or if you check emails before you arrive).
> Think carefully: label your attention span for each of these categories: which are your proactive times, which are active, and which are inactive? Any surprises?
Hang on to this list – we’ll be using it for a future task.
7am – 8am active
8am – 9am proactive
9am – 12pm active
Like this? Try these
Find out more about attention management
Sign up to one of our new-style time management courses