November 28, 2020 4 min read

We live in a world full of various distractions. No wonder, a growing number of people struggling with doing their jobs and fighting procrastination habits. The way you manage your time plays a significant role in how efficiently you complete your tasks. However, it’s currently more important to learn how to manage your attention.

Let’s say you start doing your project and in less than 5 minutes you end up scrolling your Instagram feed. Shifting focus is a huge problem these days. One moment a notification on your phone pops up while another moment you might want to take a short nap. This is where procrastination is born and grows. When it comes to tackling your to-do lists, would you choose time management or attention management? Let’s see what works best.

Is time management still effective?

Time management is supposed to help us manage our time productively and complete daily tasks in an efficient way. In many cases, though, it triggers frustration and a messy mind if you don’t manage your time and energy levels effectively. The most common strategies of effective time management involve identifying daily activities, scheduling time, prioritizing tasks, working on goals, meeting deadlines, and analyzing the day.

Ineffective time management triggers losing self-control, over-extending yourself, and eventually procrastination. Time management is linked to project management, which means poor time management will lead to poor project scheduling and planning.

What’s attention management?

Have you ever noticed the amount of attention you give to a particular task? What about distractions? The aim of attention management is preventing procrastination and stay focused on doing the tasks on time with minimum distractions. When your attention is fully on a certain task, you’re supposed to be less distracted. This is how entrepreneurs boost their efficiency and encourage their employees to do the same.

People who prefer to manage their attention than time often have an increased focus and productivity. The thing is, people have trouble controlling the number of time resources available to them. However, it’s possible to control the way we focus our attention during a certain period of time.

Attention management involves identifying priorities, too. When you tackle your daily to-do list, your task isn’t to just check points off the list. Your task is to fully focus your attention on doing priorities. If those priorities aren’t exciting or fun to accomplish, you might end up concentrating all your attention on accomplishing the fun and easy tasks first.

Before starting doing any task, find out where your focus must be. What’s your top priority right now? Where your attention should be focused? If you don’t have priorities, feel free to start with any task that you feel like accomplishing right now. This will help you do that task quicker and probably with minimum effort.

Time management vs. attention management: which one is better?

It depends on the person you are. If you appreciate and stick to discipline rules, you’re more likely to use time management while working. If you’re a more creative person, attention management can work best for you.

The kind of job you have plays an important role here, too. If you have plenty of projects to accomplish and your manager tells you which one you should accomplish first, you need to manage your time in order to meet your deadline. Even if you don’t feel like doing this project, you have to start with it.

If you have several projects and you don’t need to prioritize any or worry about deadlines, you can try attention management. Creative people and those who tend to procrastinate confess that they’re unable to get things done no matter how hard they try to manage time correctly.

Many successful entrepreneurs prefer to use time management – especially if they have tons of meetings. When working on business plans though, entrepreneurs use attention management. There are other factors that can impact the productivity levels, though.

What are those factors?

Attention management often involves identifying where the tasks are accomplished. Researchers believe that the productivity level rises during the colder months, as there are fewer distractions. You’re less likely to get outside for a walk when it’s raining or snowing.  However, if you’re prone to mood swings, anxiety, or depression, bad weather might make you procrastinate rather than concentrate on a certain task.

Another factor to consider is that creativity and productivity require totally opposite attention management actions. Creativity thrives by reducing attention filters to allow distracting or unrelated thoughts in. However, productivity thrives by increasing attention filters to prevent any distracting or unrelated thoughts.

Your circadian rhythm also plays a significant role in determining the right time to complete your creative and productive work. If you’re a night owl, try to complete creative work in the morning and analytical projects in the afternoon or evening. In case you’re a morning person, try to accomplish any analytical projects early in the morning and your creative tasks in the late afternoon or evening.

Unlike time management, you can create your schedule based on your levels of alertness and thinking. This reduces the likelihood of procrastination. At the same time, time management can make you multitask and distract yourself from boring yet important tasks. You procrastinate and the growing number of unaccomplished tasks results in stress and problems at work.

 

The final word…

No matter how hard you try to fit more tasks in your schedule, you might fail to accomplish them due to numerous factors. Although time management has many perks, attention management has been shown to be an effective way to banish procrastination and increase your productivity. No wonder, attention management has become so popular among entrepreneurs and employees in recent years.

As distractions grow – who doesn’t want to check their Instagram feed? – it’s essentially important to find an effective way to avoid them. Today, attention management is considered to be one of the most efficient ways to get things done without spending too much time on the stuff that doesn’t matter at all.



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