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The Overworked Millenial: Time Management Vs Attention Management

Based on how well the discussion on time management vs attention management went, I decided to put together everyone's suggestions and create the very first, Everything Smarter blog post.

I feel spread thin a lot of the time - not because I have a stack of tasks staring me down but because I can't imagine completing them. When I typically take breaks from my Neuro-oriented by jumping into a creative task, my mind absolutely sucks at picking up momentum (purportedly known as switch cost), and my attention becomes shot. As such, the tasks feel even more daunting.

I've spent years trying to optimize my schedule and goal setting process to be able to accomplish the things I've set out to do. In that process, I realized that my issue wasn't dividing my time between my different tasks, but maintaining attention while doing the tasks. It seems many of us in Everything Smarter is an 
overworked millennial like myself who deal with similar issues of attention management...but it also seems that we have developed different techniques to successfully overcome that hurdle.


So without further ado, below is a compilation of tips and tricks from our Everything Smarter discussion on time management vs attention management. 

1) Optimize the when of success: The Power of When by Michael Breus and Deep Work by Cal Newport

Most advice centers on what to do, or how to do it, and ignores the when of success. According to Prasad, The Power of When "helps put you in an optimal state throughout the day" and "helps you plan". As Jeremy points out, Deep Work similarly discusses optimization via a method of scheduling your distractions to maximize your daily 4 hour workflow state.

2) Combat phone addiction: Switching your phone to black and white

The programs on your smartphone are made to give you a dopamine jolt. By changing your phone screen to grayscale, you drastically reduce the visual appeal of your phone (or at least snapchat and Instagram). It may not completely eliminate your habit, but it will certainly be a step in the right direction.

 

3) Combat phone addiction pt 2: Turning off all social media notifications

Badges, banners, and alerts are the bane of your attention - every new app will try and push you into it just to let you know about some trivial thing. Don't get captured into the loop of pointless push notifications!

 

Optimize your tasks by frontloading the essentials so you can work on the less important things later in the day. Veronica suggests bullet journaling to help you keep track of those tasks. She states - "I already have about 4-5 hours a day that are filled with paid work, so I have to list 2-3 things I want to get done between those hours or they otherwise won't."

 

5) Visualization through Project Management: Using Google Calendar/ Asana / Trello / Gantt Charts

Sam's point is spot on - "if the task you are working on is dependent on someone else's approval/review or subject to revision, you'll need to make yourself available to switch gears. In our lab, we try to visualize each project by mapping out phases and note how specific tasks contribute to completing a phase (pre-production, production and post-production). Our lab uses Trello for day-to-day tasks and we try to have a weekly meeting to update ourselves on each project's status and determining next steps."

Alright! Now stop procrastinating and get to work. Let us know if any of this tricks work for you, and if not, you can always follow Jong-Rak's suggestion to order pizza and watch Netflix. Keep on chewing.
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