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Managewhich Tip: New Rule for Productivity?

Photo by Delos

Photo by Delos

What if, like gasoline, your brain power and attention were a limited resource?  And that once your attention tank was empty, your thinking ran on fumes?

Turns out, the latest brain studies indicate that this is indeed the case.  Our attention is in limited supply, and we work in ways that squander it.

In his new book, Your Brain at Work, David Rock labels tasks as Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3.  A level 1 task would be something like sifting through email and deleting the irrelevant stuff.  A level 2 task is a little more complex, like perhaps scheduling a meeting.  A level 3 task is something like creating a sales pitch or solving a computer problem.

What does this mean to most of us, who really need to be spending most of our day on Level 3 and above tasks? 

It depends on how you work.  I’d hazard a guess that if you’re like me, the first thing you do is plop down in the morning in front of your computer or mobile device and start going through email.  (See the attention tank start to drip fuel.)

Maybe you return some phone calls.  (Drip)  Maybe you start instant messaging. (Drip)  Maybe you post something on social media. (Drip)

Most of us spend our freshest time, when our tank is fullest, getting the small stuff out of the way, so that by the time we get around to what’s important (or what most needs our full thinking capacity), we’re running on less than a full tank.

So, what if you made a new rule that no one was to look at email until 10am?  Would the world come crashing down around you and your team?  What if you made the rule that the first hour or two in the morning was “maximum productivity” time and that only higher thinking tasks were to be done in that time?

Maybe that’s not altogether realistic considering the environments in which many of you work.  And, why not focus on the possibilities?

Armed with this information, what do you think you can and will do to use your brain to it’s max?

Be Your Best You Today,

Carolann Jacobs

p.s. - This has ramifications on your kids, too.  Video games deplete the attention.  It’s why that old rule of homework first turned out to be a good one.

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