"You can't manage time, you can only manage your attention. And attention is like water. It's like water because it's a limited resource. It flows like liquid and it quickly evaporates. You've heard the saying: 'there's only so much time in a day', but in reality, there's only so much attention in a day.
Each day you get this bucket of water. And that's all the water you're going to get for that day. Each time you dip into that bucket, you have less water to work with.
So you have to be very intentional, very purposeful about how you sprinkle your attention around. But we're in a recession and that bucket of yours is hanging by a rope. And the winds of change keep swinging that bucket back-and-forth, back-and-forth. And your precious water, your precious attention, keeps falling out. These are called distractions. Distractions shift your attention. It flows like water.
Gravity pulls it in different directions. You lose concentration and you lose focus. And your focus, your concentration, evaporates like water.
So three big takeaways:
- The first thing is this. You have to conserve your attention. Your bucket only holds so much, and you've got to use it wisely. One way to do that is to focus your attention in smaller doses and avoid multitasking. 30 minutes of uninterrupted concentration are much more productive than an hour and a half of distracted multitasking.
- Second thing is this. Plan for some spillage, because distractions are going to be inevitable. You want to conserve some attention, to focus on your distractions. This is a good way to conserve your concentration for those daily priorities.
- And the final thing is this: hold yourself accountable. You become what you give your attention to. Are you going to be a focused leader? Are you going to manage distractions? Or are they going to manage you?
So, think of attention like water and use your bucket wisely.
- Conserve your attention.
- Allocate it in smaller doses.
- Plan for spillage.
- Allow time for distractions, and
- Hold yourself accountable.
Right now, everyone's bucket is tossing in the wind. Distractions are unavoidable, but you're still in control of how, what, and where you focus your attention. And one final point: Your people will focus on what you choose to focus on. They're going to follow your lead, and the best way to keep your team focused is to stay focused yourself."
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