What is Attention Management?
A distracted mind is less than effective. Individuals who do not or cannot pay attention to their work and goals can waste valuable time and make careless mistakes. Attention management is a useful skill that allows us to connect with our responsibilities on an emotional level and motivates us to focus on our work and how to reach one’s own personal and professional goals.
Attention management increases the ability to focus attention and can be done at the individual, group, and working level. In the workforce, managers are encouraged to deal with their own attention problems before trying to influence employees in their organization. Individuals should focus on their own attention concerns before trying to influence the attention of others around them. In order to understand attention management, people must be aware of where they focus most of their attention. Most experts divide attention into four different areas or zones. While the names change, the ideas are all the same.
Four Areas of Attention:
Intentional: When working intentionally, people plan strategically and prioritize their activities.
Responsive: In this area people are responding to the world around them. They spend more time putting out fires than working intentionally.
Interrupted: People spend too much time answering messages and handling situations that interrupt their work.
Unproductive: This occurs when people waste time at school or work. Unless you are taking a scheduled break, checking social media sites and chatting is unproductive.
The advice “stop thinking” may seem counter intuitive to attention management. Many people, however, are over thinking everything and focused on the wrong ideas. When we constantly think, we do not pay attention to what is really going on around us. Our feelings control how and what we think. If we think that something is boring, bad, or a waste of time, we tend to give it less attention. For example, people are less likely to pay attention during a meeting if they believe it will not be productive. The ability to pay attention allows people to better connect with the world around them, better process their emotions, and organize the way they process cognitively.
Dr. Eric Nach, Ph.D., M.Ed., A.S.D. Cert. Developmental and Behavioral Specialist and Associates