A recent article in Forbes Magazine outlined four steps for leveraging Attention Management to increase your productivity:
1) Let go of others’ expectations
You’ve planned and prioritized your work, and know what you need to do. Suddenly you receive an urgent email. You don’t have to be reactive. Answer emails, texts, and voicemails when it is convenient for you.
Productivity Tip: Add a line to your email signature reading, “I check messages periodically. If this is urgent, call me at…”
2) Don’t over-schedule
If you fill your calendar with back-to-back meetings and calls, you won’t have time to process them. Schedule downtime in between meetings to sort through notes and plan your next steps.
This helps with attention management because it keeps you from feeling overwhelmed and can make your time more manageable.
3) Turn off notifications or Turn on Focus Features
Many devices now have focus features to mute the noise from interruptions so you can be productive. The constant email and message notifications break you out of a flow state and can spread your attention too thin. Turn off your notifications and the read receipts on messages to remove the urge to reply.
You can’t ignore your email, but if it’s open and you’re checking each new message, you’ll be back and forth between tasks all day and not present with what must be done.
4) Begin your day in your task list instead of your email
Many people look at their email first thing in the morning, sometimes while still in bed. If you begin your day with your task list and not your inbox, you will maintain your attention on the items most important to your success and avoid the distractions and interruptions that aren’t part of your plan.
You can check your email after you’ve reviewed your plan for the day and know what you need to do.
Productivity tip: Use a task manager to organize and prioritize your goals and responsibilities. Here’s a great list from Techradar for useful task manager apps.