Spend Your Attention Intentionally & Reduce Stress
There is a sweet simplicity in being present for one thing at a time. So many of us long for what sadly feels like a luxury; to infuse space in our jam packed days. We’ve all heard that time is your most precious resource, heck I’ve said it too. Through research and reflection, I’ve come to see that our most precious resource is not actually time but attention.
If you feel like yours isn’t what it used to be, you’re onto a real trend. New research shows that we now have .44 seconds to grab someones attention online versus the previous 2 seconds. I’ve been working with clients for over 14 years now, and allowing mental habits of busyness to unravel is like the Midas Touch for success. With less clutter in your mind, you can plant ideas that not only grow deep roots, but have the chance to reach for the sun and bloom.
Attention can be defined as:
your ability to select and focus on relevant stimuli, or, how you actively tune-in and tune-out information in your environment.
To understand how this applies to your life, let’s unpack the different types.
The Four Types
Holding and maintaining attention over a period of time. This is required for focus and concentration that you need for learning, listening and comprehension during conversations or while receiving instructions.
When you read or hear words like, concentration, focus or attention, this is Sustained Attention. Your’s is under rapid fire when you’re available 24/7 and accessing social media, email, messages anytime, anywhere.
This happens when you can drill down on a specific task while filtering out distractions both consciously and unconsciously. A great example of this is working in a coffee shop and tuning out the conversations, clanging of dishes and flow of people all around you. Or for the parents reading this, you are well aware of how your kids are masters at this, lol.
We practice Selective Attention for both external (sounds) and internal (random thoughts) stimulus and if you’re good at this, you’re at an advantage for being productive in many situations and congratulations for having healthy boundaries around technology and your focus. you can read more about this on my blog here.
Alternating Attention is needed to make sudden switches in tasks that require using different parts of your brain. You use this a lot as you switch your focus from one unrelated activity to another, like reading your email and then back to writing that business proposal, then watching an instructional video on how to use that new rose quartz gua sha board.
This is the ability to focus on more than one thing simultaneously, like driving and talking or checking email while on a Zoom meeting or listening to a podcast while making a meal. Divided Attention harnesses the power of automatic attention. Driving is an automatic function; you can easily maintain a conversation while driving unless someone swerves in front of you.
I recently did a deep-dive here on my blog on three myths of multitasking, which has been de-bunked as a myth in scientific research.
Reclaiming Your Power
You get to decide what you give both your time and attention to. Your very precious attention is in high demand and what you spend it on determines the quality of your work, your relationships, your mood and your over success. Pretty darn important wouldn’t you say? If you buy into the sentiment that what you do today becomes what you do everyday, then elevating your attention habits deserves your attention.
Here are seven ways to elevate how you spend your attention:
- Minimize environmental distractions
- Create device free zones in your home (great topic for your next Family Meeting)
- Create bedtimes for your screens
- Decrease the stimulation around you (turn off music or tv, dim lights, close your eyes)
- Get outside, nature is grounding & supports a healthy circadian rhythm
- Sit down when you eat
- Check email on a schedule
I love this quote:
Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.
Who and what is deserving of your attention? I hope you make the top of that list and can take something from this blog to support you, your nervous system, your focus and your vision for making a meaningful impact as you work, live and play ON purpose.
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Keep growing, keep going,