B1 Intermediate UK 66 Folder Collection
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Go into any bookstore in your city, and stop by the self-help section.
What will you see?
Heaps of productivity lifehacks, tips on getting more done (with less), and time management
advice.
The truth is, these topics are not relevant anymore.
What's relevant today?
Attention management.
It may be the most critical skill of this century.
It used to be that humans craved knowledge.
When the industrial revolution began, people switched from manual labor to knowledge workers.
People with specific skills and information suddenly became scarce, valuable, and were
competed for.
Today, information is abundant.
And because the human brain cannot digest it all, attention becomes the scarce resource.
Thomas H. Davenport defined attention as: “Focused mental engagement on a particular
item of information.
Items come into our awareness, we attend to a particular item, and then we decide whether
to act.”
There's a limited supply of attention, yet there's an ever-increasing demand for it
from media, social networks, and (let's be honest) the whole web.
Yet, there is only so much a human brain can focus on; recently, scientists figured out
that it's only one task at a time (there's a switching cost to multi-tasking).
Think to yourself, reading this sentence right now.
You're not doing anything else.
I've got your attention.
As Economics 101 teaches us, anything that's scarce — has value.
We live in a world that's slowly changing from classical economics to the 'attention
economy.'
Soon enough, you'll be literally paying me attention.
What matters today is not how you treat your time and schedule, but where we focus our
mental energy.
And what, as a result, you focus on and surround your life with.
People say they don't have time.
It's not true.
You, me, and Kim Kardashian — we all have the same 24 hours at our disposal.
We're just allocating them in different ways.
The problem with most self-help books on time management is that authors wrote them for
the world of the past.
Most of them, like the bestselling Getting Things Done, was written in (and for) the
20th century.
Today, allocating your time towards a particular task doesn't guarantee that it will receive
the proper attention due to constant disruptions and interruptions.
Hence, you've got to make the switch from time management to attention management.
Recently, I started to feel overwhelmed.
Having to work two different remote-jobs, plus writing and allocating time for personal
projects is difficult.
So I automatically, on impulse, started to apply the old time-management techniques on
myself.
I would wake up earlier.
I would separate my day into 3–4 different chunks and try to cram various projects until
I realized that it just doesn't work.
I couldn't get anything done, and I got tired constantly.
Why?
Because time allocation is not as important as attention allocation.
I learned a few things: Focusing on a task is returning to it every
48 hours.
If it takes longer, it's not in the 'focus zone.'
There is a cap of 2 different tasks that you can do within a single day.
I learned that it's not the work that exhausted me the most, but the switching between different
types of work.
Workweek should be for work.
And personal projects should be taken care of on my own time (e.g., on weekends and holidays).
The more creative a task is, the earlier you should work on it.
I am a morning person, so I strive to write before breakfast.
Stillness breeds focus.
Just telling yourself to do a specific activity five minutes longer than usual can help create
stillness, and it leads to high-quality focus.
With the overflow of information and slow transition into the attention economy, the
ability for deep focus becomes a superpower.
Very few people can do it.
If you look at my takeaways, you'll notice that I said you could only handle two different
tasks per day, and you've got to return to a job every 48 hours to keep it in the
'focus zone.'
This means that your total focus is four projects, max.
And less is more in this case.
It's only the deep focus, the 'deep work,' as Cal Newport calls it, that leads to high-quality
results and productivity.
Dedicate 2020 to mastering this vital skill.
You'll thank yourself later.
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Today’s Most Important Skill

66 Folder Collection
jeremy.wang published on March 30, 2020
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