More and more leaders are rethinking the conventional wisdom about time management and workplace productivity. Instead of time management, they’re focusing on attention management—and not without reason.

I’m not opposed to time management, but it has its limitations. After all, we all have the same number of hours each day—so there’s only so much we can do to truly harness and affect time.

Attention management is more empowering. It’s all about learning to recognize how your attention is spent—focusing it on value-adding activities, not letting it get stolen by distractions.

A Beginner’s Guide to Attention Management

If you think that sounds appealing, well, you’re hardly alone. Still, you may wonder how to get started with attention management. Here are some guidelines.

Put your health first. Attention management starts with some basic self-care. Simply put, if you keep yourself healthy and energized, you’ll be in a better position to direct your attention. My recommendations: Sleep! Make time for those eight hours each night. And, eat a good diet—including a healthy breakfast, not just sugar and carbs.

Be the boss of your personal device. Don’t allow your phone to suck all your attention with its endless notifications and alerts. Switch off any that aren’t absolutely, utterly life-and-death necessary.

Put boundaries in place. I admire leaders who have open door policies. In fact, it’s something I recommend. But you also need to safeguard some time to work, distraction-free—and that may mean closing your door, shutting off your phone, logging out of your email inbox, etc.

Protect some free time for yourself. Schedule some time throughout your week to work out, spend time with family, or simply relax. Take this seriously. Treat these appointments with yourself just like you’d treat appointments with a client or a colleague.

Get your mind right. Break out of your multi-tasking habits, and instead force yourself to diligently work on just one task at a time. One recommendation: Set a timer for 10 minutes, and make yourself focus on just one task for that stretch of time.

Make the Move to Attention Management

If you’ve discovered that some time management hacks come up short, it may be time for you to shift gears to attention management. I’d love to talk with you more about the different options for ensuring personal productivity, whether attention management or something else. Reach out to Dr. Rick Goodman at or 888-267-6098.

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