Compartmentalizing my attention

Jason Fried wrote an awesome post yesterday about the difference between time and attention. A lot of people will say they don't have enough time or are too busy, when in fact they mean they don't have the attention span. I too try to catch myself when I say I'm busy, and instead create opportunities to provide an appropriate amount of attention to others given time constraints.

My attention is roughly divided into three modes:

  • My base attention mode is via email: My email attention span can range between a few seconds or up to around 5 sentences
  • If I don't have a fixed location: Or what I call location agnostic - I have attention span for emails and Skype/Hangout/FaceTime calls for up to 1 hour (though I prefer 15 or 30 minutes)
  • If I'm at a fixed location: (for example during the cohort): I have attention span for emails, Skype/Hangout/FaceTime calls for up to 1 hour (though I prefer 30 minutes), or face to face meetings for up to 1 hour.

When I'm in cohort, I try to funnel everything to email or fixed location attention modes. When I'm out of cohort, I switch to email and non-fixed location modes.

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