Time Management Vs Attention management

Updated: Jun 1, 2020

Are you managing your Attention or your Time?

No matter who you are or where you live, one thing that we all have in common is 24 hours in each day. How we choose to spend those hours is another story.

At To Day List we are big advocates of attention management vs time management. We want all of our customers and Tribe members to get the most out of their day, to feel a sense of achievement and see real progress.


Time is an arbitrary number which does not indicate if you are successful or how you will feel in each moment. There is nothing worse than having a busy day and collapsing in bed at 10pm, reflect on your day and feel like you can't even remember why you were so busy let alone what you achieved.

So what is Attention Management?

Fundamentally it is about your ability to control all of life's distraction and simplify your focus each day. We have all heard the latest buzz words around mindfulness and centering ourselves, well attention management is another term of a similar vein. Being deliberate with our thoughts and actions to achieve incremental progress that over time adds up to lifestyle changes / progress.

To quote a great author, Maura Thomas

Attention management offers the ability to consciously direct your attention in any given moment, to be more proactive than reactive, and to maintain control rather than inadvertently relinquish it. It’s about regaining control over your attention and thereby taking control of your life. Attention management empowers your productivity*.

To Day List Top 3 Tips to help enhance your Attention Management:

1. Use the To Day List to create a proactive daily ritual, reframe priorities and refocus your mind. By chunking down your activities to daily bit size pieces you will help alleviate that 'overwhelming sense' that a never ending To Do List can bear on us all. Be clear on what activities will make you feel accomplished by the end of the day and be sure to balance your To Day List items between; work, personal and self-care. Deliberate attention to each of these will ensure you operate at your best. Life can feel messy when one domain overrules another, so each day do what you can to build in at least oneself-care activity (no matter how big or small).

2. Gain control over your digital notifications. Just as we declutter a wardrobe between seasons, we should also declutter our digital notifications. As the famous Marie Kondo would say 'consider what no longer serves you'.

I am sure we all have apps collecting dust in the back of our digital closet so to speak. Be bold, be brave, take charge and delete them! Start with one a week, and see how you go.

Further to this, take more notice next time a notification flashes at you. Observe how do you respond.

Do you dismiss it, delete it, open in, action it?.. If you receive notifications that you ignore or delete without even reading, I would again encourage you to delete the app, unsubscribe or at the very least turn off the alerts.

You may be surprised just how powerful a digital cleanse can create wonderful clean space in our minds.

Should you not be digitally ready for either of these two, try Do Not Disturb or Aero-plane mode as a way to block out and allocate 'Indistractable' time throughout your day*.

3. Deliberate interruptions. Yes I know this sounds like a contradiction to the point above, but bear with me a moment. Deliberate interruptions is a very different premise to automated push notifications that alerts us at random intervals throughout a day.

Deliberate interruptions are signals or symbols in our environment that can help us re-center. They will also support you transition from one activity or space to another. This is referred to as The Third Space.

An example of this may be between meetings. You may have to take the stairs to go from one meeting room to the next, along the way you pass a window - take a moment to deliberate interrupt yourself. Stop, look out the window and take just one deep breath. This will help slow your mind, gather your thoughts and reset your focus before entering the next meeting.

Another example may be, when at home. If you are in full domestic and home duties; just finished emptying the dishwasher and about to move on to helping the kids with their homework. Sound familiar?

Look for a symbolic object in the house that you can use to deliberate interrupt yourself. It may be a family picture on the bookshelf, plant by the window, ornament on the coffee table or set of keys by the door. Whatever the object is, it doesn't matter so much as having a single physical item that draws your attention between tasks.

We need to deliberately interrupt our longstanding habits or constant rushing, we create a new way of focusing our attention and recapturing our energy. This habit over time, will support you transition between tasks as well as keep your attention in the present. Your mood will lift, as will your attention and quality of engagements with those around you.

What's Next?

Grab yourself a To Day List and take a positive step in improving your attention management.

Thank you from the To Day List team for your support. Like this BLOG, comment below and share with your friends. We are creating a Tribe of To Day Lister's who support each other to be their best. #ToDayListTribe.

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Nat J.


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