Facilitator

Roger Lewis

Description

Attention management skills are essential to flourish in an era of ‘self-regulated leadership’. 

The speed of change and the pace of the information age has created a paradox – “A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention” (Herbert Simon). The skill most needed in this era of ‘knowledge work’ is not more time management, but better attention management. In an age of information overwhelm, control of attention is the ultimate individual power, the ability to focus on the one key thing that for the moment transcends all others in importance and relevance. 

In most organisations, the single most significant cause of attention distraction comes from face-to-face interruptions. Because they involve social, mental, physical and emotional channels, their power to distract, divert and disrupt attention are enormous. Yet organisations are complex systems that require constant communication to function. The challenge is to differentiate between necessary interactions and needless interruptions. 

The myth of multi-tasking has already been disproved, since it is clearly not possible for the brain to engage in two simultaneous tasks, both of which require significant cognitive engagement. What is described as multi-tasking is actually attention switching, which in turn is simply context switching. As an attention management strategy, it is a failure, as far from improving efficiency, it degrades mental clarity and depletes mental energy. 

This workshop shows how to create strong attention routines, why directing clear communication lines protects individual attention from unnecessary disruption, and why batch processing and work bursts are crucial tools to reduce productivity loss caused by attention switching.

Learning Outcomes

Participation in this workshop will enable you to:

  • recognise why focus comes not when you block out your time, but when you book in your attention
  • set strong personal attention routines for daily focus
  • successfully direct, defend and sustain your attention
  • triage interruption codes to filter and limit attention disruption
  • use interactive agendas to eliminate unnecessary interruptions
  • recognise why organisation-wide DND (Do Not Disturb) protocols and Protected Times are vital for attention
  • use batch processing as a key tool to minimise attention switching
  • recognise why self-interruption is a primary cause of attention switching
  • establish an appropriate work burst cycle for optimal performance.

Content

  • Creating attention routines
  • Directing communication lines
  • Minimising attention switching

I can get so much more done in a day, and feel much more satisfied about the work I do. I can also sleep through the night - less stressed. 

More appropriate handling of interruptions is having a positive effect in the team. Attention bookmarking is allowing me to pick back up tasks more quickly.

Batch processing has been very effective for me. It allows me to mix up my day better - having periods of intense concentration, but following these with a batch of what I call 'grunt work'. It's a lot more sustainable to work in this way.