Have you ever been in the middle of task, then switched over to check a quick text, shoot an email or answer the phone?
What Is Attention Residue?
Even if it only took you a couple minutes, your full attention has been broken and subconsciously you will be “stuck” on that other task for a period of time after.
This occurrence is known as “attention residue” and hinders work performance and efficiency.
Your team may be suffering from the same phenomena. Whether they’re trying to multitask or are being interrupted by colleagues asking for favors, it takes away their full focus and ability to do their best work.
The best way to control attention residue is to eliminate or reduce the causes:
Close Your Email.
Email accounts for nearly 25% of attention residue distractions. Every time you see or hear a notification, your concentration is broken.
Simply close your email and turn off notification while you’re working on a separate task. Dedicate a period of time each day solely for email, rather than skimming through and replying periodically throughout the day.
Give Yourself Free Days from Calls and Meetings.
Where possible, organize your calls and meetings to certain days of the week. Rather than having one or two every day of the week, condense them into Mondays and Fridays or some other schedule that works for you.
Even a 30 minute call in the middle of the day can disturb your workflow and set you on another tangent than the one you really need to prioritize.
Silence your phone, exit any chats or communication applications, and give your full attention to the task at hand. Doing so takes some serious mental discipline. But with practice, it will become easier.
Change Your Workspace.
Sometimes you just need a change of scenery. If you’re prone to working in one spot all the time, try moving to a new spot, get a standing desk or take your work to a coffee shop. The change of setting breaks up the monotony and will refocus you.
Go for a Walk.
Physical movement gives you the ability to clear your mind, so you can get back to work with more focus, creativity and hopefully a fresher perspective.
In between tasks, especially those that are completely unrelated, take a walk. It’s a good opportunity to reset your mind and hit the “restart” button.
Take Periodic Breaks.
Have you ever hit a roadblock and instead of giving yourself a moment, you just sit there trying to rack your brain but ultimately end up getting nowhere? Taking a break isn’t a waste of time — it’s necessary and vital to your problem-solving, creativity and sanity!
During your breaks, avoid adding new attention residue that can arise from checking your email, getting on social media, taking a call or having a conversation with a colleague.
The point of a break is to disconnect and refresh, not add fuel to the fire!
How do you reduce attention residue?
Did we miss any important tips? Let us know in the comments below!