I’m not the most efficient or productive person, but I do try to be intentional with my time.
The thing I’m learning, though, is that it’s equally (if not more important) to consider how I manage my attention.
Fortunately, there’s an app for that.
Best Productivity App of All Time
There is a button on every smartphone for this. Whether you have an iPhone, Android, Samsung, or any other brand, you have this button. Every smartphone comes with this. And it’s the best productivity app.
It’s probably a law. If it is, it’s a good one.
The button you need to press is the off switch. Shut the darn thing off.
Then, you can work much more productively. Because you can pay attention.
Attention Matters As Much As Time
After all, I can use my time to attend a meeting, but my attention can be elsewhere. I can be thinking of where to go to lunch, how I’m going to prepare for another meeting, or I can be reading and writing email.
This is a challenge even when working alone in a rare quiet moment because there is a need to fight the Pavlovian response to notifications of all kinds.
Everything wants to notify me, it seems. The apps don’t just want my time, they are demanding my attention.
Some of the stuff I’m notified about is important. Some is interesting. Some is fun and/or funny.
Just like one of Pavlov’s dogs, I’m conditioned to respond. The buzzer is heavily associated with some kind of treat.
Fighting this urge, however, is becoming an increasingly crucial strategy in managing my attention.
Taking stock of the “signal to noise ratio” or how many of the notifications are actually important makes it clear that most of the stuff literally doesn’t suffer one bit if my attention to it is delayed for a few minutes…or even a few hours.
Still it can be difficult to resist the urge to see what the notification is about.
So I put the phone aside when I want to manage my attention more carefully. I press the “best productivity app” button and shut it off.
If I go to a meeting without my phone, there is no urge to respond to a notification because there are no notifications. Moreover, I can’t check my phone for any reason because it it’s off. It’s locked in “super productivity mode.”
It works like a charm. Whether for a meeting, a lunch gathering, or working alone on a project, if I have my phone switched into productivity mode, I can better sync up how I’m spending my attention more with how I’m spending my time.
I highly recommend that you give this a try. When there is something on your calendar that is important to you – a big meeting, and important lunch, or your kid’s soccer game – and you want to be more fully present, go there with your time and your attention.
Put your phone into super productivity mode. Or better yet, just leave it behind. Leave it in your coat, in your office, or in your car.
See what you notice when you’re fully present rather than worry about notifications that will only distract you from fully being there.