Written by: Dez Stephens, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
We are a society full of boundless attention demands made up of individuals with limited attention capacity. On any given day, we have a competing summons from not only our tasks and projects but cell phones, computers, TV, and radio clamoring for our attention. The problem is while information has no limits, human attention does. Our brains are designed to filter out most stimuli, focusing on just a few things at once. Despite the myth of multitasking, neuroscience research tells us the brain doesn’t do tasks simultaneously. We switch jobs quickly.
There are multitudinous resources and tips on time management, but realistically we are all given the same 24-hour span. Yet, many are seemingly able to accomplish more than others in their day. Task management, a way to break up a project into a series of more minor actions to completion, is perhaps a better skill to possess. Ultimately, what we need to practice is attention management.
With the technological advancements that allow for information explosion, attention is one of the scarcest and most precious resources at our disposal. We are not taught that we must manage our attention just as we do other important treasures. If we don’t, we often end up feeling overwhelmed, ineffective and even defeated.
Here are five practices that you can begin using today to manage your attention deficiency:
1. As with many programs of recovery, acceptance is the first step. Accept without judgment that we can’t pay attention to everything we are presented with. There is too much information for any of us to handle. Instead, consider the big picture, the ultimate goal, and think whether your attention to a task will get you closer to your destination.
2. Start your day with a clear plan. There is an impulse to try and do everything at once, which can lead to a disaster. Prioritize and make prioritizing your priority. Know what matters most and devote your time, energy, and attention to those things. Your focus would be to take a little undisturbed time each daily to evaluate what the potential demands of your attention might be.
3. Breathe. Oprah has said one thing she knows for sure is that your breath is your anchor. She said, “It’s the gift we’ve all been given to center ourselves in this very moment.” Nothing is more effective than a deep, slow inhale and release for surrendering what you can’t control and focusing your attention on what’s in front of you.
4. None of us are built to run nonstop. Too much stress on the body will cause it to shut down. Relaxation is vital in creating pockets of tranquility instead of being overcome with exhaustion or even illness. A vacation is not required, unplug the phone, turn off the computer and TV, avoids traffic jams, and finds space within your home or room that allows you to shut out the outside world. Fill the tub with bubbles, read, write, listen to music…nature feeds the soul, so even a walk in your neighborhood may provide the peace and relaxation you desire.
5. Finally, when combatting attention deficiency, nourish your senses. As infants, we meet the world entirely through our senses – looking, tasting, touching, smelling, and listening with our whole beings. With so many things competing for our attention, we rarely take the time to be in the present moment. We take our senses for granted and to solve problems or pursue goals. We overlook the many pleasures and wonders of simply being alive. Stop and smell the roses and everything else; wake up your taste buds; look at your landscape at different times of day, and allow your fingers to embark on a journey of discovery through touch.
Attention deficiency is a real dilemma of modern life that often robs us of focusing on things that will help us have the life we truly desire. In the daily bombardment of stimuli from every direction, we can still create moments of stillness and peace.
Dez Stephens, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Dez Stephens is the Founder + CEO of Radiant Coaches Academy, a social enterprise and prominent international coach training school that certifies individuals to create vibrant, professional, private practices as holistic life coaches, wellness coaches, and business coaches. She is a certified + credentialed coach, master trainer, and marketing strategist. Dez is a social justice entrepreneur, a people's advocate, and planetary activist. She is a co-executive producer of the documentary film "End of the Line: The Women of Standing Rock," highlighting Native women fighting to keep clean water on their Native lands in North Dakota and beyond. She is both passionate and sincere in helping people live more meaningful lives as a dedicated global humanitarian and social entrepreneur.