I have been a user of OmniFocus for a really long time. There are a lot of things I love about the platform and of course there are others that I don’t and even some that simply annoy me. I am planning to create some post on it, try to come every Thursday with some lines on why, what or even how get the most out of your OmniFocus.
Today I am going to talk about: Managing your Attention.
The reality is that many of us have way to many projects, agreements, dreams, hopes, ideas and tasks in our plates. We tend to take into much more than what we can do and process on a week (even on a month – and we do it daily). Traditional time management is failing because old ways to process and organized stuff can’t cope with the speed we are getting the information. Add to that the fact that in many cases, with the access of technology we have little (if any) physical contexts and most of what we can do happen @Anywhere.
One of the important things I have learned over the years is to manage my attention, and learn to identify where my attention actually is. It is not that there are not other important things in my plate, but many times my attention is really on something that it is not even important and relevant. There is nothing I can do about it, other than identify it so I can move on – or in many cases to act on it.
The reality is that sometime taking care of this little annoyances that are not important allow me to focus much more in the tasks that are really important. We don’t notice how much little things distract us, and sometimes it is easier, faster and more efficient to take care of them than allow them on our brain simply distracting us.
Part of my review on OmniFocus (that I will cover on a future post) I do this exercise daily.
Get a piece of paper (or a clean page on the digital device of your choice) and just dump everything that it is on your mind. I do this the first thing in the morning, as I begin to sip coffee.
Write everything, from that project that it is so obvious that it is in your mind because you are betting everything on it, to buy baby food and change bulb on the storage. Anything that have your attention at that moment should make it to the list.
After you do that, and nothing else occurs to you, you will see what really had your attention. The important thing is to notice patterns, if that bulb on the storega has show up more than once, it is time that you take care of it, even if it is not that important. If for nothing else, to clear your attention to stuff that it is much more important.
Also make sure that nothing in this lists isn’t on your OmniFocus. If there is anything, simply add it to the inbox.
You may ask, what did has to do with OmniFocus? Well you will discover that many of the things that your attention is focusing on are contain into your system, it is just that becasue your current setup you are not putting where you can execute them. My goal is over the next weeks show you a trick or two on how to accomplish that. In the mean time, continue trying to maintain your attention where your attention is. One trick in the mean time it is only to “flag” those items that your attention is.