Refining the things that ask for my attention

May 06, 2016

Attention is limited, and what you give your attention to defines who you are as a person. Be it work, family, TV, video games, social media, it’s all on the table. What you do in secret, or when no one is watching, defines you in the end.

Since I have a limited attention, I don’t want to spend it on things that don’t rank high on my priority list. I want to make sure the most important things in my life get the most attention.

This takes discipline, though, and you have to recognize what you believe to be your top priorities. Mine are: Prayer/Bible, Wife, Work, Side Work, Exercise, Social Activity (in that order). All other things that try to affect my time that aren’t on this list should be ignored or at least minimized.

This is a rough list, and it is flexible, but those are the things that I want to spend time on day-in and day-out. On a typical work day, I could afford to give at least an hour to each of those things (other than work). If I was paying attention to other things that distract me, it would take away from the most important things to me.

I want to be frank and clear about what is most important to me, because if you aren’t, your priorities will blend and you will make mistakes with your time. This is especially the case when it involves people. If I prioritize work over my wife, that will affect her negatively. If I prioritize social activity over work, I won’t get much work done. If I prioritize anything over prayer/bible time, it would affect me negatively.

It also helps me to organize my priorities because it forces me to stick to a set list of things that I should be spending my time on. If I find myself not spending time on one of these things, should I be doing it?

Also, since attention is limited, I want to make sure I give attention to things that take the most energy and creativity first thing in the morning. That’s why I have been getting up at 5 AM (soon 4 AM) to frontload my day with the things that I want to accomplish. Then, in the evenings, I can focus on things that are low energy, but I can be at ease because I know I got the things done for the day that I wanted to.

In other news, I would like to keep a technical blog that goes over the things that I learn over time at work and on the side. It won’t be daily, but it will help me document things so I can reference back to them.