Updated: Mar 14, 2020
We always talk about time management, tons of lectures on time management, but we all know we could be sitting in a meeting and having attention on something outside the meeting. So where does our attention go ...
Seven Aspects of Attention
There are in fact seven aspects, creating a stack of mandate on your attention, as the urgency and priority increases with moving down the stack, the importance grows with moving up the stack. While these could look like grand life stages, they are in fact all relevant in each moment of everyday life. Ignoring something that needs your attention, makes it difficult if not impossible to put your attention on something from a layer above.
7.1 Grand objective and personal purpose
6.2 Vision and long term plans
5.3 External imprints (communication, written and verbal)
4.4 Passion and creativity
3.5 Duties and responsibilities
2.6 Interactions and Relationships
1.7 Health and well-being
With An Example
Let’s make it practical, and focus on the example of: Sitting in a meeting and trying to communicate your idea. We follow the same example throughout the description below, so you have a reference in your mind. If you want, you can consider a recent example vividly in your mind and check where your attention naturally was
7.1 (Health and well-being) Imagine you are sitting in a meeting and you are simply hungry or have a headache, or you are too stressed, your heart beat is high, such that you don’t feel well, then you know immediately that is where your attention naturally is. The priority is to take care of your well being obviously. Maybe you should step out of the meeting or in many cases simply take few deep breath to feel well. Only when you are feeling well, you can attend to the interaction/ relation. Moving up the stack...
6.2 (Interactions and Relationships) If you are in a meeting, you are feeling well physically, but you don’t feel at ease in your interaction with other people in the meeting. This will eat up your energy (and can soon transfer to some physical symptoms, tunnel vision, headache, elevated heart beat) and you will not really focus on the exchange. If you feel intimidated in the interaction, attend to that (use the sample instruction I gave) so you can actually focus on the task in hand. Women in technology have all without exception been challenged at one point in this layer, but certainly it is not only limited to women). When you have got a grip on this, then you can move up the stack....
5.3 (Duties and responsibilities) If you are in the meeting, you are feeling well, and at ease in the interaction, but the task in hand is outside your capability, or you hate what you are doing, it will quickly make you feel guilt and stress, it will affect your sense of well-being and you are back to step 1 again and since in reality your attention is at step one, rest assure your interaction will be impacted too. (Let me know if you need a sample instruction here, how to attend to this layer ). When you have got this sorted, then you can move up the stack....
4.4 (Passion and creativity) This is the heart of the stack, passion and creativity come from this level. If you are 1.well, you are 2.at ease in the interaction, the 3.task is challenging in a right way, then you have space for your passion and creativity to come out. Creativity can manifest then directly in your work, or in adjacent area in your life. If you want to be creative in an area and nothing flows, check your stack (let me know if we need sample instruction here). Then Naturally you move up the stack....
3.5 (External imprints (communication, written and verbal)) Having the four aspects above sorted out, you are ready to leave your imprint, your original signature, your true contribution, which leaves you fulfilled. Fulfilment comes from this layer. Think about when you felt fulfilled, most probably it was when you packaged and delivered your own creation whether it was a smart powerful argument in a discussion, an IvD, a published paper, a unique contribution or a thesis, or a piece of art,... Perfect delivery of message builds on: you feeling well, being at ease in the interaction with who ever you are interacting with, have a good grip on the task, and being energetic and passionate about what you want to say. If you have got it all, there is no way that you don’t claim space.
This is where majority are expressing the challenge of “claiming space”. We talked about powerful communication being “mechanic of presentation skills” from one side, and “taking space” from the other side. Taking space is the product of having 4 other elements in place. Then you are ready for moving up the stack ....
2.6 (Vision and long term plans) When you have all the other five aspects above in place, your vision and long term plan is the next that craves your attention. Many times we believe we have a vision, a target and goal to work toward but we don’t get to implement it. Once again to sit down and brake down a target, you should be able to articulate and communicate it with someone else. To do that you should be energised about it. To be energised about something, you should believe it is also doable and to not put yourself under unnecessary pressure, you should be at ease in your relation and interactions, and the base of it is that you should be feeling safe and well.
1.7 (Grand objective and personal purpose) On top sits your grand life objective and personal purpose. ...., this is all a chapter of its own, I will write about another time.
In essence each layer is impacted directly by the layer above and below.
It is natural that large population are looping between giving attentions to combination of Interactions, Duties, Creativity and Communication which closely influence each other and expand from one layer to another. There are much more that could be written to describe this model, but it will be a theory as long as you don’t experiment with it, so go on, and deliberately find a situation that you feel is draining your energy, examine the stack of your attention from bottom of the stack upward and tune it one layer at the time.
Go ahead and experiment with this and let me know if you have any questions.