attentional focus cognitive readiness Feb 07, 2024

It’s the start of your day.

So, you check on your emails. You’ve cleaned up quite a few with responses, deletes, and folder moves.

Next you jump back on the presentation that needs to be done by the end of the day. You’ve typed a few more slides, found a couple of good pictures, and added the graph. Good to go.

Now it’s lunch, but where did the time go? Oh that’s right, you had two phone calls, nonstop messages from your work friend, and that guy from accounting stopped you at the coffee machine.

Four hours to wrap up a few slides and send a few emails!

Whatever, you’re back from lunch, and now the real work begins. You check that presentation one last time, and… it’s a total mess.

What in the world!?!?

Your Brain’s Problem

Your brain doesn’t work that way. Your morning was you (and your brain) jumping all over the place. You didn’t focus. You didn’t give attention to your work.

Context switching is when you shift your attention between different tasks, thoughts, or projects. It's harmful to your work, making you less productive and more stressed.

Multitasking | noun | screwing up several things at once.

Distractions fill our world: bells, dings, alarms, shiny objects, and squirrels, lots and lots of squirrels. Boredom is a beast, especially at work. On top of that, people are always grasping for your attention.

Memory Strength

Build a strong memory; you‘ll be able to get back to your work after a distraction. By remembering where you left off, you’ll be able to pick back up when you context switch out and back in.

Definitely use those good organizational skills you’ll read about in context switching articles, but build your memory so you don’t miss a beat.

Your memory will help you stay calm when someone interrupts you. You won’t get frustrated when an unimportant, meaningless alert dings.


Improve your working memory. It can only hold a few pieces of information at a time. The number of pieces is 7 +/-2, depending on who you are, and the time is between 15 and 30 seconds. So, as you were distracted over and over again, you weren’t retaining the information you needed for say building that presentation.

Attention is the first and key ingredient to memory, learning, and problem solving. If you’re bored or distracted you’re missing out on new memories and new learnings. Plus, you're adding more problems to the problems your trying to solve.

If you're at work and ‘forget’ something later on, it will come back to haunt you, leading to mistakes or the look of incompetence.


Now, get back to that presentation. Block out the time, turn your status to busy, and use the focus app on your phone. Work on it for 55 minutes then take a break. Try blocking out your time in either 25 minute or 55 minute increments. Give yourself 5 minutes, between each block, to stretch your legs and reset your brain for the next task.

Stop degrading your brain and mental function, and start lowering stress. Get more done and free up your time. Leave work at work so you can focus on your friends and family.

Mental clarity is your best tool. Attentional Focus is another good, high-level topic to research more.

Do you have your memory systems in place?

No? Build your first memory system right now, with this free guide:Ā 5 Steps to Your First Memory System.

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