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Pay Attention and Accomplish More

Posted by Brian Spence on May 29, 2019 8:00:00 AM

Career Advice, ProductivityWhether you're a worker bee or the boss bee, everyone wants to operate at maximum productivity. Even the most successful of us would say that they need to increase work product. Time management has been a buzz phrase for a long time. If you type it into a search engine, in half a second there are over four billion results. With those kind of resources available, why are we not the most efficient people on the planet? 

What's Wrong with Time Management?

Time management strategies are perfectly valid, but budgeting time to increase productivity doesn't always work. Adam Grant, organizational psychologist, best selling author and professor at the Wharton School says he knows the reason: "Often our productivity struggles are caused not by a lack of efficiency, but a lack of motivation." Grant maintains that what we need to manage is not time, but attention. The things we have to do and the things we like to do don't often coincide. The folks whose work combine the two are the luckiest workers in the world.

Motivation Equals Reward

When your heart's not in it, productivity is impeded when we have to force ourselves to complete a task. When you look at a project and think of the effort required to finish it, all you feel is dread so you need to adjust your attention, not your time. Both productivity and quality will suffer if you resent what you are doing.

Give yourself a reward at the end of the task. Small or large, knowing that something pleasant or fun awaits you at the end of the journey gives you energy and boosts your resolve to finish. If you have any doubts, just consider that even the laziest, most uninspired adolescent can learn the driver's handbook at lightning speed because of the resulting reward - the ability to drive.

Use Your Body Clock - WHEN Is Important

You are aware how your energy ebbs and flows during the day, early bird or night owl, you have periods when you know you can power through something and when it's a struggle just to answer an email. Use this to your advantage. Leverage your attention to focus on the most demanding things. In a study conducted by Grant, he found that boredom will short-circuit motivation if tasks are performed after an interesting episode.

Distractions can rob your capacity to perform. If you find you are using social media to put off a task, don't delete all your accounts; adjust your schedule so that you can ignore the temptations while you are doing the most mundane work. It's easy to avoid distractions when your focus in on something you like.

If you have additional interest in this or related topics, visit the Career Advice or Productivity sections of our blog. If you are interested in learning about new job opportunities, we can help you with that as well.


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Staffing Plus is a premier healthcare staffing firm that provides temporary, per diem, temp-to-hire and permanent Staffing Solutions for Behavioral Health, Education, and Healthcare settings. We have leveraged decades of experience to assist organizations with the challenges of managing their HR and Recruiting needs.