Your Business Needs to Know – Attentional Intelligence

The average person has around 50,000 thoughts per day – how switched on are we! Actually we’re probably not very switched on at all. Studies show that the average worker spends 2.5-3 hours per day on distractions. Phone calls, Facebook, other staff, texting, emails – the opportunities to have your attention diverted are endless.

This is where Attentional Intelligence comes into the mix, which basically means noticing where your attention is and intentionally choosing where you want it to be. There’s a whole load of research happening on Attentional Intelligence at the moment but from a business perspective, here are some simple steps that you can help your staff implement ASAP to increase productivity:

  • Distraction management plan

Keep a notepad by you for a day and write down a distraction whenever you notice one, so you can get an idea of what distracts you and how often. Take the top 3, and write down a strategy for how each can be circumvented.

For example, if you can’t resist checking your phone when a text pings, turn your phone on mute and place it upside down. This gives you the opportunity to choose when you want to check your phone, instead of your phone diverting your attention when you are trying to work.

  • Prioritise prioritising

At the end of your workday/shift, take 5 minutes to write down what your highest priorities are to complete tomorrow. Then when you start work the next day, you can get straight into your first task when your brain is rested and your attention is sharp.

  • Prime your attention

For most of us, the start of your day/shift is when we are our freshest. Our brains are rested and this is when we generally will have our best focus. Working on that principle, break up your day so that you are best utilising your most focused times. For example, undertaking any big or complicated tasks first up in the morning and only checking emails after lunch and before you finish for the day.

  • Grow your attention muscle

You may already be doing this, but if not – mindfulness exercises are super useful! Not only will working out and finetuning your brain assist in your attentional intelligence at work, you’ll love it for your home life too. There are some great apps you can download for your phone that have daily mindfulness exercises, and heaps of tutorials online too.