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Optimizing Our Attention, Not Time

Ideas on balancing entrepreneurial drive with wellness, bringing to life new ideas while living well

Just Rolling with It

October 28 · Issue #69 · View online
Pursuing our dreams, not theirs.

Ideas on balancing entrepreneurial drive with wellness, bringing to life new ideas while living well ourselves and making space for what matters in a well-balanced life.

I wrote about the cult of productivity a couple weeks ago. I’ve been thinking about this for a while now.
A billboard in my neighborhood sparked the recent round of thoughts. It’s for a time-tracking application. The tagline is “Where did time go?”.
The billboard is colorful and playful. It appears to be aimed at Millennials.
I feel sad when I see it.
Are we training a new generation to be assembly line workers? That’s what I equate time tracking to.
How many tasks can we complete in a given time period? This measures time-based productivity. Increasing the number of tasks we can complete in a given time period is the goal of optimizing time.
Henry Ford pioneered this approach. Society embraced it. The Dream rewards it.
I used to buy into this definition of productivity. I listened to the 10+ CD (yes, CD!) version of Getting Things Done while commuting during my life as a “management consultant”.
I tracked time in 6-minute increments as a law firm consultant. It’s then I discovered how time tracking -

  • Misaligned incentives in a client/consultant relationship
  • Was to my health (therapy helped me figure this one out!)
It’s then I discovered how much more powerful optimizing attention is. Optimizing attention optimizes -

  • Where we place our attention, i.e. priority setting
  • How much attention we place on each priority
Making this shift helps me feel a lot happier in my work. I’ll discuss this more next week.
How about you? Do you optimize your time or attention?
Let me know by replying directly to this email.
Catch you next week, with my gratitude,
Semi-Random Thoughts
I’m trying to restart the JRWI podcast. I recorded one last year for a while and enjoyed the experience. Many people still listen to it when they discover JRWI. It feels like there’s an interest in me restarting it.
An app called Anchor promises to make it easy. Hopefully it does, as the admin burden of publishing the previous podcast is the main reason I stopped doing it.
I’m planning to record short “behind the scenes” episodes of the daily experiences and emotions that shape JRWI. Does this sound beneficial to you? If so, what would you like to hear discussed?
Image of the Week
Follow me on Instagram for more photos like this.
Current Reading List
The Abundance of Less: Lessons in Simple Living from Rural Japan by Andy Couturier
Music of the Week
MIX SESSION #20 | Tom Jay by Houseum | Free Listening on SoundCloud
Follow me on Soundcloud to discover all the music I listen to.
Podcast of the Week
Brené Brown: Can We Gain Strength From Shame? : NPR
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