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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Attention or Time Management

Flying over India returning from Mumbai to Chennai, I was browsing the Jet Airways magazine. Often filled with travel recommendations and shopping suggestions, these in-flight magazines have only created a browsing pleasure. But, this magazine had a topic on achieving more with less perking my interest to explore.

It was an interesting read as the article began discussing how the time management pretty much shouldn't be the focus of smart managers. Instead, the article focused on attention management. Based on the time of the day, people can manage difficult tasks that require deep thinking,  strategy, etc when their attention to detail is at the peak. Then, as the energy winds down, their attention takes a deep dive. This time should be used for tasks that require less critical thinking.  Between these extremes is the reactive attention seeking timezone that should be used for other tasks that require a balance of the two.

I agree that it is a good idea and that tasks require different levels of thinking. For instance, planning for the project, evaluating strategies to grow account, or  grooming the product backlog with new features based on the market and reactions from customers and users require thinking different from task or resource management.

However,  the article said the urgency of the tasks shouldn't be a criteria for attention management.  This begs some thinking as depending upon the role of an individual manager,  the urgency of the task, such as a grieving customer on the phone, an infrastructure deficiency leading to business continuity management,  or a delayed or poor quality work impacting deployment readiness of a project is not something that can be ignored.

The earlier approach on using Scrumban to think a couple of steps ahead and plan can be combined with attention management to better compartmentalize take at hand and energy/attention requirements to better manage productivity.


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