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Tania Barney
Tania Barney is director of Sensory Intelligence Consulting's UK branch and a registered occupational therapist

7 August 2017 | Tania Barney

Still struggling with time management for yourself and your team? 

Feeling overwhelmed by the ‘To Do’ list? You are not alone. Perhaps it’s time for a different approach.

One of the most common complaints I hear from managers is how busy they are. Have we become afflicted with “death by to-do lists?” While we enjoy the advantages of technology, there has never been a time when we were so overwhelmed with the expectation of instant communication. 

No doubt you’ve read a book about time management, attended a training session and used some sort of system to try to list, organise and prioritise all the things that you and the team have to do. 

Should we be managing our time? Or is it better to think about how we manage our attention? Managing our attention allows us to work at our most productive so we can achieve what matters the most. In turn, we can end each day knowing that we’ve made the most of the time that we have available.

5 Top tips for attention management:

1. Be clear: What are the most important tasks for the day? Get everybody in the team to begin each day by getting clear on this. Write it down, use it as a screensaver, whatever works best. Check back to this across the day.

2. Stay focused: Keep staff focused on this list during the day. Time-block tasks, turn off the phone, don’t get distracted by the constant emails (unless it’s their key job to do these things).

3. Teach the team how to monitor their alertness: Do they need to increase or decrease their alertness? Working in the zone of optimal attention enables everyone to work productively.

4. Regular breaks: These help everyone to stay focused, a bit of movement thrown in also helps to manage alertness.

5. Working environment: Where do you and your team do their best work? In silence? With music? Office too hot or too cold? Think about how the environment affects everyone’s work.

Tania Barney is director of Sensory Intelligence Consulting’s UK branch and a registered occupational therapist