Why You Must Protect Your Attention

Your attention—your ability to concentrate on something—is a finite resource, which is depleted when used on activities and decisions and replenished when you rest, relax, and sleep. You can’t be in “concentration mode” forever; you must let go and rest.

No one is on concentration mode 24/7. You use your attention on activities and decisions and then you must let go and rest. And repeat the cycle.

Ultimately, where you place your attention determines the result you get. To control your results, you must become intentional about the activities and decisions that get your attention.

Have you ever noticed how exhausted you get when you have to focus on (i.e. give your attention to) an activity (or activities) for a long time? Or when you had to make many demanding decisions? You may experience that after a long day of work: when you get home, you don’t want to have to focus too much, especially not on complicated activities and decisions.

You may experience that after a long day of work: when you get home, you don’t want to have to focus too much, especially not on complicated activities and decisions.

Some decisions and activities are so demanding that they consume your mind and capture all your attention, so much so that you can’t turn your attention to anything else—and you can even have trouble sleeping.

Turns out that every time you have to make a decision or have to engage in an activity, it takes a little (or a big) piece of your attention. Decision-making makes demands on your attention. Driving, writing, working, and other activities make demands on your attention. All of this draws a little bit (0r a lot) of your concentration power: of your mental energy.

If you’re not careful, in the course of a day, you can get assailed by a slew of trivial decisions and activities that drain you and leave you with no energy to tackle critical decisions and activities.

Thus, the more distractions (i.e. trivial decisions and activities) you can remove from your life the better; it leaves you with more of your attention to allocate to creative activities and meaningful decisions.

If you aspire to get greater results in your life, you must develop the discipline of examining where your attention goes and eliminate all trivial activities and inconsequential decisions.

Wanting to do that, some have decided to eat the same breakfast and wear the same clothes every day. They have eliminated those decisions from their lives: they eat the same breakfast and wear the same clothes every day. That way, they don’t have to waste their concentration power on these decisions. When they wake up, they don’t have to make the decision of what they are going to eat and wear; they just execute on a decision that was made years ago.

Perhaps, what you eat for breakfast and what you wear to work aren’t trivial decisions for you. But to protect your attention, you must find what is and eliminate it.