One post that has really resonated with me in the past few years is Jason Fried’s The difference between time and attention post. In it, he writes that it’s not really the time we lack, but attention.
I love this post because it holds true on so many levels. If you lack the time for something, it’s easy to find more time as long as you’re willing to make sacrifices for it — so really, it has less to do with time than the attention we’re willing to give as a result of the things we value. After all, time without attention is just time wasted.
The problem that most of us have is how we spend our attention.
I wrote about decision fatigue a short while ago, which talks about how our brains are only capable of making several great decisions in a period of time before it’ll fatigue, with every decision happening thereafter more error-prone. I believe a similar concept likewise exists for attention: our brain being capable of giving only so much attention to a number of things before it fatigues.
Remember the last time when you had to study for something for work or at school for the entire day and by the end of that day, felt drained and mentally exhausted?
That’s our attention fatiguing.
You add in the incessant social media notifications and emails we get on an hourly basis, paired with stressors from work or school and all our every day distractions, and you’ll realize that it’s no surprise that we’re lacking in attention.
Most of our attention throughout the day is spent on things that don’t really matter and as a result, make many of us feel like our days are passing by us without feeling like we’ve ever achieved or accomplished anything.
It’s not time that we lack, but attention and if we want more attention to spend on things that matter, we have to start by letting go of the things that don’t.