Fixed Attention Disorder

It’s more valuable than anything you own, but you can’t buy it and you can’t sell it.

Also it’s one of the most powerful assets you have  . . . and it’s being wasted.

What is it?

It’s your attention.

What is your attention? It’s what you’re aware of, what you’re thinking about right now.

Your attention is like a spotlight with unusual characteristics. What you put your attention on becomes more visible and real to you.

Also if your attention is fixed on problems or pressures, this fact alone attracts more attention, which intensifies the problem.

To be sure, your attention is a powerful asset, but it also can become a liability.

Imagine what it would be like if your attention was mismanaged and not under your control. You’d start feeling scattered and dispersed, running around in circles, stress levels out the roof, the pressure of deadlines, not to mention the ubiquitous economic whip looming on the horizon and you can’t even get anything started let alone get anything done.

Ever feel like this?

If so, you’re afflicted with a hidden, dangerous condition that, unless handled, can ruin your life.

It’s a malady I have termed: Fixed Attention Disorder.

And it is exactly what the words say.

Fixed Attention Disorder works in insidious ways to trap your attention onto the least important things while you frantically struggle to get the important projects done. It’s not something to ignore or take for granted.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

In this article, you’ll find out what fixed attention disorder is, how it works, and how to free yourself from the trap to get attention back under your control again.

Lets start with a look at an example of what can happen when you’re hit with Fixed Attention Disorder.

THE PROBLEM: You’re feeling overwhelmed with undone projects piling up in your office, your car, your briefcase, and your home.

THE SYMPTOMS: You’re paralyzed by the sheer magnitude of things that need to be done. Levels of anxiety and stress are rising by the minute with the thoughts of dire consequences on the horizon.

In fact, it’s a dwindling spiral because each one of these incomplete projects acts as a mental reminder that you are not in control of your own attention.

Further, these incomplete projects trap your attention like a huge magnet and leaving you with even fewer units of attention available to get anything done. Like a rudder-less ship, you’re going around in circles and getting nowhere fast.

THE SOLUTION:

Look. The first thing to do toward getting anything productive done is to step back and look at what is happening.

Decide. If you really are stuck in indecision, at least recognize that fact. Then make a decision to do something, as the worst thing you can do is to do nothing. Don’t worry about the magnitude of the problem. Just decide to start.

Act. Force yourself to actually read and do step one of the program below.You’ll be surprised at how much this will do towards getting things back under your control.

THE PROGRAM:

Step one

a. Observe what is happening. Don’t do anything yet, just look. Also don’t make excuses or explain why it’s this way. Just look at it, directly without justifying anything. Then follow the steps below.

b. Gather up all incomplete projects and put them on your desk in front of you. This becomes your “To Do File.”

Important: Do not do anything with these items yet.

Don’t even look at it or decide what needs to be done with it. If you do, you’ll inevitably go into action before first evaluating exactly what the item is and what action needs to take place.

It may take awhile, but just gather all the stuff up into one central location. When you have done this, step one is complete.

Step Two
Now lets examine and handle your “To Do pile.”

Pick up one particle at a time from the stack in front of you.

Observe what it is and then give it a label: “What is this?”

Resist the temptation to go into action and do something before you have identified exactly what it is. Just decide what it is and identify it, attach a name to it.

Step Three
Once you correctly observe and identify what you’re looking at and decide what it is, now get into action, based on one of the following four steps:

a. Act on it now.
b. Assign it to another.
c. Postpone it to a later time.
d. Toss it out, now.

Notes on completing the steps above:

Step a.  Ask yourself, “Does it need to be done immediately?” and “CAN it be done?”

If “yes” on both questions then do what needs to be done, right now.

Step b.  Ask yourself, “Can it be assigned to anyone else?” If yes, then decide who is going to do it. Then put that persons name on a post-it note on the item, and put the item in your “Out File.”

Step c.  Ask yourself, “Does this really have to be done right now or can it be postponed without adverse consequence?” If it can be postponed, then decide on the very next step that you’re going to take with that item and when you’re going to take that step. Put this information on a post-it note and put it in your “To Be Done File.”

Step d. Ask yourself, “Can I toss this?” If you can get rid of it without consequence, do so immediately. This is called your “Circular File” (the wastebasket).

That’s all there is to it. The relief of doing this has to be experienced to be fully appreciated.

Now that you have freed up countess attention units that have been trapped by the incomplete cycles and projects you will have cured yourself of this affliction.

Fixed Attention Disorder will be a thing of the past.

With your attention back under your control, the future is yours for the taking!

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