What Is Attention Management?
Herbert A. Simon, a distinct economist and political scientist, in one of his works, Designing Organizations for an Information-Rich World, wrote, “What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.”
That was in 1971. But as time passes, it seems that Simon’s reflection gains more and more importance. The 21st century is the era of technological wonders. As time goes by, we can witness how technology changes the business world. Yet in all this, our attention seems to divert. That’s because technology has also contributed to the information noise and distractions coming from all around us.
But if you’re smart, you can use the technology and its products to your own advantage. Here are best 11 apps for attention management that will help you become more focused and more productive.
One of the first apps for attention management you should consider using is an app that will help you monitor your time. To properly direct your attention, you should be able to determine how much time you dedicate to particular activities throughout the day. TimeCamp can easily help you do that. TimeCamp is a time tracking software which can help you pay attention to what really matters and stay focused thanks to its essential features:
- The desktop app allows you to stay focused by automatically following your activities all in the background.
- Reports give you detailed insight into how much time you spent on particular tasks and projects.
- You can see which activities consume most of your time, those productive or non-productive.
- Integrations allow you to connect TimeCamp to other tools.
The only way to get things done effectively is to pay attention to how you’re spending your working hours. It allows you to allocate time to specific tasks, projects, and activities you perform during the day. TimeCamp can help you to catch, monitor, and measure your attention. Because the way you spend your time affects your productivity. Hence, tracking your time and how you use it in life is the only way to reorganize your work and determine priorities.
TimeCamp helps you manage attention in a convenient and easy way. You can also use the software to manage such areas of work as budgeting, planning and scheduling, invoicing, and managing tasks and projects. Everything you need to pay attention to in just one place.
Watch the video tutorial to see how TimeCamp works
HeySpace is one of the best apps for attention management for small and big teams. It’s a task management software with chat features. It’s a combination of Slack and Trello. HeySpace has plenty of useful features – a convenient design – you can see three boards in one place – your team and spaces (different channels), chat, list of cards with tasks; you can easily convert part of your conversation into a task; files sharing; task adjustment (you can set date, assign people to it, add tags, description, files, comment on it); workspaces.
With HeySpace your team can stay focused. They have everything in one place and don’t have to worry about switching between different apps. It helps to bring attention to the tasks and issues that really require it.
Freedom is an extended version of a blocker. It blocks apps, websites, and the Internet on Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS. And you can easily sync all your devices. You can set blocks of time for the no distractions mode and choose what you want to block. You can also enable Locked Mode to prevent you from ending a block session. However, to have access to all the features you will need to purchase the Premium version.
With Freedom, distractions don’t control you, you control distractions.
Todoist is a to-do list app and task manager. You can get all your tasks out of your head, put them in Todoist, and the app will keep them for you. This free task software allows you to prioritize your tasks, give them different categories, assign people to them, and set due dates. You can also monitor your productivity and measure performance. There are also numerous integrations available. For more features such as task customization, reminders, detailed templates, automatic backup of your data, labels, and progress monitoring you can get Premium verison for $3/month.
And if you want the tool for your entire team, you can choose the Business version with even more features. It will allow you and your team to use all the features. With Todoist, you will finally keep the peace of mind and make sure all your tasks are under control. It’s definitely one of the best apps for attention management.
If you’re a writer, copywriter, content writer or anybody who deals with words, this is perhaps one of the best apps for attention management. It helps to create a writer-friendly environment by providing you with space only to write. And so, when you write, you only see a screen with your copy to deeply engage in your work. FocusWriter is completely free.
You can adjust FocusWriter by applying customed themes with font, colors and background image, and set your daily goals to monitor progress.
Attention management is also about taking care of our bodies. That includes eyes. Especially, if you work at night or late during the day with little light. To avoid red, burning and tired eyes you should give them a little treat. f.lux is an app that adjusts the light of your screen to the time of the day – warm at night and like sunlight during the day.
With this small but smart app, you can become more productive, work longer without dry eyes, and even sleep better. You’ll need this if you want to be able to manage attention in an effective way.
RescueTime is a time tracking software. It’s particularly useful to people who need to control time they spend on every task as it allows setting alerts to know when you have spent a certain amount of time on a particular activity. The desktop app tracks all activities in the background letting you do your work. In its simplicity, the app helps you to become more productive and learn what causes you to lose focus. Moreover, you can block the websites which disturb your work. However, to use all the features with their details, you need to sing up for a Preemium version for $9 per month.
RescueTime is a simple combination of a time tracker and website blocker. You can use it to control your attention in an easy way.
Apps for attention management don’t necessarily have to be apps which you use only for work purposes. These can also be tools that can help you deal with your feelings and emotions as they influence how you perceive work and work-related problems. Here, Headspace may turn out to be a life-savior.
Headspace is an app for meditation and mindfulness. The app provides you with a guide on how to go through various states offering meditation practices for sleep, stress, anger, anxiety, sport, for kids, focus, and compassion. Headspace helps you to become aware of your thoughts and feelings so you can be fully engaged in what you’re doing.
You can choose from two subscription plans – free or paid. Paid subscription has three variants – monthly $12.99/month, annual $7.99/month, and lifetime $399.99. All subscription variants except free one include Minis, Themed Meditations, Mindfulness Exercises, Everyday Headspace, Sleep Sounds $ Meditations, Headspace for kids, A meditation teacher, The Animation Library.
Sometimes we come across interesting articles but reading them often means we will drive our attention away from work. To avoid that and always stay focused, use Pocket. It enables you to save any article you come across. You can come back to them anytime you want and pay full attention to your work.
The Premium version ($4.99/month or $44.99/year) offers extended features – no adds, automatic savings of articles even if they no longer exist on the internet, advanced search, and tags.
Evernote is a very popular to-do app. People love it for its simplicity and functionality. This tool helps you and your team organize work by prioritizing the most important tasks, projects, ideas, and to-do lists. You can easily access it whenever you feel like you need to write down something or add a new list. Your team can share their ideas and collaborate from any place.
Evernote offers three plans. Basic with limited features. Premium with all the features necessary to organize your work. And Business to additionaly collaborate with your team.
Include Evernote in your set of apps for attention management to always be productive.
11. Go Fucking Work
Please do not mind the not necessarily decent word used in the name of the app. Let’s refer to the app as GFW. GFW is simply a site blocker that pushes you out of the website you’re not supposed to spend your time on during your work hours.
You can add as many sites as you wish and start paying attention to work duties, not the latest Facebook posts, news, and other matters that lower your productivity and make your attention wander. Despite its inadequate language, GFW has the highest rating in chrome web store (5/5 stars) and is used by thousands of satisfied users.
Become Productive With Attention Management
There are numerous books and articles on productivity. People come up with new ideas and try to implement them in their life. Yet the majority still struggles to reach high levels of performance. That’s because we’re approaching work in the wrong way. The world of work has evolved over past decades. We’re surrounded by distractions in various forms, constantly incoming messages, social media or coworkers talking to us on every step.
All you have to do is realize that you are in control of your work, life, and technology. Whether you become productive depends only on your ability to turn your attention in the right direction and consciously be in the moment.
All the tools, strategies, methodologies, and apps for attention management will work out only if you learn that they’re to help you, not to slave you.