I don't have the attention
This has been a very busy year for me. When I'm too busy to take on something, I keep saying to myself, "I don't have the time". Every time I want to start a new project or initiative, I find myself thinking of this phrase.
This makes me realize that things don't happen that way. I took a step back and think on the cue of why I said that. In fact, I often have the time. I have a beautiful early morning, 4 hours of deep work before afternoon, 3 hours of free time after lunch, several hours before going to bed, 5 working days, 2 days of relaxation, and the whole year ahead of me. I have the time, I have.
What I don't have is more attention. Attention is a far more limited resource than time. I should say "I don't have the attention" instead. While I may have eight hours to work every day, I probably have four hours to devote to attention.
I have a lot of side project ideas, I mean a lot. I keep adding new ideas to my entry every day. On an ongoing side project, it seems like there is a new idea emerging every day. I wanted to, I really like the idea and the easiness of the execution. While I thought it would be awesome, I just didn't have enough attention to even spend time considering it more.
But really, as I thought about it, I realized I had the time. Every day is the same 24-hour cycle. Every workday is around 8 hours. Surely I can have a lot of projects ongoing at the same time, 1 hour on project A, then if I was boring I would jump one hour on project B and so on. But it wasn’t that. It wasn’t that I couldn’t find the time. I couldn’t find the attention — especially sustained attention.
My mind fills up with the ideas of project A and that's it. I'm absorbed by those and I want to focus on making and ship it. That's where my attention is. Had I made 1 hour for project A and 1 hour on project B, I'd be physically present at that moment, but mentally I'd be elsewhere on project A. Unproductive and unnecessary work happens because of this.
When people say "I don't have time to spend with family", they are mistaken. We have time!! If you set breakfast, lunch, dinner as family time, you should give your full attention to your family. Put aside other world things and just focus on your family. No phone at the table. Either come with your full attention or don't come at all.
In the 21st century, attention is our most valuable resource. Then energy, then time, then money.
Attention is far more scarce and precious. The time it requires is just a baseline. It's the mental and emotional energy on top of that. It's focus and concentration.
And today, your attention is so valuable it is quite literally on auction 24/7. Reclaiming your attention and focus is then necessary to stay sane, keep control of your inputs, and be mindful about the ideas you're exposed to.
Attention is a far more limited resource than time.