Attention Hygiene

What do you think of the phrase “Attention hygiene”? I think it captures the spirit of what task management really is, particularly in this day and age of attention-grabbing electronics.

More and more, we need to manage our habits of attention, our filters of consumption and creation, and ultimately our abilities to make meaningful decisions.

Hygiene can be defined as:

“conditions or practices conducive to maintaining health and preventing disease, especially through cleanliness.”

I see little difference with how we conduct our management of attention. For example, jumping on the Internet first thing in the morning and going to a social media site can be problematic if there is no clearly formed intention behind it. Using our tools because we’re bored can degrade creativity.

I did a search for the phrase “attention hygiene” and only found this (quite entertaining) post.

When we decide what to do with clarity, we are in a much better position to maintain ourselves in the constant stream of shiny objects. When we clearly lay out the tasks that are meaningful to us, that reflect our patterns of habit, that shape our actions as we see fit, that honor our past, present, and future selves—we are working on our attention hygiene.

We ask ourselves:

Where do I want my mind to be?

How can I get it there?