Tag: Attention Management

The Attention Zones Model for Teams

The Attention Zones Model for Teams

There are four different attention zones: Reactive, Proactive, Distracted and Wasteful. The attention zone determines productivity as well as stress levels. Attention management allows teams to move out of stressful or unproductive zones and manage their time wisely.

Reactive Zone

Many people, particularly team leaders, spend most of their time in the reactive zone. Those in the reactive zone spend their time putting out fires and handling urgent needs. The tasks are important, but they demand time that takes away from scheduled projects. An example would be finding someone to fill in for a sick employee. The task is important and demands immediate attention, but it does not help the team leader meet any of his or her goals or deadlines. Occasionally, a crisis will need to be handled, but attending to one crisis after another should never be a way of life. In order for the team to move out of the reactive zone and stay in the proactive zone, they need to address the time they spend in the distracted and wasteful zones.

Proactive Zone

The proactive zone is where the team wants to be. Teams in this zone work strategically. They are able to plan and achieve goals. Spending time in the proactive zone reduces the amount of time that is spent in the reactive zone because contingency plans will be in place. The proactive zone maintains relationships, budgets, systems, and personal well-being. Review team goals and plan accordingly at the beginning of each week to improve performance in the proactive zone.

Distracted Zone

The distracted zone takes up far too much time. Things in this zone seem urgent, but they are not really important. The distracted zone occurs when other people monopolize the team’s attention. Things like emails and phone calls fall under the distracted zone. Important time and energy is given to other people’s priorities rather than team goals.

Leaving the distracted zone:

  • Turn off email alert: Emails do not always need to be answered immediately. Constant email alerts are distractions that take teams out of the proactive zone.
  • Create a time-blocked schedule: Schedule time to return phone calls and emails and build relationships. Work on projects during the time set aside for them, and do not allow yourself to become distracted by other people.
  • Set boundaries: Stick to the schedule. Do not allow people to draw you away unless it is a real Be firm, and people will learn to respect your schedule.

Wasteful Zone

The wasteful zone is exactly what it sounds like, the zone where teams waste time. Activities that waste time include checking personal email, looking at social media sites, online videos, and other activities that are not productive. It is important to note that people need to occasionally decompress. When time to relax and regroup is not included in a team’s schedule, more time will be spent in the wasteful zone.

Related: Time Management Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Leaving the wasteful zone:

  • Schedule personal time: Take the time to relax, meditate, eat, and socialize. It is not possible to continually focus on a single task, so schedule breaks and take them. It will increase productivity and prevent the need for mind numbing activities.
  • Limit temptation: Internet junkies should turn off their connection when they do not need the Internet, if possible. Turn off mobile devices when working, and indulge pastimes only when appropriate. Remind yourself that the wasteful zone keeps you out of the proactive zone and away from your goals.

Creating a More Focused Team with Attention Management

Creating a More Focused Team with Attention Management

A distracted team is not an effective team. Not paying attention can lead to careless mistakes and valuable time wasted. Attention Management is a useful skill that team managers can employ to connect with their team on an emotional level and to motivate them to focus on the team goals. Attention Management increases the team’s ability to focus attention and involves an awareness of where they focus most of their attention.

Attention can be divided into four different areas:

  • Intentional – Team plans strategically and prioritizes their activities.
  • Responsive – The team responds to the world around them and spends more time putting out fires than working intentionally.
  • Interrupted – Team spends too much time answering messages and handling situations that interrupt their work.
  • Unproductive – Team wastes time outside of scheduled breaks.

Various Types of Attention

Different situations call for different types of attention. To manage attention in your team it is essential to understand the various types of attention and how each type functions.

Focused Attention

Focused attention is the type of attention that concentrates on a single task and excludes everything else. This type of attention is difficult to maintain and makes people tired.

Sustained Attention

Sustained attention is also called attention span and is used when a person has to focus on a task that takes time to complete. The biggest enemy of sustained attention is distractions. In order to sustain attention, it is important to remove distractions and occasionally refocus.

Selective Attention

Selective attention is the type of attention that focuses on a single stimulus in a complex setting. Having a conversation in a crowded restaurant is an example of practising selective attention. It includes the ability to filter out background noise and focusing on what is essential.

Alternating Attention

When someone has to perform two tasks at the same time that require different cognitive abilities, alternating attention is required. Alternating attention requires the mind to be flexible and able to move seamlessly between one task and another.

Training Attention

There are various methods that can be used by your team to train their attention. Each team member is different, and it is important to find a method that works best for each individual.

Focus Execute

Attention management requires team members to focus and execute. When the team focuses on potential negative outcomes, it makes it difficult for the team to execute a plan well. Remaining positive will help the team to focus on its goals and execute their actions accordingly.

Visualization

Visualization is the habit of creating a mental picture of the goal and believing it will happen. Visualizing the goal allows the mind to accept it as a concrete possibility and not just a vague wish.

Visualization steps:

  • Choose a specific goal.
  • Find time to relax and focus.
  • Visualize the goal in detail and see it happening in the present.
  • Accept and believe that the goal will come true.

Attention Zones

Reactive Zone

People in the reactive zone spend most of their time putting out fires and handling urgent needs. These tasks are important, but they take time away from scheduled projects. While it is normal to have to handle a crisis occasionally, going from crises to crises should not become a way of life. In order for team members to move out of the reactive zone and stay in the proactive zone, they need to address the time they spend in the distracted and wasteful zones.

Proactive Zone

The proactive zone is where you want your team to operate most of the time. Teams in the zone work strategically and are able to plan and achieve goals. Time spend in the proactive zone reduces the amount of time spent in the reactive zone. Review the team goals and plan accordingly to improve performance the proactive zone.

Distraction Zone

Things in the distraction zone seem urgent, but they are not really important. Things like phone calls, emails and other people who monopolize your attention, fall under the distracted zone. Important time and energy is given to other people’s priorities rather than team goals.

Wasteful Zone

This zone is filled with activities that waste time such as personal emails, social media, online videos and other unproductive activities. People need to occasionally decompress and when time to relax and regroup is not on the team’s schedule, more time will be spent in the wasteful zone. Team building activities are one of the most effective ways you can help your team to relax and regroup.

Keeping Your Team Focused

The One Minute Rule

The one minute rule is helpful for getting the little things done that you never seem to get to. The rule advises team members to complete any task that only takes a minute. This minute does not really cut into your schedule, and saves you time in the long run.

The Five Minute Rule

The five minute rule advises team members to allow at least five minutes between tasks when planning your schedule. This buffer will provide time to complete one task before transitioning to another.

Keeping Focused When You Feel Overwhelmed

When you feel overwhelmed, it is important not to let your feelings control your actions. The following steps will help you regain focus when you start feeling overwhelmed:

  • Slow down and take a moment to relax and think.
  • Plan to take a five-minute break for every hour of work.
  • Break tasks into smaller steps.
  • Get enough rest to ensure you think critically.

TBAE’s Hitting the Target team building event is ideal for helping your team become more focused and working together as a unit. The event also emphasizes the importance of accuracy and correct decision making. It consists of a number of challenges that tests your team’s aim and targeting skills.

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