Shane Black Daily Blog

Attention residue

There’s an effect that psychologists call “attention residue”.

It’s when, for example, you start a task in the morning and then switch over to a different task in the afternoon (for variety) without finishing the morning task. Research has shown that the unfinished task can linger in your mind, adversely affecting your performance later on.

I’m guilty of having attention residue, almost daily. Part of my scheduling is to have chunks of time each day dedicated to different tasks and projects. To me, doing things this way makes it feel like I’m making progress on a larger number of things at once on a consistent basis.

However, after reading about attention residue, it has got me thinking about ways in which I could do things differently.

It makes sense how things can linger in our mind when they aren’t finished.

I think I’ll take an approach where I’ll allocate more time to try and finish certain things that I know I can get done with a little more time. That way, there will be less things “lingering” in my mind. For the larger projects, I’ll break them down into tasks that can be finished in smaller chunks of time and finished in the same work session that I start them.

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This is my personal blog, where I share the books I’m reading, what I’m learning, and the challenges I’m setting myself. I hope you find some value here.

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