Before the pandemic, this was challenging enough. When in the office, knowledge workers routinely deal with constant interruptions—whether from a boss who frequently drops in with “emergency” demands, or the nonstop flurry of digital messages asking for urgent responses. Most professionals I speak with report that their work plans are routinely derailed, and their productivity regularly hijacked.
And now that so many more workers are remote, the challenges to our productivity have only increased. Many workers are juggling the demands of family members home from school or work. And many industries have been completely disrupted—because they are struggling to hang on or because they are busier than ever.
Because I see so many leaders struggling to achieve their most important goals, I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of what I call “brainpower momentum” to boost productivity.
What Is Brainpower Momentum?
Imagine how you feel when you are focused on important, demanding, thoughtful work, which requires not only your knowledge, wisdom, and experience, but also your other unique qualities such as your empathy, kindness and passion. When you bring the full power of these abilities, you do your best work, and as a result, feel fulfilled, energized, and often proud.
But arriving at this productive and fulfilling state of mind takes work.
I refer to this as brainpower momentum, and it’s the process of activating your mental resources and focusing your attention in order to reach your most productive state. This is a state in which you can access a well of creativity in your subconscious mind, as well as summon the full range of your intellect and relevant personality traits to achieve your best results.
How Can I Boost Productivity with Brainpower Momentum?
Let’s use this analogy: you want to de-stress by going on a 10-mile bike ride. You set out and build up some momentum, but then you encounter a head-on high wind. Now you need to pedal extra hard to go the same pace. You start to sweat a bit, but then the wind dies down.
You can pedal more easily again, but now you encounter road work. You hit the brakes every few minutes to navigate all the workers and potholes. Each time you stop or slow down, you need to expend more effort to get going again. You can never coast.
The ride took twice as long and you had to pedal hard the whole way. Worse, you don’t feel relaxed or refreshed. Instead, you just feel frustrated and exhausted.
This is an analogy to your brain on distraction. When you are trying to reach your most productive state but you can’t work up the brainpower momentum to arrive there, it feels frustrating and unfulfilling. Also, if you tried to achieve this state but failed, you’re likely upset that you wasted precious time.
So How Do I Build Brainpower Momentum?
Knowing how to consciously build your brainpower momentum is a learnable skill—one that is more critical today for today’s knowledge workers than ever before. It allows you to routinely unleash your genius in the service of your most important tasks, and the result will be a big boost to your productivity.
The key to building brainpower momentum is learning how to manage your attention. Attention management is a set of skills that enables you to take control of your life by approaching your days proactively rather than reactively. When equipped with attention management skills, you can deflect interruptions. This helps you avoid stopping and starting a task again and again, as you rev up your brainpower momentum.
When I train teams in attention management, I teach them how to consciously shift their attention to the brain state that will best facilitate a particular task. I’ve developed a Four Quadrants of Attention Management model as a framework for understanding. Considering the quadrants in relation to the work you do throughout the day, and learning how to deliberately shift your attention between them, can help to remove resistance to brainpower momentum, which will provide the most efficient path to achieving your best results.
Attention management is the foundational component of my Empowered Productivity System for workflow management—providing a more relevant path to productivity than traditional time management.
What is the Empowered Productivity System?
The Empowered Productivity System is a workflow methodology—not technology, but a collection of habits and behaviors— that allows you to store, organize, prioritize, track, and execute on all of the disparate details in your life, and free up your brainpower for tremendous momentum! Learning this system, which is steeped in attention management, will greatly reduce stress and increase productivity. See what clients have to say about the impact Empowered Productivity has had on their lives and work, here.
I’m Ready to Boost Productivity. What Now?
Empowered Productivity is now available as an online, on-demand training course for individuals and teams. Through 5 modules and 43 bite-sized, video-based lessons, you’ll learn to master distraction and get more done. Learn more here, or feel free to contact me with any questions.