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New Book on Attention Focusing, by Scott Fruehwald, Legal Skills Prof Blog


In the legal profession, multi-tasking is considered a required skill for attorneys and staff alike. Depending on the project, there are times when I want – or need – a chunk of uninterrupted time to perform that particular task. At other times, I can easily juggle several things at once. It depends on the task and how many distractions are competing for my attention.

There is an opposite point of view that multi-tasking is a myth. Rather than multi-tasking, they advocate that focusing on one thing at a time is the most efficient use of your time.

This difference of opinion about multi-tasking is why this post caught my eye. We all have days when we wonder whether our brain cells decided to commit mass suicide without warning us. Conversely, there are times when we are solidly in the zone and knock out one assignment after the other.

Professor Fruehwald’s post tweaked my curiosity about a person’s short-term memory and how it works, as well as the title of Chris Bailey’s book, “Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction.” Looks like an excellent read. -CCE

One of the most important aspects of being an effective learner is attention focusing.  Short-term memory has only about 4 to 7 slots, and an effective learner focuses her attention on the task at hand.  Chris Bailey has just published a self-help book on attention focusing for a popular audience: Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction (2018).

From the New York Times:

‘Hyperfocus’ teaches readers to control their limited capacity to focus on and process things in the moment, which he calls our ‘attentional space.’ It turns out our brain’s scratchpad is pretty small and can only hold a handful of tasks at a time. When one of those tasks is complex — like putting together a business proposal or taking care of a toddler — that number dwindles down to one or two.