I’ve always wanted to improve my productivity, so I’m not just extremely busy all the time, but working productively and getting it done.

I have tried for a long time to improve my Time Management skills, to deal with my productivity issues, but wondered why it wasn’t working. I mean, I am extremely organised (annoyingly so), and every morning I would plan my day from beginning to end, with hourly slots for designated tasks, but I could never get to the end of the list.

Turns out the problem is that I can’t manage time, time marches on at its own pace. I can only manage my attention.

This got me thinking.

Attention is everything, not just when thinking about improving my productivity, but when thinking about how to reach consumers in a time when the supply and demand of attention is completely out of control.

Regardless of who your target is, everyone is on social media every day – on their mobiles consuming bite-sized content to share their opinions and thoughts on day to day life.

We as businesses need to move away from vanity metrics like impressions, and focusing on brand awareness and move toward thinking about getting consumers’ emotional attention.

Does your brand bring them value? 

Does your product/service bring them value?

What do your customers want?

Where is their attention?

If your customer goes on Tumblr to look at Gifs. Did you open a Tumblr account and post them a GIF? Did you do so like a human being?

The thing with attention is it’s hard to keep. We, as human beings, maintain attention in larger groups by telling stories.  Stories that, in a larger crowd, can sometimes go unfinished as the attention diverts to something a little more exciting.

It’s very similar with businesses. If your story is no longer compelling or interesting, you will not get attention. Especially if you are unable to communicate your compelling stories through the creation of branded bite-sized content.

My dad used to have something called a “Boring Meter” when we were younger, as each night we shared the same stories about school around the dinner table. If we spoke about something that wasn’t engaging his attention he would say “Boring Meter is on” to make us tell the story in a more engaging way. It was hilarious, and I actually think that maybe we could learn from my Dad, and use the Boring Meter to inform content strategies.

Make your own content “Boring Meter” when you plan out your content strategy. Do your consumers actually want it? Will they really look at it? How long have you got before they switch off?

Be honest, be blunt. Sometimes people are “offended” when I tell them the Boring Meter story,  but my Dad has genuinely improved the way I view the entire act of storytelling. Stories have the power to influence large groups of people, but what determines your success is whether you are able to control their attention.