Write Your Way
cover for attention mastery

Review of Attention Mastery by Paul Oakes

cover for attention masteryTitle: Attention Mastery: Master your mind. Master your time. Master your life.

Review by Lisa J. Jackson, The Business Guild

(This book review was first published in the winter 2021 issue of Flackery, the quarterly digital magazine for small business owners)

This book was recommended by someone who knows I enjoy finding tips and tricks to break big goals into small achievable tasks. Each of us needs to find what works best for us, right?

Attention Mastery flows from one topic to another easily enough. The repetition of key points can be like a hammer on a nail, but it’s a useful technique to drive the point home. We need to see or hear something seven times before it sticks? Or is that how many touches it takes to land a sale? I think it’s both.

Author Paul Oakes has lived through NOT having attention mastery and developed techniques that successfully work for him (his resume is impressive) — and can work for others, too.

The book offers techniques for anyone needing goal setting assistance, but is especially focused on ways to study for examinations or certifications of any kind, as that is the author’s experience.

One featured technique is visualizing your ultimate goal and then working backwards until you have small achievable tasks.

Oakes shares two food-based visuals, a spaghetti dinner and a pb&j sandwich, to help you envision the tasks you can’t quite see or don’t know how you’ll accomplish.

The food analogies are great because they touch all the senses – see what the meal will look like, taste it, smell it (more for the spaghetti than the sandwich), touch it (directly or with utensils), hear sounds of satisfaction, etc.

Getting control over our thoughts in order to focus on the tasks that need to be done is covered quite well and Oakes suggests using a timer set for one minute (or less at the start), and focus on part of one item that needs to be done. If we finish before the time goes off, simply breathe and relax. Do a few of these with other tasks and see how quickly the to-do list is whittled down.

I’ve used a similar method when writing fiction, called writing sprints. I set the timer for 20 minutes and let my fingers move across the keyboard without worry of typos, grammar, punctuation, or even complete sentences. it’s amazing how much can be accomplished when you focus on \”one thing\” for a short time. And if you get distracted, start over until you’re able to focus for that specific amount of time.

My takeaways from this book are to (1) try 1-minute time blocks and not rush to the next to-do item, (2) keep the big goal (the pb&j sandwich) front and center and not be stressed about what I don’t know at the moment – that when I do figure out a step or a resource, to simply add it to the overall plan, (3) keep moving toward my goal daily with focus.

The book is a bit memoir, enjoyable to read, and if you’re still seeking ‘a way’ to achieve big goals or manage your time better, you may find what you’re seeking in these pages.

At the time of this review, the book’s website is still being developed. There are several mentions in the book to go to the website for more information and to connect with the author. You can email Paul Oakes at scalawriting@gmail.com.

Book-related links:
Website | Amazon Paperback | Kindle

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