Keep An Attention Budget

by -
Jim Sterenko

“Time is money,” as they say. But people nowadays seem to value money more than time, and spend most of their time trying to acquire money that they can never use to buy more time. Time is always ticking, no matter how much money we spend.

As such, your attention is your greatest gift. Keeping a monetary budget and cutting out the inessential is a great practice, sure, but why not keep an attention budget while you’re at it? Figure out where you’re wasting time without getting any return. It’s one thing to “waste” time in nature, or meditation, or doing things that make your life feel whole and fulfilling.

Real wastes of time are often the things we’re continually told are imperative: overworking, arguing, basking in misery, becoming addicted to technology, etc. These are real wastes of time. Playing a game you enjoy or sitting in the park are beautiful activities, especially when done with mindfulness. Spending your attention on activities that do nothing but suck further attention out of you will contribute greatly to your personal suffering.

Try to keep track of where your attention goes. Not only is this an excellent mindfulness practice, but it will also provide a tangible way to cut out other practices that do nothing to simplify or enlighten your life.

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