Focus and Attention

Staying focused and having strategies for paying attention and alternating attention are important for many kinds of work situations. “Attention training” only goes so far.  We often gain more functional capacity for maintaing and alternating attention when we use visual cues — some can be simple, low-tech tactics like using “Focus (cue) Cards” (below left and/or background cues an individual keeps in sight (below right).  These items qualify as “assistive technology,” despite not being electronic.

      focus clip on desk                                Orientation work MBB screen

My work requires a great deal of alternating attention and “switching gears” — what with managing multiple projects, answering e-mails, teaching and answering the phone.  Multiple computer monitors save the day for me and many others I teach and coach, even if their jobs are not as complicated as mine.  Most people do not use this many monitors.  One extra monitor is often helpful and two extra monitors are generally sufficient.   The reason all these tools work is because they make needed information visually available.

Focus with multiple monitors

In days past, one of my most powerful visual resource was my BRAIN BOOK, which was always open to the central “TODAY page, with tabs that organized all my BRAIN BOOK sections, flaring out left and right (see below left).  Now my personal My Bionic Brain does the same thing, but in electronic form on an iPad.  By keeping My Bionic Brain open to the main “TODAY” screen, I have my primary visual cues (markers) in full view.   TO DO Lists and schedules tasks and appointments re never lost or “spaced.” All my Reference Notes are key word searchable.  Documents are all in one spot. . . I call it my “BRAIN BOOK on steroids.”

BBS Tabs as visual cues                     PIC LIB MBB Unscheduled TO DO List