Preventing Attention Leakages

Compartmentalizing is the ability to separate activities. It sounds simple and straightforward, but the reality of an “effective compartmentalizer” is rather complex. 

The “ability to compartmentalize” and separate tasks is incredibly effective for getting more done in less time. 

A problem with working on a few different things all the time is that it is very easy to get distracted, spread yourself too thin, and get nothing done. I wholly believe that it is quite impossible for us humans to multi-task — therefore you cannot operate at 100% if you are worrying about the past, the future — all while juggling the present.

Rather, I try to compartmentalize my day such that I can be present and fully absorbed with what I am doing without having to worry about what is coming next.

If I’m in class, I’m in class.
If I’m at work, I’m working.
If I’m writing, I’m writing.
If I’m at a party, I’m partying.
There is no in between state.


In between states are inefficient. They are less extreme outcomes and, therefore, have less extreme results. (2017)

I think this nuance is important to understand as I have invested time over the past few years in programmatically becoming a better compartmentalizer. The best ways I have found to do this is to actually build infrastructures into my workflow that support focus and occlude leakages. 

What I mean by that is that I want to be in control of my attention. Attention is one of the most important factors in whether or not you can become a strong compartmentalizer. If you cannot hone in on a single topic, and your mind is constantly racing, then you cannot be fully in the moment. 

I think I prevent leakages by distinctly separating different tasks. I do not worry about things once I put them in my Notion Kanban board (aka my to do list). Once they are in there, they sit there until I choose I am ready to work on them. 

I try my best to get as much information possible on that Kanban board because I do not want drifters sitting in my head, taking up space, and distracting my attention. 

I think writing lots of things down helps me think clearer in the moment and get a lot more done faster. 

Also published on Medium.