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You only have so much attention you can devote—and one of the toughest parts of leadership is deciding what’s deserving of your attention and what isn’t.

In fact, more and more leaders who I talk to are shying away from “time management” and instead focusing on ways they can channel their attention—a subtle but important distinction.

And of course, it raises the question: How can you be wise with the way you use your attention? Let me share some tips I’ve found to be helpful over the years.

Tips for Using Your Attention Effectively

Be self-aware. Where do you pay attention? What are the areas of your life that seem to demand your focus the most? Often, we allow our attention to wander and drift, without really thinking about where it’s going. I recommend stepping back and simply being aware of how you use this precious resource.

Don’t pay attention to negative things. Your attention should always be oriented in positive, constructive directions—so, no need to spend time wallowing in self-defeat or self-criticism. If you find your attention lingering in these areas, push yourself to move on.

Have something positive to pay attention to at all times. One way to quickly shift your attention in a positive direction is to have a “default” you can turn to—something you’re thankful for, or something you find to be energizing.

Invest in high-value items. When you pay more attention to something, you tend to achieve more in that area—so where are the areas where you see the most value? Be mindful of ways in which you can invest your attention and get a strong return!

Be ready to shift attention. By the same token, it’s smart to recognize that paying attention to something will sometimes bring diminishing returns—and when that happens, it’s best to move on to another area of focus.