Preserving Directed Attention-- An Overview
We get Directed Attention
Fatigue when we concentrate too hard or too long, or when we fight
off too many distractions. While we can’t
eliminate it entirely, we can do things to reduce it and to facilitate
once we are fatigued.
Three of the most important restorative activities are also useful for
preventing Directed Attention Fatigue.
1. Walk in nature: This can prevent attention fatigue as well as healing
your attention system.
2. Get fascinated: Our Directed attention system rests when we interact
in an effortless way with something innately fascinating, such as watching
animals, kayaking, playing with babies.
3. Sleep sleep sleep: Sleep makes your brain work. Not enough sleep
hurts it—and particularly hurts directed attention.
Preventing mental fatigue
These focus on preventing DAF, especially by reducing the cognitive load.
Clear the decks! Prioritize, clarify and simplify. Finish things.
Run fewer models at once, get your story straight. Reduce your workload,
take steps to reduce worry and confusion. Reduce the number of decisions
have to make, Limit your choices.
2. Develop useful habits: Sink things into automatic habit form which
requires less attention to deal with them.
3. Use built-in attentional strengths: Fascination, learned fascination,
flow. Preplan while rested, use stop rules and reloads.
4. Use your environment: In addition to restoration, our surroundings
can provide useful cues, reminders, external storage, helpful people.
5. Compatibility: Find and create suitable environments in which to
6. Who R U? Clarify who you are, what matters to you, what you want.
7. The big picture: Find wise people, science, old stories, and spirituality
to help understand how things work, what to expect, what matters, and
what to let go and leave to other people, God, the universe.
Bargh, J. and Chartrand,
T.L. (1999) ‘The unbearable automaticity of being’, American
Psychologist, 54, 462-479.
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In S. Kaplan & R. Kaplan (Eds.), Humanscape: Environments for people.
Belmont, CA: Duxbury. (Republished by Ann Arbor, MI: Ulrich's, 1982.)