Managing Attention by Theme

I like structuring my day. It’s how I feel in control of my life and know that I’m not wasting my limited waking time.

Still, I’m not disciplined over this and often times I let my stance slide. We’re just human, right?

I read a lot of books on time management to find the sweet-spot to what they call work-life balance and over the last 4 years here’s one of them that gave me a good return so far.


Our attention is limited and if we want to succeed we need to hustle up.

That means, juggling on multiple projects and encumbering ourselves with a lot of responsibilities - life, work, family, personal, etc. but doing this only thin down our impact to what we like to achieve.

Before I learned about theming, I crowd my day with a lot of tasks and events from the projects and responsibilities I’m working on - every hour is scheduled.

To find balance, as I often thought to myself, is to contribute even for just small increments every day towards the completion of a goal. Sounds cool, right?

Wrong! As I said, our attention is limited. Juggling on multiple responsibilities throughout the day is exhausting.

Some of those attentions will spill to other responsibilities like a residue and it’s counterproductive.

Simply put, we can’t multi-task on brain-intensive tasks. Try dividing large numbers while reading for comprehension.

Anyway, here’s how we can implement theming to compartmentalize our life:

  • Specify the theme for each day of the week i.e. Monday is Administration Day whilst Wednesday is Deep Work Day.
  • I themed Friday as Meeting Day because that’s where I try to set all of my meetings as possible.


Pro tip: create a calendar just for the themes.

It doesn’t mean though, that if I set Friday as Meeting Day, I won’t be working with other stuff. It’s just the bulk of my day will have meetings as necessary.

Having the system helps me manage my attention and focus on what is important for the day.

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