Attention: Put Success in Your Way
—Book Review of Rob Hatch's "Attention!"

Two Valuable Resources

So much to read. So much to watch. So much to do.

Our time and attention are two of our most valuable resources. Are we giving them to the right things?

As believers in Christ, we know we have purpose here. We’re to work within that purpose daily, whether it be at a workplace, in our homes, or traveling from here to there.

While our “success” isn’t measured by secular standards, we still want to know: What’s the best way to steward our time and attention?


This book by Rob Hatch guides us to put our attention on the right things: Attention!: The Power of Simple Decisions in a Distracted World.

Attention book review

Attention! can be applied to any aspect of your life, whether you’re a corporate executive or a stay-at-home mom.

Rob says we’re to use the power of simple decisions to put success in our way. His three core elements are:

(1) Willpower is a limited resource.
(2) Decisions are distractions.
(3) Habits are a powerful force to which we are biologically prone.

He gives an example of Shawn Achor wanting to learn to play the guitar.

(1) Shawn reduces the need for willpower to go find his guitar every day by placing the guitar within arms’ reach of the couch.
(2) He eliminates the distraction of the TV by placing the TV remote in the closet.
(3) He takes advantage of his already-established habit of sitting on the couch after work by pairing it with playing the guitar.

These simples decisions put success in Shawn’s way, and made his goal more achievable. 

Make It Personal

Removing obstacles and placing what we need in front of us is something we each can do. You likely do it already in certain ways without even thinking about it. If you ever set your clothes out the night before, or jot down distracting thoughts in a notebook, or put your running shoes by your bed, you’re already eliminating distractions and reducing your need for willpower.

Rob encourages us to find more ways to do these kind of things, to make it personal, to make it work for our unique lifestyle.

“When I’ve made decisions before I have to and everything I need is ready, I eliminate the need to rely on my willpower to accomplish a task.”

Rob gives lots more practical tips in this book. It’s an excellent resource and a motivating tool to decide how to make the best choices with our time and attention, including advice to leave room around the edges for margin. Nobody can or should aim for 100% efficiency all the time.

In deciding how to manage each 24 hours that God gives us, reading books like this one was a good use of my time. Next week I’ll share about a similar book that I also highly recommend (The Lazy Genius Way).

What habits do you have that put success in your way? Share in the comments.

My thanks to Net Galley + Practical Inspiration
Publishing for the review copy of this book

8 thoughts on “Attention: Put Success in Your Way
—Book Review of Rob Hatch's "Attention!"

  1. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Success here is not measured
    by completin’ what I’m tryin’,
    but rather, how life’s treasured
    in the process of my dyin’.
    Cancer has seen fit to mark
    this week with body-blows,
    and every day I jump the shark,
    but everybody knows
    that the sands of life are running
    far to fast to stop,
    and not even all my cunning
    (at which, ahem…I’m tops!)
    can move my fate’s huge deadly heft,
    so I need love what I have left.

  2. Jeanne Takenaka

    This sounds like a great book, Lisa. I like practical books like what this sounds like. I have said no to a number of activities to open up time to do what I feel are the most important things right now. Not that distractions don’t crowd out some of my time, but I’m working on that too. 🙂

  3. Laurie

    Thank you for sharing this very good resource, Lisa. I like the 3 core elements used to make decisions simpler. I think, like willpower, attention itself is a limited resource. Even adults have attention spans, which can be affected by a lot of things, including our mood, how tired we are, and how much emotional capital we have invested in the situation.

  4. David

    Love the idea of putting our laziness to work! Your graphic reminds me of a rule I have, which is that my daily TODO list should never have more than six items, ideally 3-5. More than that and the effects on your list come into play.

  5. Jean Wise

    How interesting to see this in this way: Decisions are distractions. I know I am mindless is many of my poorer decision – eating, being lazy for example. not good decisions. I tend to find the easy and convenient at time. The harder often better decisions take effort, energy and attention no wonder they distract me. Never consider them distractions before . I will have to ponder that.

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