Anne Truitt Zelenka, editor at large for Web Worker Daily and owner of Anne Truitt Zelenka – A Blog About the Connected Age, writes about the difference between the “old” Drucker mentality of executive work and the “new” Attention mentality of Web related work.
Web workers do not start with their tasks or with their time. They start with their attention. And they do not start out with planning or by finding out where their time actually goes. They start by finding where their attention wanders, and what gives them energy and increased attention. Then they attempt to let their attention flow freely and to cut back on redundant or tired information sources that demand their attention without providing new ideas or insight. Finally they combine what they have found into something new (software, web design, industry analysis, etc.) and make it available on the web where it can earn attention itself and lead to an ongoing multiplication of attention.
Some of this thinking is similar to the Attention Economy mentality (as discussed by Thomas Davenport and John Beck in the book of the same name). We all wrestle with what has our attention and what is vying for our attention. Then we in turn crave attention — personal attention and vicarious attention.
Anne goes on to suggest that the Web-based worker needs to expand his/her attention. I’d like to hear more about that topic. It has been my observation that many have trouble expanding their attention. They get pulled off task and run down rabbit trails that lead to…what? Creativity? To something attention grabbing?
I personally see a lot of value in the collaborative efforts of today’s Web-workers. Yet, I witness a certain amount of discipline within those teams/collaborators that are successful. They hold each other accountable if any of them start to wander or stray too far. There is power in teamwork.
Is there unproductive time involved in collaboration? It all depends on how you view productivity. For many in the creative field, what appears, to some, as unproductive time staring out the window could be the most productive time of their day. On the other hand, being a creative myself, I can definitely say that there have been times when I was staring out the window and it was not productive.
Web-workers are Information-workers. In today’s economy, information is key but the locks get changed FAST. What is one to do? Anne makes a good suggestion — get rid of redundant information sources. Unfortunately, there is a lot of redundant information on the Internet that has been spinning around for years. You have to weed out poor sources and stick with those that are fresh, innovative, inspirational, sometimes, bleeding-edge, and always trusted.
So, which economy do you belong to — the Knowledge Economy or the Web Economy? Or, are you like me — a hybrid?
Let me know.