In Part I, I introduced Return-on-Attention (ROA) as a way to evaluate how we invest our most precious resource – our attention.

ROA is derived from the traditional metric of ROI (Return-on-Investment), but there is a key difference. The “units” of ROI are currency, which is always uniform and interchangeable. Units of attention, on the other hand, are NOT created equal.

One minute of attention in a deep, tranquil state of concentration is potentially 100 times more valuable than the same minute waiting in line at the cashier. One hour of close collaboration with a thought partner potentially produces 100 times more value than an hour of small talk.

In other words, the state of mind you are in at any given moment powerfully shapes the quality of the attention you have at your disposal. This includes your moods and emotions, energy and stress levels, attitudes or mindset, and other internal factors.


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