Just as part of attention involves mentally controlling incoming information, another part involves controlling your output (such as the work you produce or academic assignments) and your behavior. This part of attention enables you to “preview” in your mind what is likely to happen as a result of what you do or say. It also helps you control your impulses, and allows you to pay attention to the quality and pace of your work.
People with strong production controls are able to avoid acting impulsively. They are good at drawing on past experiences to help them make choices about how to behave. They are able to evaluate and improve their own work, and they can monitor their effort level and pace to get things done efficiently.
People with challenges with production controls may have a hard time planning projects, preventing social conflicts, or predicting likely outcomes of an action. They may have trouble resisting temptations and using “hindsight” to inform current actions. They may not do a good job of evaluating their own work or picking up social feedback cues. Students who frequently get in trouble for their behavior may struggle with this area.
Strategies for managing challenges with attention production controls
- Before starting a task, develop a plan for how you will approach it, and then get feedback on your plan.
- Solicit feedback at various stages of a task, rather than waiting until you finish.
- If you rush through writing tasks, use the “COPS” strategy to proofread for Capitalization, Organization, Punctuation, and Spelling.
- Practice pausing before you act or speak to think through different options.
- Keep a journal to help you reflect on social interactions and identify patterns in how people respond to you.