Society has benefited greatly from technological advancements. In recent years, healthcare, transportation, and communication have all improved substantially.
However, it is evident that modern society’s fast-paced, convenience-oriented worldview has resulted in an increase in people with short attention spans.
What does it mean to have a short attention span? Your attention span refers to how long you can focus on something, such as listening to work, without losing concentration or focus.
You are quickly distracted and have difficulty focusing on chores or talks if you have a short attention span.
Our average attention span is roughly 12 seconds, according to 2008 research that looked at how our attention span has altered.
However, in the year 2000, they discovered that our attention span had shrunk to just 8 seconds. A goldfish’s attention span is approximately 9 seconds, in case you didn’t know!
Some signs of a short attention span include:
- Missing important details
- Difficulty communicating with others
- Not listening during meetings and lectures
- Getting easily distracted
- Inability to follow through with tasks
What factors contribute to a short attention span? Most of the time, it’s a lack of focus caused by the modern world’s constant attempts to divert our attention.
It could also be a result of upbringing; for example, a Microsoft Corp research found that the influx of information and our behavior on social media affect our attention spans.
Short attention spans are sometimes caused by mental or physiological problems like ADHD or anxiety. Depression, learning problems, trauma (or PTSD in severe cases), or a sensory processing issue are among the others.
So, what can you do to increase your attention span?
There are a number of strategies to increase one’s attention span. It’s all about building habits and learning to focus and self-discipline. Being able to reach a flow state while completing work or a specific task can also be quite beneficial.
Training yourself in that manner can increase the speed of the work and the focus against distractions.
1. Curb Your Screen Time
Electronics are a major source of distraction for most individuals. The simple availability of social media sites, online videos, and infinite web pages can cause our heads to spin in circles and divert us from our primary tasks.
These sources likewise provide far too much information and amusement for us to handle. Reducing screen time is a smart way to deal with this problem. Take a cue from your children’s phones to reduce your screen time.
Remove all social media apps and games from your phone and limit yourself to texting and phone calls.
2. Remove Distractions
Your mobile device won’t be the only thing calling for your attention. There are several other distractions that you can run into over the course of the day.
Figure out what they are, and you can work on removing them little by little, improving your ability to concentrate.
Even minor distractions, such as background noise or a room that’s too hot or cold can make you fidgety and cause you to lose focus.
Items cluttering your desk and workspace can cause anxiety and divert your attention even for just a second, which is just enough to break your rhythm.
3. Take Notes
If you’re in a really dull meeting or classroom, you might as well be begging for something to take your mind off it. This is a terrible attitude since it might be carried over to more significant meetings or debates. Start taking notes to shift your perspective.
This activity requires your full concentration, which will help improve your attention span. Taking notes improves memory, aids in recalling specifics, and serves as a physical reminder for those crucial things you need to remember.
Furthermore, research has found that “students who took notes on laptops did lower on conceptual problems than students who took notes longhand,” so instead of using your gadget, take notes using a pen and paper.
4. Drink More Water
Staying hydrated is of utmost importance to your physical health, but also to short attention spans. There are studies showing how vigorous exercise for two hours without water and in the heat can lead to loss of focus and cognitive decline.
Make sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day. The key is drinking consistently, not just guzzling an entire bottle right before you need to focus. Develop a habit and you’ll never have to worry about dehydration getting in your way.
5. Get Some Exercise
Exercise is beneficial in so many ways. First, it will improve your focus and short attention span.Second, exercising provides a tonne of other benefits on an emotional, physical, and mental level.
There’s no need to add hours of rigorous activity to your schedule. If you’re just getting into the exercise game, an e-bike might be just the boost you need.
Even a short walk of 30 minutes can get your blood moving and your brain activated. Outdoor exercise is especially beneficial, as the sunshine and sights of nature do wonders for your brain and psyche.
6. Try Meditating
Meditation isn’t just sitting around doing nothing. It’s a different approach to regaining concentration and paying attention in the present moment. It consists of a series of small steps that will help you relax while also enhancing your attention span.
Most types of meditation necessitate a tranquil environment as well as breathing exercises. The additional oxygen stimulates your brain, while the cadence of breaths helps you relax and recover your mind.
Try meditation if you’re having an especially stressful day. Find a quiet spot, play some soothing music, and give your mind the rest it needs.
7. Take a Break
When it all gets to be too much, give yourself 30 minutes of break time. While meditation is a conscious effort to regain focus, stepping back to just get away for some time also has its uses.
If your focus keeps getting drawn elsewhere, a break can help you to pay attention to what you are trying to focus on.
Whether it be a short five-minute break or a weekend away, giving yourself a break can help you regroup and improve your ability to concentrate on what matters most.
8. Chew Gum
There are studies that demonstrate chewing gum can help you focus.
While it lacks any magical characteristics, this basic exercise can keep you occupied long enough to complete a task without becoming sidetracked.
It’s not the best approach out there, but it’s a way to recover your focus during critical periods, comparable to taking notes.
Situations such as when your mind wanders or you’re having trouble paying attention at the conclusion of a hard day at work.
A piece of gum could be a lifesaver for your focus and short attention span if you find yourself in those scenarios.
9. Stop Multitasking
Multitasking is fiction, despite the fact that some people claim to be masters of the skill. Finally, it’s not a skill you should rely on for a variety of reasons. The big one is that your attention is split between various things, which will cause you to become distracted.
Stop multitasking for a time when you feel yourself slipping. Better still, eliminate that expertise from your skillset. Make an effort to slow down and concentrate on a single task at a time.
You’ll find that you’ll finish the task faster and your concentration will increase as a result of doing so.
10. Get Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep comes with a whole host of problems. From a focus standpoint, studies showing lack of sleep leads to memory loss, difficulty learning, and dwindling attention span are numerous.
The best solution here is to be getting enough sleep every night. Developing a consistent sleep schedule that helps you get to bed at a decent time each night will be a good first step.
11. Try Intermittent Fasting
Periodic fasting is a practice embraced by many world religions. While it has its spiritual connotations, it’s also a recognized method to help with increased focus.
Fasting should be done smartly. Don’t go without food for too long or too often as you still need vitamins and minerals to properly function.
Balance your intermittent fasting, and those periods of time can help you clear your mind and take hold of your attention span.
12. Play Some Brain Games
Your brain is a muscle, too, so train it like the rest of your body’s muscles. If you want to improve your attention span, one way to do so is to play brain games.
Video games immediately spring to mind, and in certain circumstances, they do work. Violent video games, on the other hand, may have a negative impact on your short-term focus.
Games that center around tactics, methods, and riddles, on the other hand, can be a big help.
Looking for conventional puzzles and hobbies, in addition to video games, will help you enhance your focus and attention.
Simple activities like memorization, crossword puzzles, sudoku puzzles, and other math problems don’t take up much time and can help you focus.
If having a short attention span is negatively affecting your work, mental health, and personal life, it’s time to change it. Following these 12 tips will help you improve your focus and attention span.
Tackle your focus issues one day at a time for the short term. Patience and practice are all it takes to build a longer, more durable attention span.