Staying focused on a task for a longer period can be really challenging, especially when constant distractions are just a click away! While wandering thoughts can enhance your creativity; concentration difficulties is becoming a common issue faced by a majority these days. Besides, the list of drawbacks is endless, including management problems, incomplete tasks, growing to-dos, etc.
No matter you wish to finish a report in time or want to win a competition; your ability to focus will decide between the failure and success. The good news is; you can improve your attention span, increase work productivity and effectiveness by follow some simple strategies (we will discuss below). Wondering how? Well, keep reading and find out yourself!
Scientific Take on Short Attention Spans
In 2015, research revealed that the attention span of humans had significantly decreased in two decades, from 12 to 8 seconds. Which shows that our attention span is less than a goldfish, all praises to the digitalized lifestyle.
This study was reported in the Telegraph, Time magazine and the NYT (New York Times).
What Caused Decreased Attention Span?
To fight the problem, we need to reach to the root causes, and that is exactly we are going to discuss here.
A majority of psychologists believe that the level of concentration is task dependent. The intensity of focus applied on a certain thing depends on how important the task is, what stimuli can distract, how interested you are in it, etc. However, if the short attention spans are turning into a permanent issue, then it can be a cause of following:
- Sensory processing disorder
- Learning disorders, like dyslexia
If you are suffering from any of these; consult a professional for a behavioral therapy.
How to Access Mental Health?
It is important to access how strong your focus is currently before working towards its improvement.
Your Concentration Level is Good if
You Need to Work On Your Concentration If
|It is easy for you to stay attentive||You daydream most of the time|
|You are capable of setting goals and achieving them on time||You are not able to ignore distractions|
|Your work hours include short breaks||You are not able to track your work progress|
Simple Yet Effective Strategies to Improve Attention Span
Mental focus improvement is achievable; however, it doesn’t mean the process is easy and quick. You need to put real efforts and make changes in your routine to see desirable results.
Here are some science-backed tips to develop laser-like concentration and mental focus.
1. Stop Multitasking
Multitasking is difficult to ignore for most of us. Either you are checking your emails, reading a draft or going through your presentation while the Zoom tab is open; you won’t be able to concentrate on any one of them.
This isn’t just about focus; toggling tasks decreases your contribution to work, divides your attention and result in errors. On the other hand, when you are committed to one thing at a time; it will not only make you less stressed, but also ensure significant work progress. So, what is your choice?
Also, check out tips to maintain balance between work and family.
2. Remove Distraction
Your environment has the power to affect your attention span positively or negatively. Just imagine yourself working on an important document surrounded by unavoidable noises at the workplace. It’s hell annoying! You can put on your headphones for a while or move to a quiet corner to complete your assignment. Believe it or not; you will be able to finish the task in less time and with fewer margins of errors.
Besides, a buzzing phone can also interrupt your focus. In this case, blocking social media apps or turning off unnecessary notifications at work hours can be helpful! It is best to keep your phones away, ideally in another room, to prevent distractions.
3. Your Physical Health Matters!
Have you ever wondered your attention span decreases automatically when you are not at your peak physically? That’s a real thing! To ensure that your brain is alert; you need to prioritize regular exercise, mediation, a good sleep and a balanced nutrition. There are numerous scientific evidences to prove the significance of a healthy body for our mental wellbeing.
To cut it short, if your brain isn’t functioning on par; it is high time to nurture your body. It will not only make you feel good, but your work will improve overtime.
4. Play Games
Apart from physical training, your brain muscles also need some exercise, and playing games that involve mental presence are best for the very purpose. Games like jigsaw puzzles, Sudoku, memory games or word searches are great to enhance concentration skills.
According to a research, playing games five days a week for just 15 minutes can make a huge difference in improving your focus and problem-solving skills.
5. Play Music
Noise can really be distracting during the work, but do you know the right kind of noise can actually help you concentrate more? In fact, there are certain music types that can help in improving your attention span too.
A study revealed that ambient and classical music were better than silence in terms of enhancing focus. Moreover, the Stanford University School of Medicine explained that short symphonies were helpful in engaging brain parts that are responsible for paying attention and memorizing things.
Want to improve your memory? Click here.
6. Practice Meditation
Meditation can do a lot of good to a human body not just physically and spiritually, but mentally as well. Besides, it is also significant for increasing attention span. Basically, meditation and mindfulness are weight training of the brain; the more they are practiced, the more you will be focused.
A survey showed that the students from the University of California-Santa Barbara, who meditated four times a week for just 10 to 20 minutes scored higher on the activities requiring attention and memory quizzes.
7. Restructure Your Day
It is an undeniable reality that the longer a work day is; the boring it gets and boredom is a sucker to distractions. A simple strategy to cater this issue is to, break your work hours in smaller chunks. For instance, you can do your assignment for 45 to 60 minutes, then take a break for 20 minutes and continue the cycle until you are done. Taking small intervals can help you stay focused and prevent boredom.
8. Hydrate Well
Do you know having a short attention span can also be a reason of dehydration? A research discovered that if a body doesn’t have enough fluid; the cognitive performance can be affected.
Luckily, a human body can send signals if the water is required, so stay hydrated. It is suggested to drink at least 8 glasses of water throughout the day for visible results.
9. Take Small Steps
The key to accomplish any task is to take smaller steps and be persistent. Similarly, you won’t be able to increase your attention span overnight. Work on each step mentioned on the list one by one and don’t be too hard on yourself. Consistency and determination is all you need to stay focused and determined towards your goal.
Being extremely fluttery, a human brain has the ability to wander away whenever it gets the very first opportunity. However, instead of blaming mind for the unsettled nature, you should train it to be attentive and more composed to ensure better focus. It will help you complete your tasks efficiently and boost your productivity. Yes, it is possible! All you need to do is, follow the above-mentioned tips religiously.
First of all, you need to figure out the root cause of your decreased attention span and solve the issue accordingly. With discipline and a right mind set, you can improve your concentration skills and master your focus. Don’t forget to check out the tips to stay focus while working from home.