How to Increase Your Attention SpanDec 09, 2021
Do you have a hard time staying focused on the task at hand? It's not easy to keep your attention on one thing, but you can take some steps to improve your attention span. This blog post will discuss increasing your focus and staying more engaged in what you do.
Why can't you pay attention for long?
Trying to stay focused doing something is a challenge. After a while, your mind will start to wander, looking for the next thing that can stimulate your brain. But, unfortunately, the human attention span only lasts for a few seconds before a new idea pops into your head again. So try concentrating on a task and timing yourself before a new thing pops into your head, no matter how irrelevant it is to your current job. You will notice how fast it is for the brain to start shifting gears and put your attention to something else.
If you have trouble paying attention, you are not alone. Most people have difficulty putting 100% attention on doing something for an extended time. Nowadays, it's even more challenging with all the things around us that can distract us from doing what's essential. It's also possible that there might be an underlying health condition causing you to have a short attention span. For example, you might have depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or a learning disability such as dyslexia. These health conditions can affect your mental health leading to problems with sustained attention.
Having a short attention span can affect our cognitive performance resulting in adverse effects on our work and daily tasks. When you have trouble focusing, it becomes more challenging to finish tasks. You might miss important details resulting in lower-quality output. Also, you might have difficulties communicating with others.
Fortunately, there are a few ways you can try doing to increase your attention span.
1. Break down tasks into smaller chunks
One thing that can boost your attention span is breaking down complex tasks into smaller ones. Sometimes, it's harder to maintain focus when you face a big daunting job in front of you. As you go along with your big project, your mind will wander off now and then, especially if the job will take a long time before completion. By breaking a big job into manageable chunks, it becomes easier to maintain your attention doing your job because you can finish a minor task in a short period. The sense of accomplishment also sets in faster, making you more motivated to proceed to the next job.
2. Resolve your problems as much as you can
When at work, it's ideal that you leave your problems at home so you can focus more on your job. Personal issues are one of the things that can constantly intrude in our minds while doing work. These things can always bother us, especially if it's a hard-pressing problem like finance, a relationship problem, or a health condition. It's hard to concentrate when you have something pressing in your mind. It's even more of a challenge if you are in a work-from-home arrangement since you are right there in the house where your problems reside.
Knowing that you have problems, you must solve them as soon as possible. The longer you let them linger, the more they will pile up. The sooner you solve them, the sooner you can reduce stress and keep your attention longer while doing your job.
3. Do some exercise
It's a well-known fact that exercise provides health benefits, including improving our attention spans. In addition, engaging in physical activity can help prevent diseases from settling in our bodies. Even taking a brisk walk for a few minutes every day can help in boosting our attention spans. So try to incorporate some time in your life every day to exercise to help your overall well-being.
4. Drink some water
Another healthy habit you can make is regularly drinking water to avoid dehydration. Studies show that not drinking water for two hours can affect our bodies and brains, leading to loss of concentration. So keep handy a bottle of water with you whenever you are at work or going outside for a time, especially during the summer season.
5. Eat some candy
If you have trouble maintaining your attention span for long, why not eat sweets like candy while working? Eating a hard candy that takes a while to dissolve in your mouth while working can help you be more attentive to what you are doing by improving your mood and focus. You can also try chewing gum or a piece of chocolate. These sweets can improve focus and help maintain your attention while working for several hours. Just make sure that your company allows eating sweets while working.
6. Maintain your engagement
When attending meetings, your focus will get tested when somebody is talking for too long and you are just sitting around listening. It would be best if you did something to keep yourself engaged to prevent your mind from wandering around. During meetings, try taking notes. Write down the important points discussed. This way, you will have a reason to listen and therefore keep your attention during the meeting. You can also try doing the same thing when you have to do one task for a long time, such as reading a lengthy article on a computer screen. The critical thing here is to do something related to your current job so you can get focused for a longer time.
7. Structure your day into time blocks
Structuring your day involves setting a specific time to start and finish a particular task. By having a set time until when you should do a job, you could maintain your attention better. You can't dawdle too much since you put yourself internal deadlines for everything you must do. This practice involves a great deal of discipline and time management. With this practice, you can also stop multitasking since there is a set time for each task without overlapping them. Don't forget to set time for short breaks between tasks and minimize the number of distractions while going through your daily routine.
There are several ways to increase attention span, and it's up to you to decide which ones can work for you. It's also essential to identify whether you have some health condition or learning disabilities preventing you from focusing on your tasks. Finally, putting in the conscious effort to maintain healthy habits like doing physical exercise and getting a good night's sleep will be beneficial to keep us alert and focused every day.