If you have a short attention span, you’ll find it tricky to stay on task and focus on what you’re doing. This can be particularly problematic when you’re at work or studying. In fact, a short attention span can impact how well you pick up new ideas or learn new things in any environment.
However, it isn’t just professional matters that can be affected by your average span. If you find it difficult to concentrate on what people are saying or your mind wanders when people are talking to you, it can affect your interpersonal relationships too.
If you want to improve your focus, there are ways to enhance your attention span. With these handy tips, you can increase your attention span and improve your ability to concentrate:
1. Identify the Underlying Causes
Although having a short attention span isn’t uncommon, there are instances in which it’s caused or exacerbated by an underlying medical condition. An undiagnosed head injury, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or depression are all associated with finding it difficult to focus, as well as other symptoms.
If you suspect your low attention span is linked to health issues, it’s well worth consulting a physician. Treating the underlying medical problem may help to enhance your attention span and make it easier for you to focus.
2. Practice Time Management
Improving your time management can be an effective way of boosting your attention span. If you struggle to get through your ‘To Do’ list, take a look at these top time management tips now. By limiting distractions with digital tools like BlockSite, taking regular breaks, and using an online calendar, you can make it easier to cope with your day-to-day activities.
People with a short attention span may find it hard to remember tasks they need to complete, as well as struggling to focus on them when they do engage. By using online tools to create daily itineraries and learning how to manage your time, you can ensure that nothing slips your mind.
3. Think of Your Brain as a Muscle
Like any other muscle, the brain needs to be trained in order to operate optimally. Although your attention span may be fairly low now, it doesn’t have to stay that way. By practicing brain training consistently, you can gradually increase your attention span and achieve long-term results.
Even if you don’t feel like you’re making progress at first, stick with tried and tested techniques to improve your ability to focus. Once your brain adapts to your new routine, you’ll find that your attention span naturally increases.
4. Improve Sleep Quality
Sleep is vital to our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. If you’re not getting enough sleep or your sleep quality is poor, it could be impeding your ability to concentrate. One bad night’s sleep is enough to impact your attention span, but chronic sleep problems can be even worse.
As well as consulting with your physician, you can use lifestyle changes to address any sleep issues. Relaxation or stress reduction techniques, such as yoga and meditation, are a great way to promote restfulness, for example. Similarly, improving your sleep hygiene can help you to a decent night’s rest, which will allow you to optimize your attention span.
5. Stay Hydrated
It’s estimated that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated, which means there’s a good chance you’re not drinking enough water. While severe dehydration can cause noticeable symptoms, such as rapid breathing and fainting, mild or moderate dehydration can be more subtle.
If you aren’t properly hydrated, you may experience foggy thinking, irritability, difficulty remembering things, and reduced concentration, as well as heightened anxiety levels. As dehydration impairs your cognitive functioning, it could be contributing to your reduced attention span.
By drinking the recommended daily intake of water, you can drastically increase your attention span, as well as eradicating other symptoms associated with dehydration, including dry skin, fatigue, and headaches. Similarly, cutting out foods, drinks, and ingredients that can dehydrate you may help you to boost your hydration levels.
Why Does Your Attention Span Matter?
Your ability to concentrate and focus has a major impact on every area of your life. Your performance in school is largely based on your ability to process and retain information, for example, so you’ll need to be able to pay attention to what’s happening in lessons. Similarly, having a low attention span can be linked to poor performance in the workplace, as well as communication difficulties and an inability to complete essential tasks.
As your attention span has such a significant effect on your life, it’s important to do everything you can to optimize it. By using time management strategies, training your brain, and identifying underlying causes, you can successfully boost your attention span and improve your ability to concentrate.