Attention span is defined as the length of time for which a person is able to concentrate mentally on a particular activity. Do you find yourself becoming easily distracted?
Well, the fast-paced world we live in has literally altered our brain chemistry, which impacts our ability to focus for long periods of time. So if you’re finding it tough to focus, you’re not alone!
According to WebMD the first sign of a short attention span is having trouble focusing on tasks. This may come across that you don’t care about others, when in reality that isn’t the case. As frustrating as it may be for yourself, or for others, becoming aware of this behaviour is a positive first step towards improving your attention span.
Common signs to look out for
- Trouble with reading long texts
- Partially finishing tasks
- Making careless mistakes
- Seeming not to listen
- Difficulty reading for long periods
- Poor time management and organization
What is the cause of a short attention span? There are a number of reasons, some of which are temporary and others that can be worked on:
- Response from added stimulation and/or stress
- Learning disorder
- Sensory processing disorder
Although having a short attention span isn’t detrimental to your health, it can surely take a toll on your personal and professional life.
How to address a short attention span
One of the most simple, yet effective ways to work on this is by making a conscious effort in your everyday life to address the problem. When things get hectic, take a moment to slow down, ground yourself and become aware of what’s going on. In addition to awareness, there are a few ways you can build your attention span:
- Limit all distractions: say bye-bye to your cell phone and any other obvious distractions when it’s time to buckle down and focus. Out of sight, out of mind, am I right? Put your distractions away where you can’t see them, or if you need it turn off your notifications.
- Reduce multitasking: doing this not only compromises the quality of your work or task at hand, but it can lead to major burnout. Try to make a conscious effort to complete one task at a time, start with the shorter tasks and work your way up. These small changes will help you remain focused and get more accomplished.
- Be mindful: practicing mindfulness can help you stay present and aware, which strengthens your mental well-being and as a result improves focus.
- Get outside: research has shown connecting with nature can increase productivity and concentration. If you can’t get outside, bring the outdoors inside by adding some fresh plants to your space, investing in an air purifier or essential oil diffuser to promote the relaxation that is nature.