6 ways to improve your attention span

Faryal Panhwar Jan 04 2016
study

For most of us who try to study when exams aren’t near, it just doesn’t happen, does it?

You open the text book, read a few lines, and somehow, totally inadvertently, you have an impulse to check your phone for new messages/notification etc. No matter how much you want, you just can’t focus. You may have a short attention span.

Good thing is that this problem can be overcome.

Attention span is the amount of time you spend doing something without getting distracted. Why is it important to have a good attention span? It is because, as agreed by educators and psychologists, it is crucial for the achievement of goals. The average attention span recorded in 2000 was 12 seconds; the number dropped further in 2013 and was recorded to be eight seconds. This decrement is no surprise since there is way too much external stimulation now than before.

To become a more efficient individual at home and work, you require focus and essentially a good attention span. Read further to find out some effective tips to help you with that.

DITCH THE COFFEE; EXERCISE INSTEAD!

Exercise has been repeatedly told to boost focus and attention. It’s simple how it does that. Physical activity removes chemicals from the brain that hinder memory and learning. It works better than caffeine (coffee), theophylline (tea). Want to be smarter? Exercise!

KEEP YOURSELF HYDRATED!

Studies have shown that even mild dehydration (one where you don’t even feel thirsty) can cause inattention. The age old adage of drinking a minimum of eight glasses of water has been replaced with nine glasses for women and a minimum of 12.5 for men! So drink more fluids to focus better!

KNOW WHAT IS IMPORTANT AND COMES FIRST

For a better direction to achieve your goal, it is imperative you know what comes first in your priority list. Having problems doing that? Think about what causes you the most distress or worry.

That is most probably the task most important that needs to be done. Having a better idea of your tasks or assignments will help you determine where to direct your focus.

RID YOURSELF OF OBLIVIOUS DISTRACTIONS

One of the most important and leading causes of inattention is built on the foundation of technology, and the ability to be connected to everyone everywhere all the time. Make sure that when you sit down to finish a task, you close all unnecessary tabs, restrict the number of times you check your mail. If you’re trying to do your homework, or learn a new chapter, it will definitely take you more time if you are constantly disturbed by notifications from Facebook or your group chats on WhatsApp. It’s best to set those aside.

SAY NO TO MULTI-TASKING

While many of us may profess to master the art of multi-tasking, researchers argue that by doing so, none of the tasks performed simultaneously are achieved at their maximum. Constantly switching between tasks keeps you from giving your entire and undivided attention to just one task, taking more time and hence more effort to get it done. Know this: Multi-tasking is the enemy of focus!

So, take one task a time, letting it be your sole focus until the completion of the work. It’ll stress you out less and you will also find yourself spending make more significant progress!

MEDITATE!

Meditation is key to mental and ultimately physical peace. With a few minutes to yourself, relax your mind and let it relax your body, ridding it of all stresses and worries. Make it a part of your daily routine to achieve better and consistent focus. Meditation itself in a way is practicing to focus!

Faryal Panhwar

Faryal Panhwar:

Faryal is currently a second year M.B.B.S student at Ziauddin University. She is an active participate in the Model UN where her passion for debate has received her several delegate awards. Seeking to discover the writer in herself Faryal is now working as a freelance writer for HTV.