It's quite fascinating to know that humans have an attention span of only 8.25 seconds. On average, users read only 20% of the text on a webpage. Even more interesting is the fact that only 10% of the readers manage to reach the end of the page. Furthermore, people tend to read only half of the words on a webpage that contains less than 111 words. This percentage drops to 28% for web pages with more than 590 words. However, since you are still reading this, it is evident that you find the content valuable and worth your time. If you are on a quest to improve your attention span, you have come to the right place. This blog is full of tips and tricks to help you increase attention span.
Do you Have a Shorter Attention Span?
It is a widely known fact that people's attention spans are decreasing with the advent of technology. Many individuals are looking for ways to enhance their focus, not just because of the influence of technology but because our brains are hardwired to seek out new information. Discovering new information is very satisfying. However, this desire for novelty can sometimes interfere with our ability to remain focused, as it tends to dominate the part of our mind that tells us to stick with what we are doing. Although it may be a small step, increasing your attention span little by little can help you achieve your goals.
Factors Leading to a Shorter Attention Span
That said, if you suffer from a short attention span, it might be a symptom of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). Having a short concentration span doesn't mean you lack discipline or reason; your intentions and appeals are changing rapidly. You might have a short attention span if you:
- Forget things constantly.
- Have the urge to click off this blog and scroll via social media.
- Find each endeavour to read interrupted by an itch pulling you back to your cell phone.
- Have a hard time watching a long video without checking the time or your phone.
Speaking of videos, "How to Get Your Brain to Focus" by Chris Bailey is an interesting video based on improving your attention span and is just one of several Must Watch Ted Talks for students.
How to Increase Attention Span?
Shrinking attention span is not permanent. There are several ways of improving attention span, but they require consistency and perseverance. These methods have two purposes - confining your distractions and enhancing your focus. Below are a few tips and tricks to improve attention and concentration. Also, Let's take a look at how to increase attention span.
1. Stop Multitasking
So, you call yourself the master multitasker? While this might seem an efficient and productive way of getting your work done, the truth is quite the opposite. Focusing on two different things at the exact time isn't cognitively feasible. What you call multitasking is your brain rapidly trading back and forth between tasks instead of handling both tasks simultaneously, making you tired quicker and accomplishing sloppy work. E.g. A chef preparing two extremely difficult dishes might succeed in completing both but won't achieve the same level of quality as they would focusing on just one dish. This is the first thing to remember when working on increasing attention span.
Tip: Prioritise your work. Complete the most important tasks first and then the rest; remember to take short refreshing breaks.
2. Take breaks
Adding short breaks like the Pomodoro technique helps your brain focus on one task better. After a long day of physical movement, your body might need to rest to recover. Just like your body, your brain, too, needs rest after extensive exercise to regain clarity. Including regular breaks into your day can help you recover your spent energy and is a great way to increase your attention span. How do you decide when to take breaks? Here are a few study break ideas. You might worry that taking breaks might interrupt your workflow, but the benefits will overpower your doubts, inadvertently increasing attention span.
Tip: Taking breaks has provenly enhanced productivity, creativity and job satisfaction and reduced stress levels.
Mental and physical exercise is a good way to increase attention span. This is also a great way of ensuring you stay productive while studying online, as this is one of the most common issues students face, especially when learning online. While we're on the subject of things physical, let's also establish one other crucial factor: getting enough sleep will lead to increasing attention span.
Tip: Studies show physical activity leads to improved cognitive control. Taking a brisk walk of 30 minutes daily should help refresh your mind.
So, how do you improve attention span through exercise directly? Meditation is the answer! By training your mind to focus and redirecting distracting thoughts, you are using meditation to improve attention span. By building this productive habit, you are working on increase attention span and developing other values, such as self-discipline and a positive outlook, while lowering your stress levels. Meditating regularly will help you build a habit and help you out in the long run, one of the most effective ways to increase attention span.
Tip: You can improve your attention span by focusing on your breath and pulling your mind back when it wanders. Read our guide, mediation for students, and increase your concentration power.
5. Spend Time with Nature
Polish those attention muscles through exercise and meditation. Studies show that spending time in nature will help you recharge your attention bar. Even looking at a picture of nature can have enormous revitalising effects and is one of the effective ways to improve attention span.
Fact: Research into ecotherapy (a type of treatment which includes doing activities outside in nature) has shown it can help with mild to moderate depression levels.
6. Chew Gum
Chewing gum can also have a good effect on your routine while also reducing your stress levels. Surprisingly, chewing gum is also a great way to increase attention span. Although it might not have a long-lasting effect on your ability to focus, chewing gum is certainly a go-to option when you need a quick way to improve attention span, especially for things that require you to exercise your pictorial and audio memory. Drinking water and staying hydrated are other ways to increase attention span too.
Fact: One theory suggests that chewing gum can increase physiological arousal, leading to improved attention, learning, memory, and performance.
7. Play the Right Music
Boom! When focusing, you can easily get distracted by a noisy environment, resulting in a short attention span. A study found that those listening to ambient and classical music could focus much better than those in silence. Short breaks between music benefit your brain, so try listening to a playlist or radio station to increase your attention span.
Tip: organised noise - music - can greatly improve your attention span like 'Brown Noise'.
8. Active Listening
Training yourself to listen actively will help you better understand what your peers and professors are saying. Focusing on a single source of information, such as a podcast or a blog (wink!) and devoting your entire attention to it. That's right! No more scrolling through your Instagram feed while listening to podcasts. Why not combine two of the best ways to increase attention span by listening to a podcast while taking a walk?
Tip: You can practice active listening by solely concentrating on what someone is saying and not actively trying to form a response
9. Minimise Distractions
As we already discussed, your brain actively tones down any environmental distractions. The noisier and more distracting your surroundings are, the more energy you will require, and the quicker your brain will tire out. So, a good way to increase your attention span is by reducing the energy you spend muting unnecessary stimuli. You can do this by making sure anything distracting is far away. Even having a phone in the room can be distracting. Social media can cause plenty of distractions on its own, so here are a few ways to limit these:
- Schedule tasks that require you to check your phone, such as checking social media, emails, and texts into predesignated batches, so you don't spend too much time and stray from the task at hand.
- Turn off all your notifications when you don't require them. These might interfere with your focus, so getting rid of them is an easy way to increase your attention span.
- Try doing a digital detox, which includes reducing screen time and minimising the use of unproductive apps.
10. Take Notes
By removing all distracting stimuli in your environment, you might find your surroundings quite dull. This can even happen in a boring meeting or lecture. To make sure you stay focused, you can use note-taking to improve your attention span. It helps you improve your memory and trains your brain to recall specific information faster. Taking notes no longer requires a pen and paper. You can simply use a note-taking app to do so. This technique is quite helpful when preparing for an exam.
Benefits of Improving Attention Span
Now that we have looked at how to increase attention span, the benefits of an improving attention span are limitless. Engaging in activities to increase attention span is the equivalent of attempting to rewire your brain for good! An increasing attention span grasps knowledge and information way quicker than a short attention span, which is focused on too many things at once, achieving very little in the end.
- An increased attention span will help you pick out things and hobbies you like. Doing activities to increase attention span while not enjoying them can't possibly work. Therefore, it is a great way to isolate your interests.
- You can improve your attention span and make your life so much simpler. It is no surprise that attention spans used to be better before the advent of technology. Therefore, improving your attention span correlates to making your life simpler and more convenient.
- Fine-tuning your mental endurance is almost just like working out! Activities to increase attention span work, like progressive overloads in lifting weights. Each day, you take a few minutes to practise focus; that'll help increase attention span, and over time, you will see an increase in focus.
In conclusion, improving your attention span is like taking your brain to the gym, just like building physical strength requires consistent effort and practice. But don't worry, you don't need to be a superhero like Captain America or Wonder Woman to improve attention span. You just need simple techniques like minimising distractions, taking breaks, and actively listening. And if you struggle to stay focused, don't beat yourself up! With a little discipline and perseverance, you'll be able to stay focused, crush your goals, and maybe even impress your friends with your newfound Sherlock-like attention superpowers. May the force (of concentration) be with you!