“I sometimes worry about my short attention span, but not for long…” ~ Herb Caen
We All Have Struggled With Focus
With all the distractions in this day and age, it can be challenging to remain focused for extended periods.
We all have different struggles and trials, but life at specific points increases in difficulty and suffering.
When loved ones pass away, a traumatic event occurs, family needs us, responsibilities add up, we have to take a second job, and other adversity comes, it can be challenging to remain focused.
Today, we are going to take a look at how we can improve attention span.
It is always possible to begin again and learn to form new habits. You may already know what is required of you, and you have yet to implement the appropriate habits.
Whatever the case, we will be looking at some ways on how you can improve bad attention span. Suggestions are as follows:
- Time for Breaks
- Light Movement
- Eliminate Multitasking
- Build a “Flow Schedule”
- Detox from Technology
8 Ways to Improve Bad Attention Span
According to the National Library of Medicine (NIH), “research has found that mindfulness meditation training improves executive attention.”
Meditation is a fantastic way to improve attention span. Although it may take a little time and discipline, results can be almost instantaneously (depending on the frequency and length of each meditation session per day).
3-5 minutes of diaphragmatic breathing and meditation are recommended to ensure some results. Data shows, however, that 20 minutes can be highly beneficial for concentration.
Give yourself grace in building and developing this habit.
For more information on meditation and diaphragmatic breathing, see our article Should I Breathe With My Chest Or My Stomach?.
Reading can be a great way to boost concentration.
Though reading can initially be difficult for someone with a poor attention span, habitually reading can boost concentration and focus.
According to Hawaii Pacific Neuroscience, “Reading has been proven to increase your focus, attention span, concentration, and to improve memory.”
It takes discipline, but the key is reading something you enjoy.
Whether non-fiction, fiction, peak performance, philosophy, Theology, recipes, psychology, or the like, strive to read for 20-30 minutes daily.
Watch as your attention span improves over time!
3. Time for Breaks
Without breaks, we can quickly become tired, weary, and exhausted.
“Pushing through” may be the American way, but that does not make it right.
Much data has shown that taking breaks increases the productivity of their work, boosts concentration, and helps one not to reach burnout.
According to an article by Michigan State University, “Taking a break from work increases focus when employees return to work, thus improving their productivity. Additionally, taking breaks relieves some stress, which helps employees’ mental health and well-being. These factors contribute to increased job satisfaction.”
Flow research shows that we can only be “in the zone” with our work for a max of 120 minutes before productivity declines.
Try to take breaks periodically throughout the day. You will notice your attention span and ability to concentrate improve.
4. Light Movement
The National Institute of Medicine revealed in an article that “light exercise can influence essential processes related to cognitive skills.”
These light movements could be:
- Taking time in nature
- Light stretching for 5 minutes
- Mobility work (exercises can be found on YouTube)
Get creative! Take two 15-minute sessions daily during your work to do some of these. Watch as your attention span improves!
According to Harvard Health, “Exercise can also boost memory and thinking indirectly by improving mood and sleep, and by reducing stress and anxiety. Problems in these areas frequently cause or contribute to cognitive impairment.”
When we take time to exercise, it boosts dopamine, which improves mood and jump-starts the attention span.
Strive to spend 30 minutes a day of solid exercise. This can include:
- A fast-paced walk on a treadmill
- Weight lifting
- Riding a bike
- Sports, like tennis, soccer, boxing, etc.
6. Eliminate Multitasking
Multitasking completely destroys our ability to focus.
According to Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute Standford University, “Multitasking can interfere with working memory, cause students to do worse in school, and could possibly even create potentially long-term memory problems.”
Strive to focus on one thing at a time.
If you choose to make a to-do list, do not add more than five items. Doing so will make you feel overwhelmed.
In the words of Jesus, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:24 ESV).
Focus on what must be done today, and do not worry about tomorrow. This will only add to your stress, causing you to strive and multitask, inevitably leading to decreased productivity and less ability to focus and concentrate.
7. Build a “Flow Schedule”
A “Flow Schedule” is a schedule you set up each work day to follow.
It takes discipline, trial and error, and a willingness to focus on one thing for an extended period of time to accomplish.
For more information on Flow, see our following articles:
- What Are Flow Triggers? How to Reach a Flow State
- What are the Triggers of a Flow State?
- What is Flow?
- How to Achieve a State of Flow
- 7 Ways to Get Into a Flow State - Who to See
- The Science of Getting into Flow States
Your flow schedule could look something like this:
- 7-8 AM – Power Hour (20 minutes of meditation, 20 minutes of writing/journaling, 20 minutes of reading)
- 8-8:30 – Coffee & Smoothie
- 8:30-10:30 – Flow Block 1 (List Specific Task)
- 10:30-11 – Break
- 11-Noon – Flow Block 2 (List Specific Task)
8. Detox from Technology
Depending on how technology is used, it can lead to an excess of dopamine release.
According to Harvard University, “Smartphones have provided us with a virtually unlimited supply of social stimuli, both positive and negative. Every notification, whether it’s a text message, a “like” on Instagram, or a Facebook notification, has the potential to be a positive social stimulus and dopamine influx.”
Taking time away from technology can help reduce dopamine from being released without prior work.
The more dopamine we have stored, the less likely we are to feel fatigued, ultimately leading to poor attention span.
It’s difficult to focus when you have 10+ open tabs relating to work, social media, learning, etc.
Detoxing from technology can eliminate distractions, giving us more time to think and boosting our attention span.
Next Steps to Improving Attention Span
You have what it takes inside you to make a definite choice that will change the future trajectory of your health.
Our team at Tiger Medical has the experience, clinical skills, and coaching acumen to help you regain your focus and concentration.
To talk to one of our professionals, click here to schedule your call!
For further reading, view the following articles on our learning center: