Your attention span—the amount of time you can concentrate on something without getting distracted is crucial to your productivity and overall success in life. Whether you want to get better grades in school, pass that upcoming test, or improve your work performance, increasing your attention span can help you achieve your goals. Let’s explore how to improve concentration and focus?

What Causes Short Attention Span?

The average human attention span has shrunk in recent years, according to researchers at Princeton University and Brown University. In fact, the average attention span has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to eight seconds in 2013. Is this just part of an overall decline in human intelligence? Not necessarily.

The reasons for the decline can be linked to everything from smartphones to television and social media. Here are some of the main culprits:

Junk food

Junk food is destroying your memory, focus, and attention span. When you eat junk food, your body doesn’t get the nutrients it needs to function properly. This can lead to a short attention span and other issues like insomnia and poor sleep quality.

Junk food is also high in calories and sugar, which can wreck your metabolism and lead to weight gain. If you’re looking to improve your level of concentration and overall health, give up junk food and incorporate whole or minimally processed foods instead.

Lack of exercise

There is a direct correlation between lack of exercise and a short attention span. When you don’t get enough exercise, your brain can’t function as well. This causes a short attention span and decreased focus. The lack of exercise also causes your body to store more fat and reduces the levels of serotonin in your brain.

Besides, a lack of exercise causes low energy levels, and when people don’t have the proper amount of energy, they find it more difficult to focus on things that require sustained attention. This can lead to decreased productivity at work and in other areas of life.

So how can you combat this issue? One way is to make sure you are incorporating regular exercise into your routine. Not only will it help you stay mentally healthy, but it will also give you the energy you need to stay focused throughout the day.

Consuming too much coffee

There is a lot of debate about whether or not coffee causes a short attention span. While some people believe it doesn’t, there are several reasons why coffee can have this effect. First, coffee is a stimulant, and it can give you a burst of energy. However, this energy is quickly used up and you become more tired. This is why people who drink coffee often find it harder to focus on tasks that require concentration, such as schoolwork.

Another reason why coffee can have a short attention span is that it dehydrates you. When you drink coffee, your body goes into overdrive in an effort to remove the water from your system. This process uses up energy and can leave you feeling tired and irritable.

Finally, coffee also contains caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that can interfere with your sleep cycle. This means that it can keep you awake for longer periods of time, which makes it harder to focus on tasks. 

Conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and depression

ADHD is a disorder that is characterized by problems with attention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. It is most commonly diagnosed in children, but it can also occur in adults. ADHD can lead to problems in school and with activities that require sustained focus, such as working or playing organized sports.

Depression can also cause problems with attention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. People with depression often have low energy and a decreased ability to concentrate. They may also experience feelings of sadness, loneliness, and hopelessness.

The combination of ADHD and depression can make it difficult for people to stay focused on tasks. This can lead to problems in school, work, or other activities that require sustained focus.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for treating ADHD or depression. However, treatment options include medication, counseling, therapy, and other forms of care. If you are struggling with either ADHD or depression, please speak with your doctor about what might be best for you.”

Old age

The short attention span that comes with old age can have a significant impact on life. This is because an old short attention span often results in decreased ability to focus on tasks, increased distraction, and reduced capacity for multitasking. Furthermore, an age-related short attention span can also lead to difficulties understanding complex instructions and problem-solving.

All of this can make it difficult to accomplish daily tasks and meet deadlines, which can lead to frustration and even depression. Fortunately, there are ways to combat these issues and improve the quality of life for those who suffer from an old short attention span.

Rushed lifestyle

In our fast-paced, constantly-connected world, it’s no wonder our attention spans are shrinking. We’re constantly bombarded with stimuli, and our brains have to work overtime to filter it all out. This can lead to information overload, and eventually, a shorter attention span.

focus chart

How To Improve Concentration And Focus

1. Practice being more present

Be Here Now is a good rule of thumb to increase your attention span. Instead of thinking about what you have planned for later today, or ruminating on what happened last week, focus on what’s happening right now. As you focus on being present in your immediate surroundings and activities, you’ll notice that it becomes easier not to think about things that don’t matter at all. See Memory Improvement Tips.

2. Exercise

One of the easiest ways to improve your focus is through exercise. Not only does it clear your mind and relieve stress, but it also increases blood flow and oxygen supply to your brain, allowing you to process information more efficiently. Do some cardio or strength training regularly, preferably both. Incorporate mindfulness techniques into your workout routine as well: deep breathing and stretching can help you relax while staying focused. See Benefits Of Cardiovascular Exercise.

3. Take a break before you lose focus

Sometimes when we’re working on something, we get so engrossed in what we’re doing that our minds begin to wander, which is why it’s important to take breaks throughout your day. If you find yourself losing focus after spending a long time on one task (even if it’s only been 15 minutes), take a break. Go for a walk around your office or outside if you can, it will refresh you and keep you focused. See Signs Of Mental Exhaustion.

4. Avoid multitasking

Multitasking might be common these days, but it actually taxes your brain and makes it harder for you to pay attention. If you want a greater ability to focus on one thing at a time, start by limiting your multitasking time; give yourself time blocks during which you can only perform one task at a time. Why Is Stress Management Important?

5. Take a break from technology

The blue light from our technology makes us more prone to sleep deprivation, which in turn impairs our attention span. It’s not just a lack of sleep that can hurt your attention span; too much time spent on electronic devices will do it as well. If you have trouble focusing for long periods of time, take a break from these devices and try some old-fashioned exercises, like taking a walk or reading a book.

Every time you give your brain a break from working on a screen, you’re allowing it to explore other thoughts and ideas. This allows your brain time to integrate new information and then recall it more effectively when you sit down at your computer again. See Benefits Of Nature.

6. Change the way you see things

When you’re in a rush, your brain processes whatever it can as quickly as possible. However, research shows that simply altering your physical environment by looking at something in a different way, such as drawing attention to a pattern instead of its color can cause your brain to linger on that image longer. In turn, you’ll have more time to process it before moving on.

7. Set goals

Setting goals is an easy way to increase your focus. You’ll be focused on accomplishing your objectives instead of drifting from one activity to another. If you have trouble concentrating and focusing, try setting 3 – 5 goals for yourself per week. Be sure that each goal has a due date so that you know exactly when it needs to be completed.

8. Break Up Large Tasks into Smaller Steps

If you tend to be easily distracted, break up your work into small tasks and tackle them one at a time. While working on one task, set timers for yourself for when you’ll transition to another task. This will force you not only to focus on what you’re doing now but also to keep moving forward with your project. How To Stop Overthinking?

9. Maintain a healthy diet

Healthy eating habits provide you with better energy and focus and play a huge role in improving your attention span. Eating well gives you more brainpower and makes it easier for you to focus on important tasks. Make an effort to eat whole foods (no processed or packaged goods) that include protein, good fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. One great way to get enough nutrients is by starting each day with a healthy breakfast. See How To Eat Better For Healthy Longer Life?

9. Get enough sleep

Sleep is directly related to attention span and cognitive function. You don’t have to get as much sleep as a full-time napper, but six hours of sleep or more each night will likely improve your alertness and ability to focus. Aim for that amount of time on a regular basis, even on days when you feel like you can get by with less—you may find it easier than you think. Top 10 Benefits Of Getting Enough Sleep.  

That being said, some people may find it difficult to experience a good night’s sleep, and to help them out, here are some tips for improving your sleep quality and length:

Establish a regular bedtime routine. This might include winding down for 30 minutes before sleeping by reading, taking a bath or shower, using lavender oil or a Relaxation Ball, drinking chamomile tea or using essential oils before bed, and turning off all electronics an hour before bed.

Keep a cool bedroom environment. Temperatures in bedrooms can fluctuate dramatically, which can lead to restless nights. To keep your room at a comfortable temperature all night long, try sleeping in a cooler environment (around 67 degrees Fahrenheit), using blackout curtains and window coverings if possible, and installing an adjustable fan if you have trouble sleeping cool during the summer months.

Practice stress-free relaxation techniques before bed. Some helpful relaxation techniques include deep breathing exercises, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation exercises, guided imagery therapy, and even prayer.

10. Stay hydrated

It may sound obvious, but one of the easiest ways to improve your attention span is by staying hydrated. Sometimes we’re so busy that we forget to drink water, and when our bodies are in a dehydrated state, they become distracted and unable to focus. Be sure you’re drinking enough water throughout your day, and try not to rely on coffee (or other drinks) for energy. Benefits Of Drinking Water.

Final Thoughts

Many people suffer from short attention spans, and it’s believed to be caused by multiple factors, including what you eat, how much sleep you get, and even certain medical conditions.

Fortunately, you can improve your attention span by incorporating various simple practices into your daily life.

These may include engaging in physical activities, getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, maintaining a healthy diet, setting goals, limiting your device exposure, and avoiding multitasking.

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