Your attention span is the amount of time you can concentrate on a task without becoming distracted According to a study; the average human has an 8-second attention span. That is even less than a goldfish by one second
Most educators and psychologists agree that the ability to focus attention on a task is crucial for the achievement of one’s goals. It’s no surprise attention spans have been decreasing over the past decade with the increase in external stimulation. The average focused attention span in 2013 was 8 seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000, and one second shorter than the average attention span of—a goldfish (9s).
Staying on task can be difficult, but it can be particularly challenging when you are surrounded by constant distraction. In today’s always-connected world, diversions are nothing more than a click away. Even during quiet moments, distraction is literally at your fingertips as you find yourself checking your one social media or the other
Fortunately, focus is a lot like a mental muscle. The more you work on building it up, the stronger it gets. Why is focus so important? The ability to concentrate on something in your environment and direct mental effort toward it is critical for learning new things, achieving goals, and performing well across a wide variety of situations. Your ability to focus can mean the difference between success and failure.
You might develop an easily distracted habit that is making it difficult for you to complete your work in an efficient manner, but the good news is that there are several ways to improve your focus and concentration. Here is a list of effective ways you can begin to use today.
Avoid Multitasking Too Much
Focus on one thing at a time. While multitasking sometimes seems like a great way to get a lot done quickly, it turns out that people are actually rather bad at it.
You might think that performing several tasks at the same time is a great way to finish more projects, but this can lead to making errors because you must change your mental focus all the time. In addition, as you switch from one activity to another, you may need more tools to complete a task, causing you to waste time and eventually lose your focus.
Multitasking is the enemy of focus. While most people will profess to have the ability to do multiple things at once, the scientific truth is that when attempting to accomplish multiple tasks simultaneously, none of the attempted tasks are completed at the highest level. Constant switching between tasks takes away from getting the other done.
Part of improving your mental focus is all about making the most of the resources you have available. Stop multitasking and instead give your full attention to one thing at a time.
Have a Written Schedule
Rather than working on tasks randomly, create a written schedule to get more accomplished. You can place a written schedule on your desk or wall to remind you when you can take a break. By having a written schedule, you will become more focused on what you need to do each day.
Take Breaks Occasionally
You might think that taking breaks while working is a waste of time, but this is a wrong assumption. It is important to take breaks throughout the day to clear your mind.
Have you ever tried to focus on the same thing for a long period of time? After a while, your focus starts to break down and it becomes more and more difficult to devote your mental resources to the task. Not only that, but your performance ultimately suffers as a result.
Traditional explanations in psychology have suggested that this is due to attentional resources being depleted, but some researchers believe that it has more to do with the brain’s tendency to ignore sources of constant stimulation.
Researchers have found that even taking very brief breaks by shifting your attention elsewhere can dramatically improve mental focus. So the next time you are working on a prolonged task, be sure to give yourself an occasional mental break.
Shift your attention to something unrelated to the task at hand, even if it is only for a few moments. These short moments of respite might mean that you are able to keep your mental focus sharp and your performance high when you really need it.
Get Rid Of Distractions
Today’s society is built on a foundation of technology and the ability to be connected to everyone everywhere all of the time. However, that saturation with “connection” is one of the root causes of inattention and lack of focus.
Stay away from unnecessary distractions while working in order to complete a job faster. Some of the most common distractions while working include stopping to talk to coworkers, watching television or reading your email. Close your office door, disconnect the cable from your television and use self-control to avoid reading the messages from friends.
It is said that on average, an office worker checks their email 30 times in ONE hour. So, when sitting down to focus on a task, you can close all irrelevant tabs, stay away from checking email, and settle in a quiet environment. If you are constantly getting text messages and Facebook/Twitter notifications, set your phone aside for a predetermined amount of time.
Get Some Exercise.
Physical activity can help improve your attention and focus, as it releases chemicals in the brain that affect learning and memory. Even better than a cup of coffee, exercise can provide a short-term boost to your mental and cognitive performance, making you smarter and making it easier to focus. Who wouldn’t want to be smarter
Set a Deadline for Completing Tasks
Learn how to manage your time effectively by creating your own written deadlines for tasks. If you have 30 days to write a term paper for a class, then it doesn’t mean that you actually need to wait until the last day to begin researching and writing it. By creating your own deadlines to finish a project, you can break it down into rough steps, making it easier to write an excellent term paper.
Turn Off Your Cell Phone
While having a cell phone is a great modern convenience, it is a huge distraction and it can also waste a lot of your time. If you are addicted to your cell phone, then you may need to turn it off while you are working to avoid reading texts or making calls to friends. By keeping your cell phone turned off while you are working, you will focus on your tasks better, helping you get things done.
Do the Ones You Enjoy First
There are probably several tasks at work that you enjoy completing more than other tasks, and if you finish these jobs first, then you will have extra time to work on the difficult or less enjoyable tasks. Think carefully about the tasks that make you feel energized doing them, and place these jobs on the top of your daily work list.
Manage Your Own Well-being
To boost your own productivity, make sure to manage your own well-being by eating nutritious foods, exercising and getting enough sleep. Monitor yourself of how you feel with the change you might make in your daily routine. This is to see what works best for you. If you feel fantastic, then you are going to have a brain that focuses longer and works better, making it possible to complete tasks efficiently.
Keep Practicing to Strengthen Your Focus
Building your mental focus is not something that will happen overnight. Even professional athletes require plenty of time and practice in order to strengthen their concentration skills. One of the first steps is to recognize the impact that being distracted is having on your life. If you are struggling to accomplish your goals and find yourself getting sidetracked by unimportant details, it is time to start placing a higher value on your time. By building your mental focus, you will find that you are able to accomplish more and concentrate on the things in life that truly bring you success, joy, and satisfaction.
Meditation is notorious for relaxation that can greatly improve your ability to concentrate and focus. By spending a few minutes in meditation, you can noticeably restore your calm and inner peace. Meditation is for anyone. It’s simple and inexpensive, and it doesn’t require any special equipment. All you need is your mind to remain focused