Do you often find yourself distracted when you have an important task to do? Whether it’s a work task, cleaning around the home, or whatever you have to get done, there are ways to cut down the distractions and improve your attention span. Follow these six tips and you’ll be more focused before you know it!
The internet has become an integral part of almost everyone’s lives – from checking email, to holding conversations, and finding information, it’s become a tool that we can’t live without. However, while you may need the internet, especially if it’s for work, the sheer amount of content means that it’s easy to get distracted.
Try setting a certain amount of time per day to check your emails, for example, half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the afternoon. This will ensure that important correspondence is answered and stop you from checking your inbox every 15 minutes. Save the information that you need to read and then go offline to read them, or even print them out. This helps you to gain the information that you need and stop you jumping between websites. Finally, set yourself a certain amount of “leisure time” for the internet. This could be half an hour at lunch, or ten minutes at the end of every couple of hours of work. This will stop you clicking aimlessly and the time limit means that you will be looking at things of benefit.
A good way to build your attention span and improve your memory is to play a “picture game”. Study a picture for a minute or so. Then, look away and try to remember as much of the picture as you can. Visualise and place objects in the image of your mind. With regular practice, your attention span and power of recall will improve.
Believe it or not, reading is one of the best ways to improve your attention span. If you are reading an interesting novel, you often find that you can read for hours without really noticing what is going around you. Reading for such an extended period of time helps to improve your attention span for other things that require an extended period of focus.
TV is one of the worst offenders when it comes to distraction, with the constant commercial breaks, and the ease of changing channels to something else. If you do want to watch TV, limit the amount of time you spend doing so. Otherwise, consider recording the program or hiring movies, so that you can watch TV without the interruptions.
Low blood sugar levels can affect the speed at which people process information and also shortens attention span. After the overnight fast that occurs when you sleep, it is important to eat a breakfast rich in carbohydrates and protein. The sugars will quickly sharpen your mind while complex carbohydrates and protein will sustain energy so that you can think well for extended periods. Along the same vein, never skip a meal as this will cause low blood sugar, in turn causing you to reach for a sugary fix, which will then be quickly digested, causing low blood sugar once again and creating a cycle.
A diet that is low in or free from artificial colourings, sweeteners, and preservatives may cause dramatic improvements in attention span. Also ensure that your diet is adequate in vitamins and minerals. For example, a magnesium deficiency can lead to fidgeting, anxious restlessness, and learning difficulties. B complex vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids, and zinc are all linked to the maintenance of a healthy attention span.
Research has shown that meditation can be even more effective than sleep in improving attention span. The form of meditation is really simple – just focus on an image or sound or on your own breathing. The theory is that meditating may restore synapses without the initial grogginess associated with sleep.