Not Able to Stay Focused? Here Are a Few Practices to Help You Sail Through

Not Able to Stay Focused? Here Are a Few Practices to Help You Sail Through

Not Able to Stay Focused? Here Are a Few Practices to Help You Sail Through

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In the past two decades, the average duration of sustained focus has decreased from roughly 2½ minutes to approximately 45 seconds.

5th June 2024

By Sukhmani Kooner 

In today’s reel world, the attention span is decreasing and the struggle to focus is real. 

The modern world is flooded with distractions, from social media notifications to the constant influx of information. It’s no wonder that many people find it difficult to maintain focus for extended periods. Technology has brought incredible advancements, but it has also reshaped our habits and attention spans. Learning to manage distractions and cultivate focus is becoming an increasingly valuable skill in today’s fast-paced society.

According to a 2010 study, we spend nearly 47 percent of our waking hours thinking about something other than what we are doing. 

Why should a short attention span be a cause of concern for you?

·        Poor performance at work or school: Difficulty concentrating leads to lower productivity and may result in underachievement or missed deadlines.

·        Inability to complete daily tasks: Short attention spans hinder the ability to follow through on tasks, leading to unfinished chores or responsibilities.

·        Missing important details or information: Failing to maintain focus results in overlooking crucial details or instructions, leading to errors or misunderstandings.

·        Communication difficulties in relationships: Limited attention can impair active listening and engagement, causing misunderstandings or disconnects in personal and professional relationships.

·        Poor health due to neglect: Neglecting health due to distractions results in missed exercise, unhealthy eating habits and inadequate self-care routines, leading to deterioration of overall well-being.

In the past two decades, computer scientists and psychologists have researched attention spans. During this period, the average duration of sustained focus has decreased from roughly 2½ minutes to approximately 45 seconds.

There are a few steps that you can incorporate into your daily routine to improve focus:

·        Get Rid of the Source: Digital devices are notorious for diverting attention. To focus on challenging tasks, silence notifications, keep your phone out of sight and consider using website blockers to reduce online interruptions.

·      Organise Your Surroundings: External distractions can disrupt focus. Reduce background noise, organise your workspace and ensure optimal lighting and temperature for better concentration. A calm environment promotes effective mental focus.

·     Create a Plan: Begin by crafting a to-do list and prioritising tasks. Divide big projects into smaller, achievable steps. A structured plan enhances organisation and focus.

·      Pomodoro Technique: The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method involving concentrated work intervals followed by brief breaks. Allocate 25 minutes for focused work, then enjoy a short break, before resuming another productive session.

·      Take Tasks One at a Time: While multitasking appears efficient, it diminishes focus and elevates errors. Train yourself to handle tasks sequentially, dedicating full attention to each. This enhances outcomes and efficiency.

·     Mindfulness: Engaging in mindfulness activities such as meditation can enhance concentration by teaching your mind to remain focused on the present and avoid distractions. Numerous free meditation apps and online resources are accessible for beginners.

·    Diet: Your food and beverage choices affect cognitive function. Choose brain-enhancing foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Stay hydrated to support brain function. Avoid sugary drinks and processed foods to prevent energy crashes and maintain focus.

·    Get Enough Sleep: Lack of sufficient sleep greatly diminishes cognitive abilities and focus. Strive for 7-8 hours of quality sleep nightly. Maintain a consistent sleep routine to regulate your body’s natural sleep patterns.

·    Self-Affirmation: Encouraging yourself positively is beneficial. Establish realistic goals and offer rewards upon task completion to maintain motivation and concentration on achieving your aims.

·     Get Moving: Regular physical activity offers various advantages, including heightened concentration. Exercise boosts blood circulation to the brain, improving cognitive abilities and focus.

As said by Elie Venezky, author of Hack Your Brain, in Fast Company, “Focus is a muscle, and you can build it. Too many people labour under the idea that they’re just not focused, and this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Once you drop this mistaken belief, you can take a much more realistic approach to building focus.”