How to focus better and increase your attention span

Dear Lifehacker,
I find myself getting bored with even simple things. Sitting in a meeting or class, going to the movies and sitting in one place for three hours, even going to a concert—they all sound like fun but I hate the idea of doing one single thing for hours on end. I’m usually okay once I’m actually doing any of them though! How can I improve my fragmented attention span so getting into these things isn’t so difficult?

Sincerely,
Look Over There

Dear Look Over There,
Don’t feel bad: Many of us have had our attention spans all but crushed under the heel of always-on smartphones, a compulsory need to stay on top of what others are doing online, a fast-paced world that doesn’t stop for us to enjoy a movie or have dinner with a friend, and access to all of those things at our fingertips anytime, at home or on the go.

Still, it’s not the tools to blame for the way we use them, and not all is lost! The world will get along just fine while you see a movie, or give your friend your full attention at dinner. Here are some tips to help you reassure yourself of that fact, and make the process a little less painful.

Embrace Single-Tasking Whenever Possible

Mastering any skill requires practice and patience, and boosting your attention span is no different. The absolute best thing you can do is embrace single-tasking whenever you can, and work hard to stay focused. We’re not just saying “focus harder” here either, instead, think about the things you do at home and at work that really do require singular focus, and make those projects first on your to-do list. Your mind may wander, or you may start to reach for your phone or think about doing something else, but try to resist those thoughts and stick to the task at hand. If you do get distracted, don’t admonish yourself, just catch it and renew your focus.

For example, If you’re playing video games on the couch for example, leave your phone on a charger somewhere away from you so you’re not tempted to check Twitter or Facebook while you play. If you’re cleaning the house, turn on some music and work on a whole room or complete a whole task. Don’t clean one countertop and then take a break. Give yourself the benefit of being fully immersed in whatever it is you choose to do.

Of course, this doesn’t work for everything—you may only have a few minutes to clean, for example, or you might want your phone handy to look up walkthroughs for your game. Those things are fine, but make an occasion out of single-tasking, whether it’s at home on your own time, or at work while you hammer out a report or work on a project. Don’t forget to reward yourself for single-tasking, too. After all, reward is part of the habit loop , and we’re trying to make single-tasking and singular focus a habit whenever we can.

Master the Habit Loop to Break Bad Habits and Build Better Ones

There are plenty of tools to help you build better habits, but in many ways it really comes down…

Push Yourself into Fun Situations that Also Require Focus

Here’s a secret: I hate the idea of going to the movies. I love movies, mind you, but the thought of going to the theater unnerves me. Sitting in an uncomfortable seat with tons of people for two to three hours, only doing one thing—watching the movie—unnerves me. At home I can fire up a movie on Netflix and play with my phone or tablet to take the edge off doing one thing for three hours.Knowing this is about myself is why I force myself to go to the movies sometimes. I know I’ll have a great time once I’m there (so it’s not like I’m forcing myself to do something I hate), and that voice in my head that tells me to stay home—whether it’s the movies or a social event—is almost always wrong. Every time I go, I feel better for having done it, even if I did just single-task and focus on one thing for three hours.

You can do the same thing. Just make sure you’re pushing yourself into things you know you’ll actually enjoy, but are only put off by because of their requirement of your full attention. Whether it’s a hobby or pet project, a class you’ve always wanted to take, a social event, or—like me—the movies, kick yourself into doing those things that require singular attention, and then commit yourself to them. It definitely beats forcing yourself to turn your phone off in meetings to try and build your attention span. This way, you don’t feel like you’re punishing yourself. If you know you’ll enjoy them once you’re there, it’s a great way to practice single-tasking in a safe, fun situation.

Last Updated: April 8, 2021 References

This article was co-authored by George Sachs, PsyD. George Sachs is a Licensed Psychologist and the Owner of Sachs Center based in New York, New York. With over ten years of experience, Dr. Sachs specializes in treating ADD/ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders in children, teens, and adults. He holds a BS in Psychology from Emory University. Dr. Sachs earned his Doctorate of Psychology (PsyD) from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology, Chicago. He completed his clinical training in Chicago at Cook County Hospital, Mt. Sinai Hospital, and the Child Study Center. Dr. Sachs completed his internship and postdoctoral work at the Children’s Institute in Los Angeles, where he supervised and trained therapists in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT). He has been trained as a Gestalt Therapist and certified by the Gestalt Associates Training Program of Los Angeles. Dr. Sachs is the author of The Adult ADD Solution, Helping the Traumatized Child, and Helping Your Husband with Adult ADD. He has appeared on the Huffington Post, NBC Nightly News, CBS, and WPIX discussing his holistic approach to ADD/ADHD treatment.

There are 19 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

This article has been viewed 347,434 times.

Increasing your attention span can benefit you greatly, especially in the work place. Improving your overall attention span takes some dedication, but some fairly simple tricks can help. Work on engaging in certain activities, such as meditation, that are shown to boost attention span. Take initiative to better manage your time. Make sure you’re using your time wisely and take breaks as needed. You should also adjust your overall lifestyle. Cutting back on stress and improving your sleep can greatly improve attention span.

Last Updated: April 8, 2021 References

This article was co-authored by George Sachs, PsyD. George Sachs is a Licensed Psychologist and the Owner of Sachs Center based in New York, New York. With over ten years of experience, Dr. Sachs specializes in treating ADD/ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders in children, teens, and adults. He holds a BS in Psychology from Emory University. Dr. Sachs earned his Doctorate of Psychology (PsyD) from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology, Chicago. He completed his clinical training in Chicago at Cook County Hospital, Mt. Sinai Hospital, and the Child Study Center. Dr. Sachs completed his internship and postdoctoral work at the Children’s Institute in Los Angeles, where he supervised and trained therapists in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT). He has been trained as a Gestalt Therapist and certified by the Gestalt Associates Training Program of Los Angeles. Dr. Sachs is the author of The Adult ADD Solution, Helping the Traumatized Child, and Helping Your Husband with Adult ADD. He has appeared on the Huffington Post, NBC Nightly News, CBS, and WPIX discussing his holistic approach to ADD/ADHD treatment.

There are 19 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

This article has been viewed 347,434 times.

Increasing your attention span can benefit you greatly, especially in the work place. Improving your overall attention span takes some dedication, but some fairly simple tricks can help. Work on engaging in certain activities, such as meditation, that are shown to boost attention span. Take initiative to better manage your time. Make sure you’re using your time wisely and take breaks as needed. You should also adjust your overall lifestyle. Cutting back on stress and improving your sleep can greatly improve attention span.

When you are involved in too many projects at a go, it is possible for some details to fall through the cracks. Forgetting important information can affect your work, family, and social life. If you find it hard to remember details about things, then you might need to work on your attention to detail. It is possible for you to improve your mind’s ability to remember things. This will entail the use of organizational tools, working under the right setting, and also limiting distractions. You can go further and take up attention improving exercises. Here are some tips on how to improve attention to detail.

Tips for Improving Attention to Detail

Get Organized

You need to have some sort of organization in your life to be able to develop the skill of paying attention to detail. You need to find a system that works for you in terms of keeping appointments, tracking tasks, and meeting deadlines. Having a task board can go a long way in helping you get organized.

Use Lists

Making lists is one of the ways to improve attention to detail. You will know how and when things are supposed to be done. This way, you are less likely to lose track of all the things you need to do as you have then written down. Make sure to place the list where you can see it as you go about your tasks for the day.

Keep a long-term list as well as a short-term list. This helps you to make plans for different activities in advance. When items in your long-term list are almost due, place them as short-term goals as you place new long-term goals to your long-term list. This ensures a good rotation of the things you need to get done. This way, you will be able to meet deadlines in good time.

Check off items that are accomplished. This prevents you from getting confused as to whether or not you accomplished a task.

Stick to a Schedule

Wondering how to improve attention to detail? You can do it by learning how to work around a schedule. Not having a schedule only means that you do things without organization. This, in turn, leaves a lot of things undone and can get frustrating. To ensure you always get things done in good order, go to bed the same time each day and get up the same day each day. This trains your body to a specific routine and helps you to get enough sleep for your body and mind.

Limit Your Distractions

Distractions can come in different forms. It can be from family, friends and even your spouse. The internet and social media can also be distractions. It is very difficult to pay attention when you are constantly being interrupted. Distractions cause you to forget things.

  • Ensure you work in a space that allows you to focus. It should have fewer people coming and going, should be well lit, and conducive for work.
  • Your mobile devices should be on silent whenever you’re trying to focus on something.

    Avoid Multitasking

    When you try to multitask, your attention is split amongst all the things you’re doing. This is counterproductive when you’re trying to learn how to pay attention to detail. Ensure you handle one task at a time. This way, you are able to give your undivided attention and get everything done faster. Avoid using your phone or the internet when you’re trying to get tasks done. If you find yourself worrying about another task while trying to complete a task in your list, add the task you’re worried about to your list. This way, you will eventually address it at the appointed time.

    Exercise

    Exercising is another way to improve your attention to detail and ability to concentrate. Engaging in exercise at least for half an hour each day will help to improve your memory and attention to detail. Exercise routines can entail taking walks, jogging or running. Biking or hiking are also ideal exercises for your mind. Yoga and meditation are also good for your mind, body, and soul.

    Attention Improving Exercises to Practice

    Use Memory Cards

    Wondering how to improve attention to detail using memory cards? Memory cards help you to stay focused and remember details. To use memory cards for memory improvement, start by gathering a group of cards and split them into 8 to 10 pairs. Place the cards face down, flip them over to look and place them back face down.

    Try and remember where similar cards are placed and match them up. Eliminate the cards by selecting pairs. This helps you to remember details about the different cards on the table as you try to match them up. This is a good way to improve your memory and attention to detail.

    Using Picture Puzzles

    Use the ‘what is wrong with this picture’ puzzles. These can be gotten in children books and magazines. With time, you can advance to more complicated picture puzzles. These are said to beneficial when learning you want to improve attention to detail since they help to improve concentration and attention span.

    Improve Your Math Skills

    Mathematics requires a lot of skill and attention to be able to solve. Solving math quizzes can be a good way to sharpen your concentration skills. Try balancing your budgets by hand. This helps you to pay attention to the numbers. This also improves your accuracy since you need to get the numbers right.

    How to focus better and increase your attention span

    Learn Meditation

    Meditation is regarded as an important way to improve attention to detail. It helps to improve physical health, mental health and can also improve your memory. Meditation calms your mind thus reducing stress. It also helps to improve your concentration levels since you are required to focus to be able to meditate. Find a quiet place to sit every day for at least 15 minutes. Block away every distractive thought and focus on breathing deep and exhaling. This is how to improve attention to detail.

    Most people who click on this article won’t finish reading it. So says Nick Carr . The New York Times will remind you that you’ll probably forget it in a few minutes . This idea’s so prevalent, even the Onion has started taking jabs.

    There’s some truth to it. Posts like this and search trends point to what we’re after. Many people want the ability to focus more and feel like they’re losing the ability to focus on a particular task for long periods of time. We feel like we’re losing that ability. Getting Things Done and all the other books out there tend to give you some rituals to cope with the problem — but only if you could stick to them. Most of us, just a few weeks after reading that book, sit next to filing cabinets (virtual or otherwise) and go about our merry way.

    That’s because we’re focused on the wrong thing. To get a longer attention span — even a span long enough to read this article — don’t worry about managing the information. Worry about managing your attention. Paying attention, for long periods of time, is a form of endurance athleticism. Like running a marathon, it requires practice and training to get the most out of it. It is as much Twitter’s fault that you have a short attention span as it is your closet’s fault it doesn’t have any running shoes in it. If you want the ability to focus on things for a long period of time, you need attention fitness.

    Neuroplasticity is how your brain changes its organization over time to deal with new experiences. It involves physical changes inside of the brain based on the particular tasks the brain is asked to complete. It’s why the hippocampus of a seasoned taxi driver in London is larger than average, and how a meditating monk grows grey matter . Your brain isn’t a mythological deity but a physical part of your body that needs to be taken care of just like the rest of your body. And your body responds to two things really well — diet and exercise. Let’s presume your brain, being a part of the body, also does.

    Things like Inbox Zero or cutting down on meetings may be handy tricks, but they don’t take neuroplasticity into account. The bet there is that you have a finite amount of attention to spend, and that attention range isn’t changeable. That stuff is handy for making the best use of your limited attention span, but it’s not going to improve your attention span. It’s not going to stop your brain from being easily distracted or unfocused if you’ve already trained it to be that way.

    So how do you train to focus? I’ve been using interval training with great success. Modeled after how I trained to run my first marathon using Jeff Galloway’s technique, I practice attention interval training. I got this timer installed on my computer. It’s an excellent interval timer based on a technique called the Pomodoro technique — but I’m primarily using it based on its ability to make sound, set good intervals, and support logging. I started small: 10 minutes of work with two minute breaks. My strategy has been to keep it so when the timer goes off that tells me it’s time to take a break, I feel like I can keep going. I’m up to 35 minutes now with 2 minute breaks. Interestingly enough — this is about as far as I’ll get probably while still being able to keep Instant Messaging on. I’ve found that about 35 minutes is the max response time for IM to be useful.

    The timer isn’t the key part though, that’s just a component of a system like a good watch is a part of running a marathon. Here’s how I set that up:

    Ditched the Second Monitor

    I’ve been using a second monitor for nearly ten years, thinking that vast amounts of space were key to productivity. The second monitor myth has been around for quite some time. Yet the only actual scientific study I could find linking multiple monitors to productivity was done in 2003 by a monitor manufacturer, a video card manufacturer, and the University of Utah. It’s actually kind of a marketing document , not a study. I’ve opted for one, large monitor. Two monitors just allows me to put distractions on one monitor, and actual work on another.

    Set up Spaces in OS X

    Spaces is virtual desktop software on OS X. I never thought it was useful before ditching the second monitor, but now — instead of having always-on distraction in one monitor on my desk, I can put my email, twitter, and surfing browser in one “Space” on OS X and keep it there. When I start my pomodoro timer, I hop into a “space” that looks more like this — only the tools I need to do whatever task I am up for on the screen. In this case, I need limited web browsing and a text editor to write this blog post. Note the addition of “about:blank” in my bookmark bar at the top of the browser. While I’m writing and don’t need to use the browser, I tend to blank the screen out so I don’t get too distracted by the browser.

    My third space simply has Remember the Milk running in full screen.

    Ed. note: If you’re not running OS X, take a look at these popular virtual desktops for alternatives to Spaces.

    Another hour, another Instagram notification

    This article is part of InHerSight’s Working During Coronavirus series . As the coronavirus pandemic continues, find helpful advice here on working remotely, job hunting remotely, dealing with anxiety and stress, and staying safe at work if you have to be on-site.

    It seems that the world collectively suffers from a short attention span. Movies and songs are getting shorter, and headlines are the most important part of an article. We are more discerning than ever when deciding what is worthy of our concentration, and even then, it’s hard to keep.

    But, there are still signs that your attention span is shrinking from what it once was (say, when you could study for eight hours in your college library). A short attention span is characterized as an inability to stay focused on one thing without becoming distracted by another thing.

    Many of us have been working from home, so let’s start there. How often are you taking a break from work to look at your phone? Is it hard to complete one task at a time? Do you find yourself completely exhausted after completing a morning of work? Are you easily distracted by other things in your home, like pets, children, or TV?

    These could all be signs of a short attention span and may be especially prevalent during the pandemic. When boundaries between work and home life are blurred, it makes it harder and harder to stay focused for very long.

    The good news is that once your attention span gets lost, it’s not gone forever. As Dr. Julie Schwartzbard, a neurologist, says, instead of trying to force yourself to work harder, you can take action “to promote improvements in the specific brain functions that drive concentration and awareness.”

    Here are 6 ways to improve your attention span

    1. Cut out whatever is distracting you

    Let’s start with the most obvious but potentially most effective step to take. Pay attention to where your mind or energy goes when you get distracted from the task at hand. Is it always Instagram? The news? Your Zillow app? A group text message?

    Whatever it is, take note. Make a dedicated effort to avoid that thing during work hours. Allow yourself 30 minutes on your lunch break or after work to focus on that distraction.

    If you know you don’t have this kind of vigilance and worry you’re still be tempted, delete the app from your devices, or put your phone in a room across the house. Tell your friends you’re not available and may be slow to respond. Take every step you can to remove the distraction while you’re trying to focus.

    2. Take care of your body and mind

    Next, think about how you prioritize wellness. When you get enough sleep, eat well, and exercise, your focus will probably improve significantly. Beware of some diets that can actually cause you to lose focus. Dr. Schwartzbard points out that “low-fat diets can ruin focus because the brain needs certain essential fatty acids. But not getting enough protein is bad too.”

    It’s all about balance. Eat healthily but make sure you have enough protein, carbs, and vegetables. More processed foods or those high in sugar can give you a boost but will quickly lead to a crash. Always make sure to drink lots of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.

    The right exercise routine doesn’t have to be intense to improve your wellness. Going for a walk, stretching, doing yoga, or going for a run can all have beneficial impacts on your health. And taking the time to show your body some love will help you stay focused when the time comes to sit down and work.

    Dr. John Ratey, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, offers advice to boost memory, concentration, and mental sharpness: “When you exercise and move around, you are using more brain cells,” which in turn make more brain-derived neurotrophic factor (DBNF) that supports brain health. Exercising regularly (30 minutes a day, ideally five days a week) is key to get all these brain benefits.

    3. Improve your work environment

    If you find yourself overly distracted or impatient, try improving your physical space. Clean up your desk and office. Organize those stacks of forms that have been sitting around for months. Move your paper files to an online format to minimize clutter.

    You also may need to consider the noise in your environment. Can you always hear your neighbors fighting or playing music? Is construction loud next door? What about the heating and cooling systems in your home? Is there always a cat scratching at your door?

    Pay attention to sounds that distract you throughout the day. Consider wearing noise-canceling headphones or playing relaxing music or ambient noise while you work. A noisy, messy workspace will usually impact your attention span for the worse.

    4. Reexamine your work life

    Sometimes your attention span dwindles because you’re simply not engaged by the work you’re doing. We all get bored sometimes, and that’s normal. But if you’re consistently disengaged, unhappy, and unmotivated with your job, this could be why your attention span is so poor.

    You may feel lucky to have the job you have, especially during the pandemic. But consider looking for work elsewhere if you can find something more exciting or challenging. Or, you may be able to talk to your manager about taking on new tasks so that you have something new to focus on.

    Sometimes the reason you can’t focus is that you need a change.

    5. Understand potential psychological and medical causes

    It’s also important to recognize that there may be medical reasons why you can’t focus. Hormonal changes during pregnancy or menopause can impact concentration, Dr. Schwartzbard says, as well as excessive stress.

    Underlying conditions like ADHD, depression, anxiety, sleep apnea, and others can all impact your attention span. If you take steps to improve your concentration but are still struggling, it may be worth discussing your issue with your doctor in case there’s something else going on that should be addressed.

    6. Practice grace and acceptance

    Finally, try to show yourself grace. Recognize when you’re having trouble focusing, and tell yourself it’s okay, that it won’t last forever. Get up and move around, go for a walk, or do another task. Come back to work when you feel more relaxed. When you’re already feeling impatient, forcing yourself to focus may actually make things worse.

    Be kind to yourself, especially when you’re making these changes or going through a transition. With the right information and the right lifestyle alterations, you’ll be able to manage your concentration and get things done.

    How to focus better and increase your attention span

    With knowledge workers–software engineers, writers, entrepreneurs, and most people with a “white-collar” job–currently outnumbering all other workers in the U.S. four to one, it’s clear that the thinkers will inherit the Earth.

    Yet with longer days, higher expectations, and the constant pinging of notifications and messages, our ability to focus has dropped to an all-time low. In fact, many reports show that healthy adults aren’t able to focus on a task for longer than 20 minutes at a time.

    Yet our jobs and careers depend on our ability to think for long periods of time.

    Luckily, scientific research has identified some fantastic ways to fight distraction and boost our natural ability to focus for longer periods of time.

    These aren’t hacks, but rather ways to slowly rebuild your attention muscle and become more focused in your work and your life.

    1. Use workday structure to increase your focus slowly

    If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! Your focus isn’t as terrible as it could be. However, the path to regaining control of your attention is a long one. Studies have shown that to rebuild your attention muscle it’s better to break your workday into manageable chunks, with regular breaks in between them.

    After analyzing 5.5 million daily records of how office workers are using their computers (based on what the users self-identified as “productive” work), the team at DeskTime found that the top 10 percent of productive workers worked for an average of 52 minutes before taking a 17-minute break.

    If 52 minutes sounds like a marathon for you, start small with 20 minutes on, five minutes off, and work your way up.

    2. Create a “not-to-do” list

    Distractions are everywhere in our modern working world. Researchers have found it takes up to 25 minutes to regain your focus after being distracted. One easy fix is to create a “not-to-do” list: Whenever you feel the pull to check Facebook or Twitter or follow any other random thought that comes into your head, write it down instead. The act of simply transferring that thought from mind to paper allows you to stay focused on the task at hand.

    3. Read long books slowly

    According to research from the Pew Research Center, reading of online content has increased nearly 40 percent. Yet 26 percent of Americans didn’t read a single book last year. Reading only short content is killing our ability to focus and training our minds to only look for quick answers rather than explore complex concepts. Start by researching proper ways to read a book and then pick up a classic and give it a shot.

    4. Try these turn-of-the-century concentration exercises

    Don’t think declining attention spans are solely a modern-day issue. In the early 1900s, author Theron Q. Dumont published a book called The Power of Concentration that highlighted a number of practices for building your attention span. Here are a few:

    Sit still in a chair for 15 minutes

    Concentrate on slowly opening and closing your fists for five minutes

    Follow the second hand of a clock for five minutes

    They might seem a little crazy, but you’d be surprised how hard these exercises are to do.

    5. Bring more mindfulness into your day

    Mindfulness is having a moment, with everyone from director David Lynch to Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington practicing daily meditation. And for good reason: Researchers from the University of Washington have shown that just 10 to 20 minutes of meditation a day can help improve your focus and extend your attention span. What’s more, you’ll even see improvements in your attention after just four days.

    6. Add physical exercise to your attention exercise routine

    Working out isn’t just good for your body. Researchers have found that adding physical exercise to your routine helps build the brain’s ability to ignore distractions. In one study, students who engaged in just moderate physical exercise before taking a test that measured their attention spans performed better than those students who didn’t exercise.

    7. Practice attentive listening

    If there’s one place our limited attention span is incredibly noticeable, it’s when we’re talking to others. Instead of grasping at straws during a conversation, practice attentive listening by not interrupting, recapping what the other person has said regularly, and using connecting words like “OK,” “I get it,” and “Yes” to stay engaged and show that you’re listening.

    These skills not only help us come across as nicer, more interesting people, they also help train our minds to focus on the person in front of us.

    Another hour, another Instagram notification

    This article is part of InHerSight’s Working During Coronavirus series . As the coronavirus pandemic continues, find helpful advice here on working remotely, job hunting remotely, dealing with anxiety and stress, and staying safe at work if you have to be on-site.

    It seems that the world collectively suffers from a short attention span. Movies and songs are getting shorter, and headlines are the most important part of an article. We are more discerning than ever when deciding what is worthy of our concentration, and even then, it’s hard to keep.

    But, there are still signs that your attention span is shrinking from what it once was (say, when you could study for eight hours in your college library). A short attention span is characterized as an inability to stay focused on one thing without becoming distracted by another thing.

    Many of us have been working from home, so let’s start there. How often are you taking a break from work to look at your phone? Is it hard to complete one task at a time? Do you find yourself completely exhausted after completing a morning of work? Are you easily distracted by other things in your home, like pets, children, or TV?

    These could all be signs of a short attention span and may be especially prevalent during the pandemic. When boundaries between work and home life are blurred, it makes it harder and harder to stay focused for very long.

    The good news is that once your attention span gets lost, it’s not gone forever. As Dr. Julie Schwartzbard, a neurologist, says, instead of trying to force yourself to work harder, you can take action “to promote improvements in the specific brain functions that drive concentration and awareness.”

    Here are 6 ways to improve your attention span

    1. Cut out whatever is distracting you

    Let’s start with the most obvious but potentially most effective step to take. Pay attention to where your mind or energy goes when you get distracted from the task at hand. Is it always Instagram? The news? Your Zillow app? A group text message?

    Whatever it is, take note. Make a dedicated effort to avoid that thing during work hours. Allow yourself 30 minutes on your lunch break or after work to focus on that distraction.

    If you know you don’t have this kind of vigilance and worry you’re still be tempted, delete the app from your devices, or put your phone in a room across the house. Tell your friends you’re not available and may be slow to respond. Take every step you can to remove the distraction while you’re trying to focus.

    2. Take care of your body and mind

    Next, think about how you prioritize wellness. When you get enough sleep, eat well, and exercise, your focus will probably improve significantly. Beware of some diets that can actually cause you to lose focus. Dr. Schwartzbard points out that “low-fat diets can ruin focus because the brain needs certain essential fatty acids. But not getting enough protein is bad too.”

    It’s all about balance. Eat healthily but make sure you have enough protein, carbs, and vegetables. More processed foods or those high in sugar can give you a boost but will quickly lead to a crash. Always make sure to drink lots of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.

    The right exercise routine doesn’t have to be intense to improve your wellness. Going for a walk, stretching, doing yoga, or going for a run can all have beneficial impacts on your health. And taking the time to show your body some love will help you stay focused when the time comes to sit down and work.

    Dr. John Ratey, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, offers advice to boost memory, concentration, and mental sharpness: “When you exercise and move around, you are using more brain cells,” which in turn make more brain-derived neurotrophic factor (DBNF) that supports brain health. Exercising regularly (30 minutes a day, ideally five days a week) is key to get all these brain benefits.

    3. Improve your work environment

    If you find yourself overly distracted or impatient, try improving your physical space. Clean up your desk and office. Organize those stacks of forms that have been sitting around for months. Move your paper files to an online format to minimize clutter.

    You also may need to consider the noise in your environment. Can you always hear your neighbors fighting or playing music? Is construction loud next door? What about the heating and cooling systems in your home? Is there always a cat scratching at your door?

    Pay attention to sounds that distract you throughout the day. Consider wearing noise-canceling headphones or playing relaxing music or ambient noise while you work. A noisy, messy workspace will usually impact your attention span for the worse.

    4. Reexamine your work life

    Sometimes your attention span dwindles because you’re simply not engaged by the work you’re doing. We all get bored sometimes, and that’s normal. But if you’re consistently disengaged, unhappy, and unmotivated with your job, this could be why your attention span is so poor.

    You may feel lucky to have the job you have, especially during the pandemic. But consider looking for work elsewhere if you can find something more exciting or challenging. Or, you may be able to talk to your manager about taking on new tasks so that you have something new to focus on.

    Sometimes the reason you can’t focus is that you need a change.

    5. Understand potential psychological and medical causes

    It’s also important to recognize that there may be medical reasons why you can’t focus. Hormonal changes during pregnancy or menopause can impact concentration, Dr. Schwartzbard says, as well as excessive stress.

    Underlying conditions like ADHD, depression, anxiety, sleep apnea, and others can all impact your attention span. If you take steps to improve your concentration but are still struggling, it may be worth discussing your issue with your doctor in case there’s something else going on that should be addressed.

    6. Practice grace and acceptance

    Finally, try to show yourself grace. Recognize when you’re having trouble focusing, and tell yourself it’s okay, that it won’t last forever. Get up and move around, go for a walk, or do another task. Come back to work when you feel more relaxed. When you’re already feeling impatient, forcing yourself to focus may actually make things worse.

    Be kind to yourself, especially when you’re making these changes or going through a transition. With the right information and the right lifestyle alterations, you’ll be able to manage your concentration and get things done.

    In the ever-evolving world of technology, our brain’s ability to concentrate on a central task has become harder and harder. With the right mindset and practice, you can train your mind to stay present. Understanding the benefits of staying focused can be crucial to our success and will help us gauge where we can improve in our professional careers. In this article, we define focus and provide you with the tips to implement proper concentration with minimal distractions in the workplace.

    What is focus?

    Focus is how someone pays attention or concentrates on a particular person or thing. When someone is focused, their attention is centered on a focal point. In terms of the workplace, an employee is focused when their attention is geared toward completing their main goal or objective.

    Benefits of being focused

    Staying committed to a central task can be greatly beneficial in the workplace. No matter the industry you work in, increasing your attention span can propel your professional success. Here are four benefits of being focused:

    1. Builds momentum

    When you stay focused on one assignment, you’re more apt to complete it with greater efficiency. Your ability to finish tasks at a quicker pace can motivate you to move onto the next. Knowing you’re capable of getting things done will help you stay positive and motivate you to achieve your next goal.

    2. Increases productivity

    The more you’re able to stay on task, the more tasks you’ll be able to complete overall. Minimizing distractions is a great way to stay in the zone and allow your brain to process what needs your attention. As a working professional, you’re more apt to get more work done when you centralize your attention.

    3. Reduces stress

    By staying on task and increasing your productivity, you’ll also be minimizing any tension and pressure that’s built up. When you’re focused on one sole assignment, you’re able to check more items off your to-do list and free up more time in your work schedule. Your ability to direct your energy will guarantee you don’t fall behind on work and that you aren’t rushing to meet deadlines last minute.

    4. Produces better quality of work

    Your ability to focus is instrumental to your success in the workplace. The more time and concentration you’re able to devote to one task, the greater the quality of work you’ll produce. Not only will you be completing tasks quicker, but you’ll also be ensuring they’re free from errors.

    How to stay focused in the workplace

    Here are 10 things to consider when trying to stay focused in the workplace:

    1. Eliminate distractions

    You will be more productive and have a better chance of staying focused when you remove anything in your surroundings that might cause interruptions. If feasible, try keeping your phone in a different room or staying offline to minimize distractions. Working alone or in a quiet environment will also make you more focused.

    2. Prioritize your tasks

    If you have a lengthy number of tasks to complete, it can be beneficial to not only create a to-do list, but to also rank each item by their level of importance. This will allow you to methodically work through your tasks instead of simply be overwhelmed and likely ineffectual.

    3. Train your mind

    Engaging in various brain training activities is a great way to improve your cognitive abilities and subsequently, your ability to stay focused. When you instruct your brain to become more disciplined, you can become more active in paying attention to the task in front of you.

    4. Work in a quiet space

    When you’re working alone or in a secluded area, you’re more apt to get more work done. A quiet environment ensures you won’t be interrupted by colleagues or other noisy distractions from your workplace environment.

    5. Try meditation

    Taking the time to relax, breathe and meditate can greatly improve your cognitive abilities. Try practicing yoga to strengthen your ability to concentrate in the workplace.

    6. Exercise

    Exercising regularly stimulates your brain and keeps it refreshed. Engaging in physical activity will also improve memory capacity and overall concentration. Not only will it help you stay energized, but it’ll also give you the extra boost you need to stay on task at work.

    7. Take breaks

    Taking time for yourself is a great way to avoid burnout. While steadily completing tasks is important, giving your mind time to recharge and relax can be greatly beneficial for your mental health. If you’re stuck on a task, walking away for a short while can provide you with a fresh perspective. Taking a break and allowing your brain time to shutdown can also provide you with the momentum you need when you return to work.

    8. Get a good night’s sleep

    Sleeping at least eight hours a night is a great way to make sure you’re in your best physical and mental state when you arrive at work. Being sleepy causes you to slow down. Getting a good night’s rest, on the other hand, allows you to remain alert and awake—especially during the morning hours.

    9. Focus on one thing at a time

    When you direct your attention toward one sole task, your risk of distraction minimizes. Rather than multitasking, keep your brain actively engaged on one thing at a time. Increase your quality of work and your attention span by focusing on one task first, then move onto the next.

    10. Allot time to certain tasks

    When determining what tasks you need to complete, consider the length of time you’ll need to complete each. Scheduling out your day and exercising your time management skills will help you complete your work more efficiently and help you stay on top of it all. For example, allot 8-10 a.m. to complete task one, 10-11 a.m. to complete task two and so forth.

    Learning how to focus by applying helpful tactics to improve your attention span can help you become a better employee. Though distractions are bound to arise, learning how to deal with them as well as determining what will work well for you, are great starting points to consider.