One of the website’s readers asked me the following question:
“My attention span is short, and this makes it difficult for me to focus my attention. For example, at work, I cannot focus for long on what I am doing, and this often leads to making errors.
“It might seem strange, but sometimes, when talking with people, I get bored fast, lose my my attention and stop listening to them.
“Often, my attention just drifts from one thought to another and from one thing to another. I just cannot fix it on one thought or activity for more than a little while.
“I would very much like to know how to increase my attention span. I believe that an improved attention span would help me become more efficient in whatever I do.
“I would be grateful if you can tell me how to increase my attention span. A few suggestions would be enough.”
Here is my answer:
How to Increase Short Attention Span
A short attention span has become a mark of this century, due to a growing number of distractions and the overload of information.
I believe that you, like most people, have a smartphone, surf the Internet, have a Facebook and a Whatsapp account, and these take a great portion of your time and your attention, and considerably weaken your attention span.
There is no magic way to increase your attention span. To increase your attention span you need to make some changes in your habits and work on improving your focus.
You need to strive to stop doing several things at the same time, and instead, focus on one task at a time, until you finish carrying it out. This might be hard at the beginning, and there might be inner resistance. However, if you make it a habit to do one thing at a time, soon, your attention span would start to increase.
It would be much easier to increase your attention span if you stop multitasking.
Let me ask you, do you need to comment on everything your friends write in your Facebook and Whatsapp accounts? Do you have to see every photo and video? This takes a lot of your time and your attention, and does not leave time and mental energy for more important matters.
Your attention span would stay short, unless you remove some of the distractions around you and try to discipline your mind.
Increasing your attention span is not too difficult. The difficulty lays in resisting the distractions that surround you, and showing some discipline. This might take some time and effort, but the rewards are great.
A Few Tips to Increase the Attention Span
- Every time your mind wanders away, just bring it back to whatever you are doing.
- Pay more attention to your surroundings and to the people around you.
- Try to be more aware of the thoughts that pass through your mind, and refuse to follow each and every thought.
- Strive to fix your attention on work, studies or anything else that you might be doing.
- Several times a day, make the decision to avoid looking at the screen of your phone for some 10 or 20 minutes.
Improved attention span would help you become more efficient in whatever you do. When you can hold your attention longer on anything you do, without getting distracted, your focus becomes stronger and sharper, your ability to learn and study increases, you make fewer mistakes, and you become a more patient person.
One of the major reasons for a short attention span is lack of focus, a topic which I have addressed in my book, How to Focus Your Mind.