Do you sometimes ask yourself, “why I can’t focus my mind?”
You might ask this question when you can’t focus when studying, learning a new topic, listen to a lecture or reading a book.
As a student, do you listen to every word the lecturer says? You might seem to pay attention, while your mind is roaming elsewhere, and if the lecturer asks you a question, you don’t even know what he asked because you were not paying attention.
A 2015 study by Microsoft Canada discovered that that the average attention span was about 12 seconds in 2008, while a few years later, it dropped to eight seconds. Nowadays, it is probably even lower.
What is the meaning of “the average attention span”?
The average attention span is the amount of time you can focus on a task or a thought without becoming distracted.
What Are the Reasons that You Can’t Focus?
There are several reasons why you cannot focus your mind. If you have difficulties to concentrate it does not mean that you have to accept them. When you know the reasons, it becomes easier to deal with them and improve your concentration.
If you have several things on your mind, you find it difficult to give precedence to only one topic. Your mind will be wandering between the two or more matters on your mind, and you will not be able to pay due attention to any of them.
It is the same with tasks. People often try to carry out several tasks at the same time. This makes it difficult to focus clearly and well on any of the tasks. You will need to constantly shift your attention from one task to another and therefore, waste time and energy.
You cannot focus your mind if you divide your attention between several tasks, and this reduces your efficiency.
The task that you need to accomplish might be boring, and therefore, you find it difficult to focus on it. The task might not interest you, and your mind would keep going to other thoughts, tempting you to do other things that are more interesting.
If you can control your attention and focus, you would finish your task faster and get through with it.
Smartphones, Internet and the Social Media
The smartphone has become one of the most time consuming gadgets the world has ever invented. Everywhere you go you see people with their eyes glued to the small screen, hardly noticing what is happening around them.
The Internet and the social media offer unprecedented amount of data and information, which the mind cannot process, so it learned to scan instead of read. The process reduces the ability to focus, and shortens the average attention span.
What can you do about it?
I am not suggesting that you stop using your smartphone, the Internet and the social media. They are useful and have their benefits. However, you need to have some discipline, and know where to draw the line.
You need to interact with real people in real life, focus on real and useful tasks that will get you somewhere, and not just scanning bits of information, and jumping from one website to another and from one chat to another.
Lack of Concentration Training
People grow up without developing any concentration skills. No one teaches pupils and students how to focus their mind. Teachers tell their students to focus, but they do not teach them how. In order to be able to focus your mind you need to train your mind, and schools do not teach how to do this.
There are lessons in mathematics, physics, history, geography and foreign languages, but there are no concentration lessons that teach students to concentrate. It is a most important skill that everyone needs, in all areas of life.
If you want to be able to control your attention, increase your attention span, learn to focus on what you are doing, do everything better, more efficiently and without errors, you need to learn to focus your mind.
Exhaustion and Lack of Sleep
What happens when you are tired and exhausted or did not have enough sleep at night? You can’t fix your attention on any task for more than a few seconds, as your attention wanders away repeatedly.
How many times have you dozed off when reading a book, studying or watching a movie, while you were tired? I believe this happened many times to everyone.
What is the remedy? You know what it is. You need to have enough sleep and not exhaust yourself.
Another reason why you can’t focus your mind is stress. A great number of people suffer from stress caused by work, one’s financial conditions, relationships, worries, and by many other causes.
The remedy is relaxation, having enough sleep, engagement in sports, meditation, and trying to eliminate the causes of stress when possible.
There might be other reasons why you cannot focus your mind, but these are a few of the main ones.
Now, you need to do something about it. Understanding the reasons why you can’t focus your mind and why you cannot concentrate is the first step to remedy the situation. The next and most important step is to learn how to focus.
As you train your mind to focus, you will see results in a few weeks. Even a few minutes a day will improve your ability and improve your life in many areas. You can certainly find a few minutes a day for developing this important skill.
Stop asking why you can’t focus your mind, and instead, do something about this matter. You can find all the information, guidance and advice you need, together with suitable exercises, in the book How to Focus Your Mind.