Most of us are guilty of our mind wandering during conversations, studies, or presentations. It’s a common human condition. We can only focus on one thing for so long before zoning out and daydreaming or worrying about something else.
When we zone out during wrong moments, like staff meetings, it tends to cause problems because we might not understand what was said or fail to acknowledge important information.
We all would like to improve our attention spans, but in this world of Smartphones and social media apps, there is a constant distraction. From trying to check out a notification from Facebook during a presentation at work to reply to a message on Whatsapp during a conversation, there is increased distraction from multiple things vying for our attention.
So, how do we maintain our focus and concentrate on the activity at hand without being distracted by the popular and often interesting social media trends and messages? How do we thwart the dopamine effect that social media platforms are designed to give us? Many have suggested short-term solutions like staying away from your phone or moving your phone out of sight during important meetings and conversations.
However, a much more durable solution is required to break the phone addiction that holds most of us hostage. Such solutions include improving our attention span and focus. It requires finding common ground between work and socialization. To achieve this, we need to improve our attention span. Our attention span is the capacity to remain focused without allowing unnecessary distractions to disturb us.
Some people have a very short attention span. If a conversation passes the five minutes mark, they lose interest and can no longer concentrate. Everyone has different attention spans. Some have longer spans, while others have short spans.
The level of your attention span also depends on the activity and the environment of a certain activity. Some people tend to focus better in a quiet environment or while watching movies but will be distracted in noisy environments or during intense conversations, and vice versa. Lack of proper rest or hunger can also affect your level of concentration.
Steps To Improve Your Memory and Attention Span
Resolving internal issues like hunger, anxiety, and tiredness can help improve your focus and overall work efficiency. However, even after dealing with these internal issues, we still have difficulty focusing on a particular activity for a long time, in such scenario you need to:
Practice Active Listening
Practicing active listening is important to improve focus among friends, family members, and even coworkers. Active listening means that you are listening to understand the person’s view and asking questions to clarify their statements, and providing feedback.
To actively listen, you must focus on what the person is saying and not how you respond. It also involves you using body language behaviors like eye contact and nodding of the head to signal that they’re communicating.
Someone actively listening to another doesn’t acknowledge notifications from their favorite social media app. They do not watch videos on their phones while pretending to listen to the speaker. Their attention is wholly on the speaker and understanding their viewpoints.
We like to think that we can combine different things simultaneously, but our concentration levels are different even if we can. By concentrating on a particular task at a time, we devote all our mental resources to the task. It will save us energy and increase the speed at which we finish the assigned task.
Although multitasking makes you feel like you’re on top of your game, it requires more energy, increases stress, and makes you susceptible to more mistakes. To use energy more effectively, concentrate on the task and take short breaks when you’re tired.
The work environment is fast-paced, with several things fighting for your attention and contribution. This is wider than just the work environment. Therefore, you must minimize distractions and interference when trying to focus on a task. To start with, you can moderate phone notifications, limit screen time and work only in environments without distractions.
Exercise has been proven to improve cognitive abilities, relieve stress, and strengthen the muscles. With improved cognitive abilities and mental health, it is easier to manage stress and maintain higher levels of attention. Fortunately, you don’t have to register in a gym to enjoy the many benefits of exercise. A brisk walk or a few jumping jacks can do the trick.
An improved attention span is a bonus for anyone and has lasting benefits. You will be more effective and focused on your task and contribute better while spending less energy. If you find it hard to focus, a good way to tackle the issue would be to find out the underlying problem and solve it first. You’ll improve your concentration levels when you implement the above-listed steps.
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