As I was diving into the idea of writing a blog, I began to narrow my focus on a few areas that I believed could be inspiring for our readers. Each time I found myself getting closer to one solid idea, my mind would begin to wander. And after this happened a few times, it hit me; I should write about attention spans!
It is apparent that our ability to focus has been on a downward slope as our access to the high-tech world continues to increase.
According to Adam Gazzaley and Larry Rosen in “The Distracted Mind”, they noted a research study in which college students were only able to focus 5 minutes before switching to something fun like social media or texting… and that was under lab conditions when they were told to focus as long as they could!
OK, so we know this is a challenge, but are there ways we can address it so it doesn’t take away from our productivity. You bet there are!
According to Eric Barker in an article titled, “This is How to increase your attention span: 5 secrets from Neuroscience” here are a few simple techniques/habits to follow:
- Stop multi-tasking- even though we believe this allows us to check more things off of our list, researchers indicate it requires more emotional stress to go from one task to another.
- Exercise your body- neuroscientists have discovered that even 1 exercise session boosts cognitive control. So as your body experiences the effects of a good workout, your brain becomes healthier too.
- Pray/Meditate- focus on your breathing and this will, in turn, allow your mind to focus.
- Get out in nature- science has proven that our “attention muscles” are recharged and restored when we spend time in nature. And, even looking at pictures of nature has the same effects.
- Reduce distractions- this one is probably the most obvious solution. Even if I don’t physically look at my phone, if it’s in the same room as me, it can still be a distraction; which in turn, can decrease my ability to focus.
So, if you’re still with me, congratulations! If you’ve checked your social media channels in the midst of reading this blog, I think that’s awesome! If you feel you need to focus more on your ability to focus and you want to be more aware of your awareness, then put some of these techniques/habits to practice and enjoy the process of developing a greater attention span.
WRITTEN BY MARK ACKLEY