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Want to increase your attention span?

Article writen by: Abby
03 April 2023

Attention, please!

As a student, you might feel like your attention span is getting shorter and shorter every day. Between social media notifications, text messages, and a constant stream of information, it can be challenging to stay focused on one task for an extended period. But fear not, as there are ways to improve your attention span and get back on track. In this article, we will explore some tips and resources to help you increase your attention span, the impact of social media on your attention span, the positives of improving your focus, and the impact your attention span can have on a daily basis.

1. Get Enough Sleep

One of the most important things you can do to increase your attention span is to get enough sleep. It's hard to concentrate when you're tired, so make sure you're getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night. If you're struggling to fall asleep, try creating a relaxing bedtime routine or cutting out caffeine in the afternoon.

In addition to getting enough sleep, there are several other things you can do to boost your attention span. First, make sure you're staying hydrated throughout the day by drinking plenty of water. Dehydration can cause fatigue and make it difficult to focus. Second, consider taking breaks throughout the day to give your brain a rest. Even just a few minutes of stretching or walking can help improve your concentration. Finally, try to minimize distractions in your environment. Turn off your phone notifications or find a quiet place to work to help you stay focused on the task at hand.

2. Reduce Distractions

Eliminating distractions can help you stay focused on the task at hand. Turn off your phone or put it on silent, close unnecessary tabs on your computer, and find a quiet place to work. If you need to be around others, consider studying in a library or a quiet café.

Additionally, you can use productivity tools such as website blockers or noise-cancelling headphones to further reduce distractions. Another way to minimize distractions is to break down your tasks into smaller, manageable chunks. This can help you stay focused and avoid feeling overwhelmed. Finally, consider setting specific times for checking emails or social media instead of constantly checking them throughout the day. By reducing distractions, you can improve your ability to concentrate and ultimately achieve better results in your work or studies.

stick man showing attention span as a student at our accommodation

3. Take Breaks

Taking breaks can actually improve your attention span. After a long period of focusing, take a short break to recharge. This can be as simple as going for a short walk or doing some stretching exercises. Additionally, taking breaks can help prevent burnout and increase overall productivity. Research suggests that taking short, frequent breaks throughout the day can actually help you stay focused and maintain a higher level of productivity than trying to power through without any breaks. Try setting a timer for 25 minutes of focused work, followed by a 5-minute break, or experiment with longer intervals based on your own preferences. By taking regular breaks, you can improve your ability to concentrate and get more done in less time.

4. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and paying attention to your thoughts and feelings. It can help you become more aware of distractions and better able to manage them. There are many resources available to help you practice mindfulness, including apps like Headspace and Calm. In addition to using apps, you can also incorporate mindfulness practices into your daily routine. For example, taking a few deep breaths before starting a task can help you calm your mind and focus on the present moment. Practicing mindfulness can also help reduce stress and anxiety, which can be major distractions in their own right. Try to integrate mindfulness into your daily routine, even if it's just for a few minutes each day, to help improve your attention span and overall well-being.

5. Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise has been shown to improve attention and cognitive function. Even a short walk or a few minutes of stretching can help improve your focus and concentration. In fact, studies have shown that just 20 minutes of exercise can have a positive impact on cognitive function and attention span. Exercise increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain, which can help improve cognitive performance. Additionally, exercise is a great way to reduce stress and improve overall mood, which can also help improve your ability to concentrate. Try to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine, even if it's just a quick walk around the block, to help boost your attention span and overall well-being.

6. Use the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that involves working for a set amount of time (usually 25 minutes) and then taking a short break. This can help you stay focused and avoid burnout. There are many apps available that can help you implement the Pomodoro Technique, such as Focus@Will and Be Focused.

The Pomodoro Technique can also help you break down larger tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces. By focusing on one task at a time and taking regular breaks, you can improve your ability to concentrate and stay motivated. Additionally, the Pomodoro Technique can help you avoid procrastination by providing a clear structure for your workday. Experiment with different work and break intervals to find what works best for you, and use the technique consistently to improve your attention span and productivity over time.

7. Set Realistic Goals

Setting realistic goals can help you stay motivated and focused. Break down larger tasks into smaller, more manageable ones, and celebrate your accomplishments along the way. When setting goals, make sure they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). This can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and ensure that you are making progress towards your larger goals. It's also important to be flexible and willing to adjust your goals as needed. Remember that setbacks and obstacles are a normal part of the process, and that it's okay to make mistakes. By setting realistic goals and tracking your progress, you can improve your attention span and achieve better results over time.

8. Minimize Social Media Use

Social media can be a major distraction and can significantly impact your attention span. Consider setting aside specific times of the day to check social media or use apps like Freedom or Cold Turkey to block social media sites during specific periods. It can also be helpful to remove social media apps from your phone or turn off notifications to avoid constantly checking your accounts. Social media can be addictive and can lead to a lot of time wasted on scrolling through feeds, which can detract from more important tasks. By minimizing social media use and setting boundaries, you can improve your ability to focus and reduce distractions in your daily life.

Girl drinking ice coffee studying on her phone

9. Benefits of Improving Attention Span

Improving your attention span can have many positive benefits, including better academic performance, improved work productivity, and better overall mental health. By learning how to focus, you can also increase your ability to learn and retain information. Improving your attention span can also help you to be more present in your daily life and enjoy activities more fully. By reducing distractions and staying focused on the task at hand, you can become more efficient with your time and accomplish more in less time. Additionally, improving your attention span can help reduce stress and anxiety, which can have positive impacts on your physical health as well. By making small changes to your habits and incorporating attention-boosting techniques into your routine, you can reap the many benefits of a more focused and attentive mind.

Fist bumping after the end of studying

10. Impact of Attention Span on Daily Life

Your attention span can impact your daily life in many ways. Poor attention can lead to missed deadlines, poor grades, and difficulty completing tasks. On the other hand, an improved attention span can lead to increased productivity, improved relationships, and better mental health. A strong attention span can also improve your ability to communicate effectively, listen actively, and pick up on important details. In social settings, being present and engaged can help you connect with others and build stronger relationships. Additionally, a strong attention span can help you make better decisions, as you are able to consider multiple factors and weigh the pros and cons of different options. By prioritizing your attention and taking steps to improve your focus, you can enjoy a more fulfilling and successful daily life.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the attention span of university students?

The attention span of university students can vary depending on various factors such as the subject matter, the teaching style, the time of day, and individual factors such as motivation, interest, and mental health. Generally, university students can sustain their attention for 20-45 minutes before their minds start to wander or they become distracted. However, with effective teaching methods, interactive activities, and breaks, students can maintain their focus for longer periods. It's important for educators to recognize that attention spans can differ among students and tailor their teaching approaches accordingly.

Why is my attention span so short when studying?

There can be several reasons why your attention span is short when studying. Some of the common reasons include stress, fatigue, lack of interest or motivation, inadequate sleep, and distractions from electronic devices or external factors. It's important to identify the underlying cause and address it accordingly. For instance, you can try to reduce stress through mindfulness or relaxation techniques, improve sleep quality by creating a sleep-friendly environment, and eliminate distractions by studying in a quiet and distraction-free area. Additionally, taking regular breaks, using study aids such as flashcards or summaries, and adopting active learning strategies such as asking questions or summarizing key points can help improve your attention span while studying.

How many hours do most students study?

The number of hours that most students study can vary depending on various factors such as academic level, course load, and personal study habits. However, according to a survey conducted by the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), full-time college students in the United States typically spend an average of 15-18 hours per week studying. This equates to around 2-3 hours per day for a typical 5-day academic week. However, some students may study for longer hours, especially during exam periods or when preparing for a major project or paper. It's important for students to find a study routine that works best for them and prioritize their time effectively to achieve academic success.

Why is my attention span so short?

As a student, I find that my attention span can be quite short at times, especially when I am studying for extended periods. I believe there are several reasons for this, including distractions from my phone or social media, fatigue, and difficulty focusing on material that is not particularly interesting or relevant to me. Additionally, stress and anxiety can also affect my ability to concentrate and retain information. To improve my attention span, I have found that taking short breaks, minimizing distractions, and engaging with the material actively, such as taking notes or asking questions, can be helpful. I also try to practice self-care habits such as regular exercise and getting enough sleep to boost my focus and concentration.

How can I increase my attention span fast?

As a student, there are several strategies that you can use to quickly increase your attention span. Firstly, try breaking up your study sessions into smaller, more manageable chunks, and taking short breaks in between. This can help prevent burnout and allow your brain to recharge. Secondly, try to eliminate any potential distractions in your study environment, such as social media notifications or loud music. You can also try listening to calming instrumental music, such as classical or nature sounds, to help improve your focus. Additionally, practicing mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing or meditation can help improve your attention span over time. Finally, make sure you are taking care of your physical health by staying hydrated, eating nutritious foods, and getting enough sleep. A healthy body and mind can significantly improve your ability to concentrate and focus.