Mental Health

5 simple ways to increase your attention span

With so many distractions in our day-to-day lives, it’s little surprise that many of us have a short attention span and struggle to concentrate.

Here, we share some easy tips and ideas you can incorporate into your day to help improve your focus.

How to increase your attention span

Avoid distractions

It might sound obvious, but one sure-fire way to increase our attention span is to remove any distractions.

If you’re working from home and need deep focus for a task, leave your phone and any other distracting devices in another room. For office workers, it may be that you book yourself a meeting room for an hour to avoid colleagues chatting with you.

Try if you can to avoid multitasking, too. While it may feel as though we’re getting loads done at one time, it diminishes our focus and generally means we spend longer getting it all done. Instead, make a list of priorities and concentrate on one task at a time.

Take regular breaks

Guilty of powering through the day and taking lunch ‘al-desko’? Giving your brain the opportunity to rest is important for improving attention span.

At the end of each task, give yourself a break. Studies show that our focus naturally declines the longer we spend on a task. Taking breaks can help to keep our brains interested, improving our concentration.

Make a cup of tea, go for a short walk or even just spend a couple of minutes looking out of the window. This gives your brain a chance to recharge and will set you up well for the next task.

Get moving

Studies show that moderate exercise can help to improve our cognitive performance, with researchers from the University of Berlin concluding that students who exercised before a test performed better than those who didn’t exercise.

Try if you can to incorporate some movement into your day before completing a big task. It might be some stretches to ease you into the day, or a morning jog before your Zoom meeting. Getting off the bus a stop early and walking a little further into your office can help too.

Don’t worry if you’re short of time either, as Liz is a big fan of ‘exercise snacking’. This is short bursts of movement – such as squats or jogging on the spot – that you can do throughout the day. Liz recommends doing counter push-ups while waiting for the kettle to boil!

Practice good sleep hygiene

Gasping for your morning coffee first thing? If you often wake up feeling groggy and not well rested, it’s likely you’re not getting good quality sleep. Not only will it leave you feeling rough, you’ll struggle to concentrate throughout the day, too.

Sleep is essential for our wellbeing, so make sure you set yourself up for a good night’s kip. Avoid screens at least 30 minutes before bed, and create a sleep sanctuary that is dark, quiet and cool. Blackout blinds and ear plugs can be helpful for those in bright, noisy areas. Plus, Liz swears by a few drops of lavender essential oil on her pillow. We love the essential oils by Neal’s Yard Remedies – use LIZLOVES for 15% off your order.

It’s worth knowing that lowering estrogen levels during perimenopause and menopause can also impact our sleep. A HRT prescription can help to ease symptoms. Watch Liz’s video below to find out more about how menopause can affect our shut eye.

Begin a meditation practice

Learning to meditate can help us to calm our minds and ease chattering thoughts. It’s also a fantastic way to improve our focus over time. Think of meditation as attention training.

Begin by setting a few moments aside each day to yourself. Find a comfortable seat, close your eyes or lower your gaze and focus on your breathing. Each time you notice your mind wander, bring yourself back to focus on your breath.

Start by doing this for five minutes a day, and gradually build up over time.

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