In a world where Twitter trends change at the speed of light and content distribution is evolving rapidly, the one thing that’s been decreasing is our attention span.
Here’s something to think about: the average human attention span is now eight seconds. This means our attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish, which has an average attention span of nine seconds! Imagine the sheer extent of distractions that have led to this!
Experts suggest that this is not just a consequence of using social media extensively. Our socio-economic environment has adversely affected how we absorb information. Most of us get notified from multiple news platforms as soon as there’s a new development. We want to consume news on a minute-by-minute basis. This means we can’t focus on longer, complex pieces of news.
Take the example of the 2020 US Presidential Election. Global news channels spent every minute covering the race. People were notified as soon as there was an update on the ballot count. Each such notification actually pulled us away from the things we are engaged in at the time.
It’s perfectly fine to consume lots of information. But we need to be able to reflect on it and absorb it. Reading the headlines and skimming news articles has become something of a habit. Ask yourself: once you switch the television off or put your phone away, how much of what you have read or seen do you really remember?
If you want to be well-versed and develop the ability to speak at length on any topic, you have to put in a little bit of work on improving your attention span. Let’s discuss how to increase your attention span without getting distracted!
How To Improve Your Attention Span
Say that you’re at a business meeting. You may be physically present, but you’re actually thinking about what you’re going to eat for lunch. So, to increase your attention span, you have to bring your thoughts in line with the person you are listening to.
Here are key ways for increasing your attention span:
Develop Active Listening Skills
Have you ever noticed your mind wandering while someone is talking to you? You may be looking at them without registering a word they’re saying. This happens because there are a hundred different things running through our minds at any given point in time. Developing active listening skills can do wonders for your attention span. You’ll learn to focus on the person in front of you, understand what they’re really saying and contribute where needed.
Engage In Critical Reading
There was a time when people read entire novels in a day. Today, this seems next to impossible. We can hardly make it to the end of an article online, let alone read hundreds of pages in one sitting. Try to read in short intervals to increase your attention span. Analyzing what a text is really about will push you to find answers to questions you might have. This extra bit of work is just another trick to increase your attention span.
Take A Break From Technology
In modern times we have an information overload. Technology is bombarding us with information all the time, and the fear of missing out makes us check our phones and social media constantly. It’s definitely easier said than done, but if you can put your phone on ‘silent mode’ for a few hours every day, you’ll be a lot more productive. Try switching off from others and focusing on the task at hand. You can start with 10 minutes of staying away from your phone—it’ll be a pleasant break!
Cultivate A Healthy And Balanced Lifestyle
Some of us struggle to adhere to the saying “early to bed, and early to rise…”. Remember, waking up early means you get more hours in the day to work and rest. When you have more time, you can get more done and live a balanced life. If you want to improve your attention span, take active measures to develop a healthy lifestyle. It can be hard to focus on one thing at a time when there’s no routine, and before you know it, you’ll be reaching for your phone.
Improving your attention span will take time and effort. But it will eventually help you be more productive and enable you to retain more information. Harappa Education’s Listening Actively course will teach you how to pay attention and be a good listener. You’ll learn to overcome barriers to listening, such as personal biases and social media notifications. Increase your attention span so you can catch yourself the next time you’re staring out of the window in the middle of a workday!
Explore topics such as Active Listening, Qualities of a Good Listener, Listening Barriers & How to Improve Listening Skills from our Harappa Diaries section and improve your attention span to retain more information.
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