The average length of the workday is eight hours, with the usual span of 9 AM to 5 PM, and a similar span for the school day. Yet the human brain can typically only concentrate for an average of two hours. Even a two-hour time frame for staying focused can be difficult for many individuals, for a number of differing reasons.
The typical means of combating attention deficits frequently revolve around the use of stimulants like caffeine, but this isn’t always effective, and can sometimes make concentration worse by triggering anxiety, jitters or racing thoughts. Luckily, there are some better options for improving focus, and they’re easy to implement in any area of your life, and can be used to benefit your family as well.
Address Emotional And Mental Health
For many people, their difficulties concentrating stem from underlying mental health issues, particularly anxiety disorders. Research has found that individuals, especially teens and young adults, who spend more time on social media have a higher rate of anxiety and depression that can impact all areas of life. For this reason, consider a wellness check at home for the whole family so they can benefit as well.
Addressing mental health doesn’t necessarily lead to needing medications; you can treat many conditions via natural means. Simply learning a meditation practice can significantly improve anxiety and depression, and these techniques can be shared with your loved ones. Mindfulness techniques, aromatherapy, and other alternative methods have all been found beneficial. When you start taking your mental wellness seriously, you’ll soon find that your focus and productivity will improve drastically as well. Speak to a qualified professional to further discuss your feelings and possible solutions.
Once you’ve addressed internal distractions, take a look at the environment. According to Gloria Mark in the Department of Informatics at the University of California, it takes an average of 25 minutes to refocus on the task at hand after an outside interruption, not including the amount of time spent on the distraction itself. Cellphones, Radios, co-workers, and so much more in the environment can impact concentration. Minimize the distractions by making a point of requesting that you be left undisturbed for a specific time frame. You can also try selecting another, calmer location. An unoccupied conference room, for example, can offer a safe haven from foot traffic, office mates and other disturbances. Don’t forget to put away electronic devices, even if they’re on silent. Removing the temptation of checking messages or browsing personal social media helps tremendously. This is also a good time to practice some mindful meditation techniques if you find your mind wandering.
While many people subscribe to the theory of multitasking being great for productivity, it can be a real hindrance to your ability to concentrate efficiently. Think of your concentration like a battery: if you try to run too many things with it, you’ll run out of power, and nothing will be able to fully operate. Budget your attention wisely by focusing your undivided attention on one thing at a time. Doing too much at once also often leads to more oversights or mistakes, which is yet another reason to take things one at a time.
If you find that you or a family member are having difficulties reaching personal goals, it may be time to take a look at how concentration is being impacted and make an active effort to improve it. Building up a mental focus will lead to an improved ability to accomplish aspirations that will bring success and happiness.