I can be such a scatterbrain. My mind will wander, my thoughts will race, I’ll forget where I set my keys when they’re right in my hand. I have these and also every single other classic example of a short attention span, including the fact that I have gotten distracted 47 times already during the course of writing this one single paragraph.
Ugh! That’s not what I want. I want a nice, long, perfect attention span that allows me to perform my tasks wonderfully and exceed every goal I set for myself…
…Too bad literally nothing works out the way I want and also I am going to die one day.
Jokes! (I’m testing the temperature of the humor of my readers.)
Anyway, lately I’ve been really wanting to work on my attention span/focus/concentration. I feel it’s an area that I can afford great improvements in and I’m curious to see how those improvements might affect my life.
After reading a few articles (links below), here are some basic tips I found on improving attention span.
1. Reduce distractions.
This means limiting use of technology while studying/working on a project (sometimes I’m not great with this one, but it’s most helpful when I absolutely cut myself off. For me, that means writing at a cafe but not turning on wi-fi, or putting my phone on airplane mode so I can’t hear the pings or be tempted to check social media.) It also means avoiding menial tasks, phone chats with gabby friends, or whatever else you may be doing to avoid doing what you really need to be doing (only you know your weaknesses! Home in!)
2. Jot it down!
YES to this one. It helps me out so much. Carry a little notepad and pen/pencil with you (keep it small so it fits easily into most compartments/bags/large pockets) exclusively for your random thoughts. As they come up, you can jot them down and get them out of your system so they don’t continue to cycle in you loop of thoughts.
3. Mindfulness meditation.
You can either get on board now with meditation or be way behind the times. It really is a movement and I think it’s one for a reason. If the word “meditation” makes you think of standing cliffside with a contrived serene look on your face while you spoon hemp seed into your mouth, avoid the term and use a replacement one like “thoughtfulness” or “contemplation”. Terms aside, taking a few moments to be present and check-in with how you’re feeling and the speed your mind is operating at can work wonders for your focus. You can essentially see “what you’re working with” and then work from there.
4. Have a cup of joe!
There’s so much information out there about caffeine and its positives/negatives for you. I happen to be an anxious person who LOVES coffee, so figuring out the right relationship with it is something I’ve been working on for a while. The fact that caffeine helps with focus is a great argument in favor of coffee and one that I will always keep in my back pocket. Perhaps if you’re anxious, keep the coffee to a small like I’ll be trying to do. (Trying.)
5. A good environment
If it’s within your control, make sure that your environment serves your focus. That means if a little chatter and ambience works for you, awesome – go to a cafe and get the thing done. If you need total silence, set yourself up for success by spending time alone in a quiet place. If music you like helps you, keep that playing in the background. The tricky aspect of having a good environment is that you need to know for sure what works best for your mental aptitude. If you don’t already know the answer, take a project of relatively low-urgency and try working on parts of it in different environments. Take note of when your mind and concentration feels best, when you do your best work, and when you feel happiest.
Let me know if you guys try any of the tips and which are your favorites. What would you say your current attention span is like? Are you able to focus pretty well or do you struggle? Are there certain subjects you’re able to focus on better than others?
com/blog/after-service/201701/ the-solution-your-mind- wandering-problem
Great post! I can’t wait to try these out. Just reading this makes me feel more motivated.
I used the first tip and oh my gosh – it was the best thing I could do! Now I’m definitely more concentrated on what I’m doing and I do it way faster.
What do you think about writing an article about how to have a strong will? It often happens to me that I want to do something new but give up very quickly. If you have any tips for that, please share it with us.
Can’t wait for your next article.
I will no longer comment on these blogs, because I was going mental in the comments.
But I will continue reading the articles posted on here. Can’t wait for the next one
Hi, Jennette! ty for the blog love it!, by the way, I’m loving the going mental blogs you’re a great writer I thought of 2 things that I would love you to do: 1- write and publish a book pretty obvious since you love writing and again you’re a really great writer! 2- go on a world tour maybe for the book or for exploring and I honestly want to meet you so bad if you come to the UAE or DUBAI since I live there *winks* I just want you to come so I can meet you sounds creepy… Read more »
I love: “Reduce distractions and mindfulness meditation.”
Without distractions I concentrate better. Outside temptations, temptations are bad !!
And I really love to meditate! I really love to take some time for me and analyze with caution what I can do and how I should do anything.
But look: Even with distractions, you have made a good post, and you have achieved it. You do a good job here, on youtube, on Instagram and on facebook. I give you my congratulations (you deserve it!). I’ve always thought you’re the best.
I will always be proud of you! ^^.
One more note; It has been proven, that when the environment is slightly more distracting, people have to work harder to learn the subject matter, making retention stronger (more myelin sheathing on our wiring, preventing that connection from dissolving.) And if we add emotion, the effect is much stronger. That’s why we can easily learn things that we are passionate about! Now, on to creating the interest, and back to to the Motivation post… It’s all connected… everything is connected… more connections, less confusion, on to enlightenment we go.
ADD is a lie, in that it is some sort of genetic or chemical imbalance. I don’t seem to be able to concentrate at all right now, but I also have the “analysis paralysis” of wondering what trap I may be stepping into next, and the fact that I have a ton of stuff to do, even my Eisenhower Box is confused. You my dear, have allowed me to compile all of the information on everything mindful and conscious and addicting [dopamine spikes and pupils dilate] as I look at a girl that I wish I knew, from across the… Read more »
I know this is totally off topic, and I don’t know if this is approved but: I don’t know if politics are allowed in this chat, but:
Semper Fidelis. Please pray for the Fifteen Marines, one Navy Corpsman killed in Mississippi plane crash. July 10th. Supposed cause is: structural failure at 20,000 feet. The plane is believed to have exploded in mid-air. Also pray for or wish the best to especially their families. My special intentions to them. o7
i hadn’t heard about this. so sad.
You and I think alike and your blog post are very helpful to me. Thank You Jennette!
You should add get tested for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder by a trained professional. It may not always be the case, but it is at least an important thing to rule out, or in. I recognized your joke. I was reminded of the Bonneville Salt Flats. That is my sense of humor. :p You’re too young to joke about dying and have it work. I suggest an increase in absurdity overall. I don’t always have much patience but I can focus easily enough. I have lots of practice. Wealthier only children seem to collect friends while those of us that… Read more »
People may experience:
Behavioral: aggression, excitability, fidgeting, hyperactivity, impulsivity, irritability, lack of restraint, or persistent repetition of words or actions
Cognitive: absent-mindedness, difficulty focusing, forgetfulness, problem paying attention, or short attention span
Mood: anger, anxiety, boredom, excitement, or mood swings
Those are the symptoms for adhd. Umm, I think everyone has the cognitive symptoms…so..what? Are we all (or those of us with short-attention-spans or difficulty focusing) people with ADHD? …Not being rude, just pointing it out…
That is why I said to get tested by a professional. Armchair psychologists could “diagnose” anyone with ADHD. I was tested for ADHD as an adult, which would be an unusual time to develop such a thing, simply because my memory has deficiencies. It was just a questionnaire. I didn’t come close. That is what a person with attention issues needs to know (yes or no) because our points of reference don’t allow us good perspective to determine an issue from a disorder. ADHD tends to be over-diagnosed so skip the internet tests and find someone that knows what they… Read more »
I was kidding……Too bad literally nothing works out the way I want and also I am going to die one day :v
I was replying to Blitzygurll. It was bad timing. You must have replied while I was typing. I would have gotten your joke if I saw it before. 🙂
i got your joke 😉
Thanks to your comment I just found out that I have ADHD D:
totally get what you’re saying
thanks for the comment!
Hey teamleader, in contradiction to your first basic tip, I would like to recommend this once in a lifetime distraction: the total solar eclipse on august 21st. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_eclipse_of_August_21,_2017 Believe me, it’s a one of a kind mental experience! With friends I have experienced the direct predecessor on august 11th, 1999 in Germany. We stood on a hill south of Heidelberg. Although the sky was quite cloudy, we had an excellent view of the Rhine valley and could look deeply into France. For minutes, we saw the core shadow as it moved rapidly towards us. When it finally reached us, we… Read more »
UHHHH, I’m actually going to Wyoming to see that..but uhh ????????!!!!!!!!!!!
i am only bummed that it is a ONCE IN A LIFETIME DISTRACTION!!
Never thought that a bum like me could get you bummed without even using a butter sock 😉
Sorry, I did not pay attention to your post :v
1. Reduce distractions. I think the problem is not the distractions, let’s be honest a person is distracted even with the lint of a navel. You remember the chapter of Malcolm in the middle, when Francis had to deliver an essay and ended up doing insect careers. “whatever else you may be doing to avoid doing what you really need to be doing” I think that more than distraction is irresponsibility on the part of the person who must do x thing.(In many cases not all)Sometimes it is good to focus on something else, sometimes we find solutions without looking… Read more »
interesting that it’s the words people use about mindfulness and not the mindfulness itself that irritates you.
Hi, Jennette. Hellot o all. This is an interesting topic and worthy of discussion. Thank you for raising her. I have a habit of being distracted by trifles. But this does not pose any particular problems for me. Because I have an idea of what is at issue and these distractions serve as an amplifier of the overall concentration on the assignment. I love drawing and in this I can focus best. But in the process I let go of the ideas for freedom and think a lot about different things, this does not interfere with the process at all.So… Read more »
glad you took the time to check out the links. I wish you best of luck with your attention span! and keep up the drawing 🙂
Thank you. I hope here everyone will find something useful for themselves.
I have an idea. Maybe, instead of fashionable meditation, try drawing. This is very useful and soothes, and helps in concentration.
Someone if you try to sit down to draw in any situation. Try to portray your thoughts or something else. Please write as a feeling.
Meditation is a good one. I just started meditating again after reading this. Just finished meditating a few minutes ago. At school when I need to focus I would listen to music or use a stress ball. But a stress ball can also be a distraction if you throw it around. I’m not good at reducing distractions at all. I get distracted very easily. If I’m writing something sometimes I’ll start tapping the pencil. Then I’ll start drumming on the book or table or both. Carrying a notepad and pencil seems like a good idea. I have a lot of… Read more »
Meditation is good for relaxation. In addition, it is not just sitting down and meditating it, you need concentration, and if you are very distracted then meditation is a waste of time.
Try to workfor 30 minutes taking a break every 5 minutes. Interrupt for 2-3 minutes. Then increase the periods of work. Also try to work with music from video games. It is written specifically to not distract the player. It helped me a lot in my time.
Concentration is implicit in meditation, it is impossible to meditate without concentration.
Right All you need to call your own words.
Sorry I don’t quite understand your answer. I guess this day was a lot of English for me.
Do not worry. I mean, you are right when you say that meditation needs concentration. And I am confused when a person says that he is meditating but can not concentrate at the same time.
what?! honored to be the place of your first comment. what made you decide to comment? grateful for your presence here!
I really enjoyed your acting on ICarly and Between, so I started to wonder what you’re like off the screen. So I looked up your name and found this website. Saw the “Going Mental” page and started reading what you wrote. You’re a really good writer by the way. I did realize that YouTube is considered social media so its not my first comment, but this is the second form of social media I ever commented on. Anyway thanks for responding.
I also feel like I should mention I have aspergers, OCD and anxiety along with a bunch of other diagnoses so sorry if anything I said seems weird or rude or anything. Sometimes I say something rude or weird without realizing it was rude or weird.
I read on wikipedia..which no one trusts but..that you have actually written some articles in Newspapers, is that true?
I think she wrote a few articles for the NY times like 3 or 4 years ago but I’m not positive if it was the NY times but I think it was
I’m curious why do you think I’m going to die one day is a joke? It’s a fact if I say we are all going die one day does that make you laugh? Not that I’m trying to be depressing but sometimes your jokes seem more like thoughts I’ve had but weren’t necessarily humorous. Like yeah we all want long attention spans that never end sometimes but then think of all we wouldn’t finish cuz we can’t stop adding to it. I’m not a teacher but I reckon that short attention spans are what helps teachers keep their sanity because… Read more »
it makes me laugh to think of the fact that everyone dies one day because it simplifies existence.
Well I guess that kinda makes sense but just cuz we die doesn’t mean are lives and the experiences in them are simple. Everything living dies but we aren’t trees that have a very simple exsistance. We have the most complex existence of any living creature.
I think almost everyone deals with some kind of attention span problem. It’s something that’s normal and not unusual. It’s easy to become distracted by little things, but for someone like me, who has ADD, it’s inevitable. I’ve struggled with ADD, anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember and for me, it’s debilitating. I feel like in order to get a grip on this for yourself, you should find things that help you feel calmer and more comfortable. For me, blogs don’t help because they all say the same, basic things. Things that could be the opposite… Read more »
it’s interesting that you find your phone helpful! i think the opposite. i’ve had my phone on night mode the past few days and i’ve felt very calm. what do you think it is about using your phone that makes you feel calm/focused?
I’d say I don’t have a good attention span. But not by being distracted by mindless things. Mine is more with my anxiety and depression. Since it’s so severe for me, I can’t concentrate long because my anxiety will be so bad or I quite literally just start feeling the lack of doing anything because of my depression. Taking away my phone has quite the opposite effect on me… makes me concentrate less and become more anxious. Not because I’m a phone obsessed girl in her 20’s but because I feel like I’m going to miss being there for someone… Read more »
Yah, there’s not much you can do about anxiety and depression, especially the type you sound like you’re facing. It seems the best way for you to lessen it is going to be finding someone (besides yourself) that you know you can depend on. I feel ya though. I’ve never been into the hospital because of anxiety or depression, but there’s days when you just want to either kill somebody..or yourself because of it. Idk either, the only way to deal with depression is letting people around you help you. And even if the majority of them are untrustworthy and… Read more »
Pets are amazing for curbing anxiety, and building empathy + love!!!
I totally hear you and empathize that you struggle with anxiety/depression. I’m sure that’s disruptive to attention span. Maybe I’m way off base, but I think if nothing else there are possibly some psychological ideas that could help you out. I’m trying to be sensitive to your issues and let you know that I HEAR YOU. (I’m not trying to teach or insist you try things my way etc. “My way” might not work for you at all, you might think it sounds ridiculous, or you might not even want to try. All totally fine 🙂 Having said that, I’ll… Read more »
You’re so lucky Gracie that Jenn loves you this much.
Hi love. The thing with psychological ideas is that, since I was diagnosed in 6th grade, I’ve been working these ideas they give off for a while now. And for the most part, they haven’t made much of an improvement – or enough to make a noticeable change in my life. And so like, it gets hard for because it’s like all these journals being like “yooo we have the answers” and when they don’t help me it makes me feel bad for not being able to help myself you know? I get this thought process like “Wow, so this… Read more »
Sounds like you could have A.D.D. but I am not a doctor so i could be wrong. Well I do have A.D.D and i take ritalin to help me not be a scatterbrain. But even when on it i tend to get distracted by things “Ooo look a squirrel!” Wait! What was I talking about? Oh! right being distracted anyway i like those tips number 1 i try to not be distracted. Number 2 is really good because I come with a lot of great ideas. I do number 3 sometimes I don’t drink coffee its okay just not for… Read more »
Depends on the situation. Music in some situations and quiet in others (although the tinnitus a.k.a ringing I have in both ears can become a distraction as well). I cannot read a book in a noisy environment at all, it must be quiet with white noise to mask the ringing in both ears. Autism means I become more overloaded easily sensory wise, where I’m much more distracted by my environment and less able to focus but not always as this is also incredible situation dependent as well.
I agree about reading in a relaxed atmosphere.
interesting about sensory overload. i love that you know that about yourself!
I used to have a lot of focus, I mean if I was doing something new and exciting, no one could even bother me for help as I’d just keep ignoring the person asking. But now, in a workplace instead of grade school. I tend to be more lenient to those distractions. Maybe it is because the task at hand is not all that exciting, or maybe I’ve just learned that taking the distraction right away, is much better than delaying what will come later. Today I was asked to help assist in debugging a problem and I was really… Read more »
i love that you’re gonna try the notepad/pen thing. i really really think this works! sometimes it makes me laugh when i look back and my notepad and realize i wrote the same thing 3 times in different places. it makes me notice how my thoughts are on a loop and then allows me to move on from those loop-thoughts