Attention is our mind’s capability to focus on the task at hand and things relevant to it. You must have experienced that when your focus is high, you ought to complete your task efficiently. This is the main function of attention; to help us complete tasks accurately, efficiently, and quickly. However, not everyone has the same level of attention. So if you struggle with a low level of attention, then there are some strategies that can increase your attention.
#1 Understand how attention works: The first step to increase your attention
Simply stated, if you don’t understand something, you can’t improve it whatsoever. That’s why the very first and crucial part to improve your attention is by understanding it. Basically, attention is how much your mind is invested in the task. The more invested it is, the more attentive you are and thus more productive.
You should discard any wrong definition of attention e.g. attention is when you are focused on a task all day long without a single thought. This whole notion is misleading. You have to understand that attention level varies throughout the day and may decrease if you don’t rest enough.
#2 Increase your attention by understanding your attention profile:
Attention profile means the level and intensity of focus that you generally possess. For instance, you can be someone who can do a task with full focus without any internal disturbance for 2-3 hours. On the other hand, you can be someone who struggles to pull up even 30 minutes of work duration.
Here the major goal of elevating your focus is to figure out your strengths and weaknesses. You can even use a diary where you note down for how long you can do a task without break. Continue this for 1 week. In the end, you can do a detailed analysis and find the patterns your mind follows and the areas of improvement.
#3 The role of school in improving your attention:
School can play a crucial role in helping attention-deficit students to develop a more self-aware mind. At first, the school authorities should start including attention management strategies in the curriculum. Also, if you find yourself struggling between the lectures in your school, consider taking help from your teacher.
To help students with inconsistent alertness, teachers can change the pattern of their teaching and homework. They can put forth relatively less amount of work for a given period or focus only on a single work at a time. Also, giving homework in small chunks is known to help students struggling to increase attention.
#4 Interest attracts attention:
Students are most alert when they perform a task of their interest. You must also have experienced this with yourself once in a while. The reason for this extra attention is because of the greater amount of invested energy of mind. It is commonly shown that a work of interest has a strong affinity towards the invested mental energy and thus increased attention.
To increase your attention, you can allocate some time for yourself where you read or study a subject compelling to you. In this way, you are training your mind to focus on a task for longer periods without losing the heat.
#5 Align your study pattern with your personality:
If you are someone who prefers to discuss with others rather than reading quietly then you can equip new study methods to increase your attention. It is very helpful when you stop battling with your natural way of learning to form new habits. For instance, if you prefer discussion then after studying a chapter you can gather your friends and explain what you have learned.
This practice has two major advantages that will boost your learning and attention. Firstly, your concepts and understanding of the topic will grow and secondly, your mind will be tied to you. Since you are learning in a way that suits you, there is very little chance that your mind will doze off in-between.
#6 Increase your attention through practical experiences:
Students tend to learn better when their learning process includes experimentation and experiential learning. This strategy ensures that students learn through active engagement with great focus.
However, this strategy can be applied by an individual but is more effective when the school takes part in this. Schools can conduct trips, tours, or visits to different places like museums or historical places, etc. Whenever possible, teachers and parents should include these types of activities into their child’s formal learning experience.
On your part, as a student, you can start discovering more about a subject, topic or chapter on the internet, library or perform an experiment on your own. When you will witness the practical application of your subject, your interest and curiosity will soar high and thus your attention.
#7 A reminder to be attentive:
Often times we sit at our desks aiming to complete the work in a given period of time. In the beginning, we are at our peak level of performance. Soon as time passes, we find ourselves day-dreaming and surfing in the skies. To get through this, you can create a reminder of your own that reminds you to regain focus and alertness.
For this, you can wear a bracelet, a ring or keep anything small with you that can fit anywhere. So whenever you get distracted and lost in thoughts, you just have to take a look at your reminder and you will back again at present. This strategy is easy, effective and cool too!
#8 Planning helps to elevate your focus:
A plan is a blueprint; a set of step-by-step instructions to complete a particular goal or task. It is shown that planning can engage your mind into the current activity without losing attention. However, your plan should be realistic, achievable and time-bound. Curating an impractical plan will further deplete your confidence level and hence your attention.
Teachers and parents can also review the progress of their plan as the students strive to complete the task. They can also guide and provide advice at necessary steps. In addition to this, teachers can teach their students how to effectively plan and execute tasks. This will inculcate the skill of conscious planning and decision making in students.
#9 Take small breaks between tasks:
It is a natural function of our mind to lower its alertness level after a certain duration of time. When this level goes down, there is no sense in slogging yourself just to complete the work. That’s why if you struggle with a lower level of attention, this strategy can significantly increase your attention.
Start by giving yourself small scheduled breaks between your study time. These can include:
- An easy walk around the room.
- A gentle body stretch.
- A simple relaxation exercise for your eyes.
- Getting up and drinking water to stay hydrated.
- Eating a little of snacks to increase glucose levels.
Keep in mind that you should avoid doing stimulating activities as they steal your attention. For example: avoid playing games, listening to music, watching TV, or using a mobile. Instead of increasing your attention, they affect your focus negatively.
#10 Organize yourself:
There are a lot of things your mind has to remember and perform hence it is necessary to keep activities organized. You can make three notebooks namely;
- ‘Work to be completed’
- ‘Work completed
- ‘Work to be saved’
This way you can have a clear record of all the tasks, whether finished or unfinished, at one glance.
You can also organize your study table and the surroundings it is in. Experiment with what other condition suits your attention. For instance, some students prefer light noise or music in the background while others prefer ear muffs. So, know your own style of studying and design your study environment according to it.