Have you heard the news stating humans now have an attention span of eight seconds? This is a second shorter than the alleged attention span of goldfish.
That news isn’t true. Further research debunked the information and goes on to state that goldfish can retain memories and can learn.
However, a lot of people do struggle when it comes to staying focused. The good news is there are tons of reasons why this happens. There are also ways to combat this situation.
Learn why you can’t focus and how to improve concentration with our list below.
Why Can’t You Stay Focused?
Let’s start this list with the reasons people can’t concentrate. The downside is there is no definitive reason for one person. You could suffer from a combination of these causes:
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (and the relative condition, ADD), can impair your ability to stay focused. People with this condition easily get distracted, suffer from impulsiveness, and mood swings that can alter how you get things done in time.
People can inherit ADHD from their parents. However, other people can get it due to complications from pregnancy, drug abuse, exposure to harmful chemicals, and brain injuries.
Some people confuse ADHD with autism. This is because the two conditions overlap sometimes, particularly with their symptoms and effects. However, they are separate conditions and the confusion can make it difficult for a specialist to treat one or the other.
Depression goes beyond negative mood swings. Most people associate depression with sudden sadness but it also affects your brain’s capabilities to function too.
A person with depression can struggle to stay focused on a task. They’ll encounter difficulties making decisions and may experience lapses in their memory.
Unfortunately, there are many root causes of depression. There are also many different types of depression. Some of these types can even interlope with each other, making it even more difficult to identify and treat.
The good news is there are treatments and medications to help patients deal with depression.
Closely tied to depression is anxiety, which also has multiple variations and causes. At the root cause, someone with anxiety can’t focus because they overthink their decisions. A person with anxiety might spend too much time complicating the decision-making process until they end up not getting anything done.
Someone with anxiety can also become indecisive right from the get-go. They might feel overwhelmed by all the different options presented ahead of them and won’t be able to pick one.
Like depression, there are fortunately ways to treat anxiety. These solutions can range from medication and therapy to simply altering your sleeping pattern, or a change of scenery.
The thyroid is a gland located in the neck. It’s the organ responsible for body development and growth. However, complications with the thyroid gland can also affect your ability to stay focused, as well as impair a person’s memory.
Mild hyperthyroidism can lead to difficulties staying focused and minor gaps in memory. There may also be instances of indecisiveness or the inability to learn something.
Suffering from thyroid complications can also indicate a more serious condition, such as Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s can also lead to difficulty focusing because this condition severely affects a person’s memory and spatial awareness.
Even without depression or a medical condition, a lot of people struggle to stay focused. One of the main reasons for this is the sheer abundance of distractions. Too many stimulants around you can cause you to lose focus.
After all, how can you finish your task when there’s food on the table and several YouTube tabs open? This can get worse if you have Spotify playing in the background and more than one social media page open.
Distractions can also come from your other devices too. You won’t be able to focus if you spend too much time on your phone or a gaming device. People who play video games can’t focus to finish one game because they get distracted by all the other titles they have in their library.
How will you focus if there’s trash by your table, papers all over the place, and all your documents are across different emails and hard drives? Keeping things organized and clean is a good way of staying focused because you know where everything is at all times.
Some people also can’t focus because disorganization bothers them. People might feel a strong impulse to clean up. They won’t be able to focus until everything is back in order.
One of the main reasons disorganization causes difficulty in focusing is the fact it makes a person multi-task. The person has to constantly look around and deal with things in their environment while trying to get one thing done.
Lack of Sleep
Have you ever tried getting things done when you haven’t slept the night before? The longer you set aside sleep, the less you’ll be able to focus. You won’t be able to concentrate because your brain will slowly shut down as it attempts to get rest.
Unfortunately, there is no definitive reason why people need to sleep. Some experts propose that sleep helps the body repair itself or conserve energy. Others propose that sleep allows the brain to recollect itself and sort out memories, which may be why we dream.
Regardless of the root cause, lack of sleep will slow down your brain’s cognitive function. You’ll lose the ability to focus until you spend time away from your task and get some rest.
You can also struggle to focus if you suffer from executive dysfunction. This often occurs after a person suffers from brain injury, particularly in the frontal lobe.
You’ll also experience headaches, nausea, and rounds of vertigo. Any of these can impair a person’s capabilities to focus on one thing.
How to Improve Focus
Now you know the different reasons you struggle to concentrate. How can you improve focus and get more things done in time? Discover some solutions below:
Get rid of distractions and deal with disorganization by cleaning up. Put everything in its proper order and make sure the whole area is in tip-top shape before you sit down to study, work, or play.
As mentioned, sleep is an essential part of your everyday life to stay focused. Don’t force yourself to stay up too late. If you have to stay up, try not to do this for two or three days in a row.
Can’t squeeze in a few hours of sleep? You can still get rest with a power nap. This is when you step away from your task to shut your eyes for at least twenty minutes.
You can also try to alter your sleeping pattern. Try to sleep early. If you wake up in the middle of the night, don’t use your phone or any gadget with bright light. Read a book and relax until you can fall asleep again.
Medicine and Therapy
Yes, it’s important to seek medical attention and professional therapy. If you suffer from ADHD, depression, Alzheimer’s Disease, or any other condition that impairs focus and memory, seek a doctor’s advice.
Professional help guarantees you get the right medication. There is a multitude of medicine for depression, anxiety, and other conditions. Don’t take them without a doctor’s prescription and advice.
Take a Few Breaks
As with sleep, it’s important to take a break. You won’t be able to focus if you tire yourself out. It’s okay to step away for a bit and get a snack, play a game, or simply sit down to chat with someone.
Yes, coffee is a good solution to help you stay focused. The caffeine content in coffee can help the brain release chemicals to boost concentration. At the same time, it also helps release dopamine, which lifts a person’s mood.
However, your brain only needs so many of these chemicals. If you need coffee to stay awake, make sure to drink it when those chemicals are at their lowest point. According to research, it’s best to drink coffee from 8 AM to 9 AM, noon to 1 PM, and 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM.
Use Organizational Tools
You can also rely on a few external tools. Use apps on your phone to set up alarms and reminders. Take advantage of notepads that sync with a cloud network so you can always check for updates and reminders even when on the go.
Got too much to work on? Some tools can arrange the files for you. Make sure to organize files in folders and name everything properly. Edit the meta tags for documents, images, and video files to make it easier for you to find them later on.
Set Reasonable Goals
You’ll concentrate more by breaking down your goals.
Instead of something huge like finishing a whole website in a month, break it down into smaller tasks. For this week, focus solely on designing the homepage. For the next week, work on the blog pages.
Try Staying Focused With These Tips
Staying focused is a struggle for many and now you know what can cause you to break concentration. Don’t hesitate to revisit this post to try out different methods of dealing with these causes, from cleaning up to using organizational tools.
Of course, this list isn’t the only informative guide we have. If you enjoyed this and want more, we’ve got other posts for you to read. We tackle everything from financial topics to real estate and technology!