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Having Better Attention Spans

Having Better Attention Spans

Author: Laurie Knafo/Wednesday, May 13, 2020/Categories: SNI Companies, SNI Financial, SNI Certes, SNI Technology, Accounting Now, Staffing Now

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Our attention spans are constantly being tested and in a world where the news and social media is omnipresent, it can be hard to stay focused. So before I lose you and you check your phone for the latest video on TikTok let me get to the point. In this article I’ll talk about ways to increase your attention span and why you would want to.

Try and focus on one task at a time
So many articles are written about multitasking. Is it good? Is it bad? Like studies about wine and coffee, it seems that there is conflicting evidence all the time and studies published one week will contradict studies published the week before. If you are trying to have a better attention span it’s imperative you begin to focus on the task at hand and give it your full attention. Research shows we don't really multitask but rather switch rapidly between tasks and this can sometimes hurt us from reaching our goals. So the next assignment you’re tasked with give yourself a little test and try and complete it without any distractions and see how it compares to previous times when you’ve jumped between projects. I have a feeling by focusing solely on the task at hand you’ll complete it much faster and it will be better quality.

Take notes by hand
During your next meeting, take notes by hand that you’ll want to remember later on. Studies done show that people who take notes by hand are more engaged listeners and have an easier time remembering important concepts. Taking notes on a laptop, tablet or phone also makes it more tempting to check emails or social media, so during your next meeting stick with the old school method of pen and paper.

Pick up a book
Spoken from an author herself, Ann Patchett, “If your attention span has shrunken like a sweater accidentally thrown in the dryer, and you want to stretch it out again, then reading a book can be the antidote to fragmentation and distraction.” Reading can help you retrain yourself to pay attention for longer periods of time (and of course can be a wonderful source of entertainment). 

Exercise
Exercising is good for so many things and apart from the physical benefits you are aware of, it helps your cognitive control. Studies show that even a 20-minute brisk walk can make a huge difference in your attention span. If you’re able to go for a hike in nature you’ll get even more benefit. From the book, The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World,

“A 2008 paper described a significant improvement in their working memory performance after the nature walk, but not after the urban walk. Similar beneficial effects of nature exposure have been shown to occur in children with ADHD and young adults with depression, and amazingly even in response to just viewing nature pictures.” So if you don’t have the ability to go for a walk in nature, even looking at nature photos online or in a coffee table book can help.

Still with me? Good! See you’re already flexing your attention span muscle. So my parting words are this, in a world that can feel a little chaotic, now more than ever is a great time to slow down and begin to practice increasing your attention span. I hope these tips are a great jumping off point for you to begin.

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Laurie Knafo
Laurie Knafo

Laurie Knafo

Laurie Knafo is Regional Vice President for SNI. Her 30+ years in the recruiting business enable her to bring insightful counsel to companies and candidates looking to make the most out of their staffing relationships.

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Contact author Full biography

Full biography

Laurie Knafo is Regional Vice President for SNI. Her 30+ years in the recruiting business enable her to bring insightful counsel to companies and candidates looking to make the most out of their staffing relationships.

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