Claiming to have ADD and ADHD has become almost a joke these days when people talk about their short attention spans. But attention deficit disorder is a real medical condition that’s a brain-based disorder. More and more children and adults are being diagnosed with this condition every year, but a good number of those people diagnosed don’t actually need prescription medication to restore focus to their lives. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 14.1 percent of boys 5-17 years of age and 6.2 percent of girls 5-17 years of age, have been diagnosed with ADHD.
Finding focus is critical to being successful in a career, managing a home, raising children setting goals, and finding happiness. Yet nearly half of people don’t feel present in the moment and able to keep their mind from wandering throughout the day.
For many people, there are natural strategies that work to improve your attention span and find focus in your days. Here are some tips to stop feeling scatterbrained and get yourself back on track.
Identify Stress Triggers and Distractions
The first step in living a more focused and balanced life is to take some time to identify the things that commonly distract you and make you feel stressed out. Jot your ideas down in a journal or talk about them with someone you trust.
Keep a Calendar and Stick to It
Unless you have an amazing memory, it’s very difficult to get things done throughout the day without a game plan. Calendars and to-do lists, either in digital or analog form, can keep you focused and help you prioritize what’s most important to get done.
Incorporate Music into Your Day
Certain types of loud music may distract you, but other types can actually help improve your focus and attention span. Lots of studies have suggested that music can boost productivity when working on repetitive tasks, motivate you to be creative, and relax your mind to improve focus. Listen to mellow music without lyrics, such as Classical tunes, for the best focus boost.
Take a Break from Screen Time
Our modern digital age has made us more scatterbrained than ever before with constant notifications and multiple devices to keep up with. Take some time each day for a digital detox, even if it’s just your last hour of the day before bed. Make your weekends as device-free as possible, and consider doing simple tasks, like your weekend grocery list, with pen and paper like you used to.
Eat More Omega-3s
Omega-3 fatty acids are known to boost brain health and may also help you focus. Try to eat more fish in your weekly diet, or take fish oil supplements as an alternative.
Cut Back on Caffeine
You may rely on a daily cup of coffee to get you focused in the morning, but too much caffeine can actually reduce your mental focus. Caffeine can make your body jittery and your mind race. Swap your morning coffee out for tea for stimulation without the side effects. Tea is known to have many health benefits, including stress relief and a calm state of mind.
Exercise a Little Every Day
Instead of relying on caffeine to stimulate you, swap that extra cup of coffee with some good old fashioned exercise. Exercise keeps you alert, mentally and physically stimulated, and helps release chemicals in the brain related to attention, learning, and memory. So next time you’re feeling particularly unfocused, get outside and go for a walk or run!
Work on One Thing at a Time
There’s been a high value placed on multi-tasking, but this way of working often causes more harm than good. When you are constantly switching between tasks, your ability to perform each of them declines. Instead, try working on just one thing at a time until it’s done and notice how your sense of satisfaction and your stress level changes.