Over the course of the last twenty plus years, the human population has seen a decrease in one of the most vital parts of our being. Our attention span. In 2000, the average attention span was roughly 12 seconds long. For comparison sake, the attention span of a goldfish has been measured at 9 seconds. As of 2020, the attention span for an average human is now 8 seconds. That means we’re a whole second beneath that of a goldfish.
Okay, so how does this affect how we learn and comprehend things? Well, let’s put it this way. In most cases, having a higher than average attention span is able to aid in things such as education as well as organizing and consolidating important aspects of what you’re learning. Whether that be in grade school or grad school.
So if our attention span is reducing, what can be done as a way to better manage our study time and focus. Don’t worry, we’re here to help you with the top methods used to increase your average attention span and really retain the information you’re accessing.
The Pomodoro Study Method
If you’re not a deadline kind of person, or you just want to study more, then the pomodoro study method may be just what you need. This technique has its origins in the late 1990s and was founded by the author Francesco Cirillo. Since its inception, it has been widely accepted as an effective way to study and retain information even while your attention span is only so-so.
This form of studying is based on timed interval study sessions. Fun fact, Cirillo actually named it the pomodoro method after the very kitchen timer he used at the time, which was in fact a tomato shaped timer.
How and Why It Works
The basics behind how to use the pomodoro method include the following.
- Start with your goal. Do you want to get through the entire Italian lesson set you’re on and ace your next exam? Great! You have what you want to accomplish in mind. Now, you’ll want to figure out just how much time you’ll need to study this particular set of lessons. Let’s say you set aside 2 hours.
- Next, you’ll want to break down that two hour large chunk into your pomodoros. In other words, your time sets. The most common variety is 25 minutes of study for 5 minutes of break. This means that of the 2 hours you’ve set aside, 20 minutes of it will be spent essentially relaxing.
The one thing you’ll want to really focus on when using the pomodoro method to improve your attention span is that you’re going to want to eliminate as many distractions as you can while in the “study” zone of the pomodoro.
Once you complete it up to four times then you get a much needed 30 minute break. This is the point that you can celebrate your studying success. The pomodoro method helps because it allows you to be fully engaged in the material but also gives your brain a break from time to time. With consistent use, the pomodoro method can greatly improve your attention span. However, if it doesn’t seem like it is your cup of tea then you may want to try time blocking.
Similar to the pomodoro method of learning and improving attention span is the time blocking method. In this method, you’re still figuring out your goals and tasks for the day. The biggest difference is that you’re essentially batching things that go together.
When you batch, it makes it easier to focus on those given items versus a giant list that you wrote on Friday when it’s now Monday.
Once you batch your tasks for the day, you take those tasks and split them up into blocks of time. For example, if you know you need to study for 30 minutes for an exam you have tomorrow and also need to finish writing a paper for that same class then batch those two activities together. By batching these two tasks, you’re basically staying focused on the one topic for longer and giving your brain the time to focus on the given subject.
This same method can also be used in your daily work and home life. If you need to cook, do chores, and prep for the next day you can easily divide these tasks up into blocks.
The best part is that you’re only blocking off time as a whole, not specifics. So there’s less chance of feeling stressed or behind.
Nootropics: The Attention Span Beast
Of course, if neither of these methods seem appealing to you. Or you’d prefer a faster fix for your attention span, then you may want to consider nootropics. Nootropics are essentially smart drugs. These smart drugs can help with everything from focus and concentration to increased attention span and retention of information.
One of the most popular varieties of these smart drugs for attention span is known as Alpha GPC. This nootropic is able to improve alertness and concentration in addition to your attention span. It can also protect your neuron system by increasing membrane fluidity and enhancing your synaptic plasticity. For more information on other amazing products, click here to head to our nootropics page.