Attention Span: Meaning And Significance

At some point or other, everyone struggles with not constantly working. Especially kids and teenagers are scolded for not concentrating on their tasks. However, it is not something very uncommon. According to statistics, we are even behind the little goldfish regarding concentration or focusing on a task. Among some individuals, the rate of destruction is more than others. Now check out below to know what attention span is, the symptoms of short attention spans, and the practices about how to decrease distraction.

What is Attention Span?

Attention Span refers to the length of time one can completely focus on a particular task without getting distracted. Distraction is common among us, as we cannot focus on any work for 24 hours straight away. Everyone faces distractions from time to time. Among children, the distraction rate is more than the number of adults. Those with a short attention span frequently face problems in any task or work given to them. There are some measures by which you can understand whether you are affected by a short attention span or not.

Symptoms of Short Attention Span

As already said, a short attention span is not an alien matter to any of us. We are all affected by this at some point in our lives, and it is very frustrating to concentrate on the task. Nevertheless, if you are frequently facing such problems, check out if these signs are prominent in you or not.

  • Prone of leaving the task midway.
  • Frequently making careless or silly mistakes.
  • Forgetting about assigned tasks or activities.
  • Impatient to listen to anything properly.
  • Failure to arrange things meticulously.
  • Impatient about reading long texts at a time.

There are some other difficulties that an affected person may face in their day-to-day life. We will get to know about it in the upcoming content.

Symptoms of Short Attention Span

Prone of leaving the task midway
Frequently making careless or silly mistakes
Forgetting about assigned tasks or activities
Failure to arrange things meticulously
Impatient to listen to anything properly

Reasons for Short Attention Span

A short attention span may be due to various reasons, and overall, it mostly depends on the mental health condition of an individual. Some of the common reasons for short attention spans are as follows

  • A short attention span may occur if you feel lethargic, blank, or numb. Depression has many side effects, including distraction. If one is depressed, the brain will no longer allow one to concentrate on a task.

  • ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is one of the major causes of lacking attention. Children are mostly the prey of ADHD, some get extremely hyperactive, and some become completely lethargic.

  • Anxiety also plays a large role in distraction. An anxious person feels it is problematic to concentrate on a task for a long time.

  • PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, can also be a cause of short attention spans. It triggers fight mode in the body, so focusing is difficult at that point.

  • Dyslexia or learning disorders can be the cause of concentrating on speaking, writing, or reading something.

Things That Can Worsen Attention Among Adults

Some practices that can worsen short attention span disorder disorders are as follows.

  • Messy circumstances make our minds distracted, and concentrating on something becomes difficult.

  • Eating too much junk food or eating out frequently disturbs our digestive system. As a result, ADHD may increase.

  • Not exercising regularly can make you lethargic and initiate problems like anxiety and depression. It also makes ADHD worse among adults.

  • Taking the wrong medicines or quitting therapy midway can increase distraction among adults.

  • Lack of sleep or insomnia is another reason in hand to trigger ADHD. Most of the time, you will be tired and will lack attention.

  • Besides watching a laptop or mobile for a long time, not taking enough caffeine, quitting breakfast, and not arranging things properly can also be the other causes of ADHD.

Average Attention Span Per Age

From childhood to adulthood attention span rate increases. Children are more prone to lose attention than adults. The average attention span among different ages is as follows:

Age Attention Span Time
2 4 to 6 mins
4 8 to 12 mins
6 12 to 18 mins
8 16 to 24 mins
10 20 to 30 mins
12 24 to 36 mins
14 28 to 42 mins
16 32 to 48 mins

Consequences of Short Attention Span

There are some prices to pay in your personal, social or professional life if you are affected by a short attention span.

  • A person may fail in the task he has been assigned, or thinking of finishing the task can make him lazy.

  • A symptom of giving up is prominent in most of them if the task seems challenging.

  • Silly mistakes or overlooking some important details happen frequently.

  • Much money can be wasted in trying to fix the mistakes he has made.

  • The person may appear impatient and uncaring in a long conversation or taking the job.

  • Failing to meet the deadline is another serious problem for persons with ADHD.

How to Improve Attention Span?

There are some tips and exercises that can help to increase attention span:

  • Practicing Meditation − It comes to mind and helps us to focus on the assigned task. Yoga and free hand exercises can also do the same. Meditation is a scientific way that even doctors prescribe to increase attention span.

  • Attentive Reading − If the affected person dedicates himself to attentive reading for 20 to 30 mins, it can improve concentration. The person can read anything of his choice, and it can be any book, newspaper, article, etc. On one side, it builds up critical thinking and decreases ADHD.

  • Concentrate in Listening − Those whose attention span fluctuates are not interested in patiently listening to others' words. They should practice just how to listen without anything.

  • Music Therapies − Listening to music also helps to increase attention span. While walking, jogging, and cycling, you can listen to music to relax your mind.


Attention span is a technique to understand the one’s attention given to a particular work. Cognitive performances, physical activities, solving puzzles, playing vocabulary games, visualizing or imagining something for a specific time, or mindful breathing can also help reduce the chances of distraction. ADHD or facing distractions while working are considered very common among children. Nevertheless, adults can face various problems due to it. So it is not a serious illness, but it can greatly harm a person, and exercise can be a great way to eliminate that.