Why Your Attention Span is So Short

Summary: The reason for a short attention span comes down to how you've conditioned and trained your mind via technology, distractions, and a busy work schedule. By setting boundaries and limits, practicing focusing techniques and meditation, you will retrain your mind to focus for longer and more effectively.

Our attention span is so short these days. If things aren’t quick and snappy, providing instant gratification, we lose focus. What is causing this and what can you do to remedy it?

Hey everyone, welcome back. It’s so nice to see you all. My name is Autumn Asphodel and I am a coach dedicated to personal growth and success. Today I am going to share why you have a short attention span and how to remedy it. Share this crucial information with your family and friends who also struggle with this or who you want to understand you better.

Stressed businesswoman feeling relieved playing with tennis ball
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Our attention span over the years has drastically been reduced. We can’t focus on anything for more than a few seconds without having to switch. You see this heavily in television, online articles, and even Internet videos. If you watch a standard YouTube video that is made for people with short attention spans, you’ll find tons of jump cuts that remove all silence and don’t follow natural human dialogue.

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In 2000, human attention span was 12 seconds, but in 2015 it was measured at 8 seconds, which is one second less than a goldfish. And it wouldn’t be surprising if it’s decreased even further.

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What Causes a Short Attention Span

Our attention span has been heavily impacted due to a variety of factors. One of the biggest sources is technology. How many people do you see these days outside on their phone. The younger generation is undoubtedly addicted and dependent on technology, It’s extremely rare to see people not on their phone, distracted from their environment.

Teen Girls Text Messaging
© Scott Griessel

The reason why technology causes a short attention span is because of the constant notifications, switching apps, and need for instant gratification. People get bored and immediately go on their phone, continuously checking their social media feeds, text messages and emails, and other messages, and repeat that process again and again, looking for new content.

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Due to the younger generation being exposed to technology that is hindering their lives, another reason the younger generation has a short attention span is due to the lack of mindfulness techniques and always rushing. When we don’t know how to relax our mind, it will be out of shape and change in a way that makes it harder to focus on tasks for more than a few seconds.

Mind full or mindful question
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And another cause of a shortening attention span is our busy schedule. We are always on the go, always stimulated by external sources, and never given a time to relax our mind. We are always distracted and over time our mind changes and cannot focus as well.

Steering wheel covered in notes as a reminder of errands to do
© soupstock

Lengthen Your Attention Span

Because a short attention span is largely caused by distractions and technology, that’s where we have to begin to correct the issue. Limit your use of your phone, computer, and game systems. It may seem simple, but you’d be surprised how much time you actually spend.

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© xyz+

A lot of devices now come with a way to monitor screen activity and what you are doing on your phone and what’s taking the most time. For example, on the iPhone, there is a feature under settings that allows you to see screen time and the apps that are using up the most of your day. You can even limit certain apps and a downtime to train yourself to be without your phone during those hours. Similarly, screen time is also available starting in macOS Catalina. There are plenty of other apps you can find that allow you to monitor your screen activity so you realize just how long you are on the phone. Once you are aware of the amount of time you are spending on it, you can make the change.

If a device doesn’t have this feature, simply write down on paper or in a note when you started and ended the activity and see just how long it’s taking you. Again, you’ll be surprised just how many hours slip away when using technology.

Practice focusing techniques to enhance your ability to focus on one task at a time. Multitasking is extremely harmful to our attention span and overall productivity, which is why I suggest an organized list to get the things you need done in a specific order. A simple focusing technique is to focus on what you are doing in the moment at any given time, take some deep breaths and focus just on that task. Look at something on your wall and focus on it, and think of it only for a small period of time. The more you do this, the easier it will be to focus on it without distractions.

healthy eyes
© Konstantin Yuganov

And finally, meditation is extremely helpful to enhance your attention span, and many other areas of your life. Meditation for everyone is different, but the one that will help most with your attention span is a similar style to the one I mentioned about focusing techniques. If you focus, that’ll be a form of meditation. Calming the mind, focusing on the breath, and taking a break from the external world is helpful at promoting proper brain function and attention span.

business woman is meditating to relieve stress of busy corporate life
© pathdoc

Simply take a moment away from all technology to relax your mind with some calm music, breathe deeply and focus on it for a few minutes, and let the thoughts and stress of the day exit your mind with each exhale. It will be hard at first if you are not used to it, but with perseverance you will accomplish it.


The reason for a short attention span comes down to how you’ve conditioned and trained your mind via technology, distractions, and a busy work schedule. By setting boundaries and limits, practicing focusing techniques and meditation, you will retrain your mind to focus for longer and more effectively.

Let me know how this works for you. Thank you for being part of this amazing community. Have a wonderful day!

Additional Info

I personally known people with a short attention span, and it’s sad to see how much technology and the lack of mindfulness techniques influences them. When we don’t have a way to declutter our mind, it shifts from topic to topic as we are always stimulated.

Speaking from experience, there are times when I have a hard time concentrating, I think largely due to not wanting to do a particular activity, so I procrastinate. We cannot focus on more than one thing at a time, so multi-tasking actually hinders our ability to have an attention span.

Regardless, if you have a short attention span, or have even have ADHD (as a growing number of the younger generation are being diagnosed with), then share your experiences and let me know how this information worked for you!

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About the Author

Autumn Asphodel
My name is Autumn Asphodel (also known as Elle Stone) and I am a motivator and coach to help others live a better life through natural means, hard work, and dedication.

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