Why can't I concentrate?

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1. The age of distraction

Have you ever had those days when you just can't focus? One minute you're completely immersed in a work assignment, the next you're messaging your friends in a group chat and catching up on online showbiz gossip while watching videos of dogs chasing their own tails.

The end result is you get nothing done and you're left feeling incredibly frustrated. If this sounds familiar, you are not alone and it may not be entirely your fault.

Many experts believe our brains aren't prepared for the rapidly growing bundle of digital distractions that we are bombarded with, leaving us feeling sluggish and ultimately less productive. What we are facing is a very 21st Century problem.

2. Tech addiction

If you feel a little lost when you don't have your phone handy, find yourself constantly hunting for great Wi-Fi spots or always have one eye on your laptop when watching TV, then you're not alone.

How the average person in the UK spends their tech time every day.

Ofcom’s 2015 Communications Market Report

Technology is now dominating all of our waking lives – and that comes at a cognitive cost. A study carried out in Canada in 2015 by Microsoft revealed that the average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds at the turn of this century to a meagre eight seconds. That's less than a goldfish can handle. The researchers believe this isn't because we're becoming any less intelligent, but because we are now multitasking at all times.

3. The multitasking dilemma

Some experts now believe that there’s actually no such thing as multitasking – we just switch our focus from task to task extremely quickly. This could be having some serious consequences for how our brains function.

Greg Foot investigate the effects the digital age is having on our brains.

Cognitive psychologist and neuroscientist Daniel J Levitin claims that, on average, we are taking in information equivalent to the content of 175 newspapers every day. That’s five times more more than we did 30 years ago. Our brains seek out novelty and, with the vast array of devices we have at our disposal, the temptation to multitask can be overwhelming.

4. Quick fixes

If you're finding it difficult to focus on tasks, you may need to choose some of the practical steps below to make a change.

Turn off

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Turn off unnecessary devices

A Microsoft study showed that when office workers were interrupted by an electronic device, it took around 15 minutes to re-engage in complicated tasks.

Fuel up

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Fuel up on food and water

Skip breakfast and you're running on adrenaline, making it hard to focus. Proteins and carbs stabilise blood sugars, drinking water helps avoid dehydration.

Work out

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Work out to focus the mind

A study at the University of Illinois suggested that aerobic exercise improves immediate and long-term function in regions of the brain relating to attention.

Sleep right

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Sleep right to function

On a cellular level, sleep is when the body repairs and restores itself. Less than seven hours a night and your brain's not getting what it needs to function.

5. Tech overload

Do we really achieve more by trying to carry out several tasks at once?