Focus

How to stop being absentminded and start to stay more attentive

Which of these statements best describes you or a person you know? You enter a place without knowing why you did so in the first place. You’re always late. You never seem to locate your keys (or purse, etc.). In the midst of chats, you become confused. Your thoughts aren’t organized enough to even start making plans, so you have no idea what you want to do with your future. If any of it seems familiar to you, you probably have an absentminded problem. This mental disorder, which is closely related to general amnesia, can be treated with habits and awareness of the problem.

How to stop being absent-minded and start to stay more attentive

The answers to the following questions will be discussed in this article:

  • What does it mean to be absentminded?
  • What causes you to be absentminded?
  • Can you fix your absentmindedness?
  • How can you stop being absentminded?

 

Read more: Understanding Laser focus and how you can maintain it and boost your productivity

Contents

What does it mean to be absentminded?

Inattentive or forgetful behavior known as absentmindedness can be brought on by distractions, fuzziness, blankness, or zoning out. According to Daniel Schacter, PhD, author of The Seven Sins of Memory, a failure between memory and attention is the root cause of absentmindedness. The majority of the time, while you are distracted, your conscious processing is diverted from the work at hand and becomes focused on something else. According to Schacter, minute and huge details get lost in your memory while you are focused on anything else. According to Schacter, who is also a professor and the head of the psychology department at Harvard University, “I can’t find my glasses around the house” is a common example of absentmindedness.

We all live in a society that multitasks, according to Dr. George T. Grossberg. Many people just experience sensory overload when too many things are happening at once, which increases their tendency to absentmindedness. According to Grossberg, being absentminded is a personality trait; an absentminded person would most likely claim that they have always been that way, constantly juggling activities and forgetting some of them. However, as people grow older and become busier, this feature appears to be more common as people deal with more schedules.

One distinguishing feature of this is that it does not interfere with a person’s ability to successfully conduct his or her life, according to Grossberg, the director of geriatric psychiatry at the St. Louis University School of Medicine. As people age and become busier with their careers and families, they may become more absentminded. Absentmindedness is an indication that other factors than a busy work schedule or a lack of attention to detail may be at fault when it seriously impairs a person’s capacity to function on a daily basis.

What causes you to be absentminded?

The following are common things that cause you to be absent-minded:

  • Not getting enough sleep.
  • Medications.
  • Underactive thyroid.
  • Drinking too much Alcohol.
  • Depression.
  • Stress and anxiety.

Not getting enough sleep.

The most overlooked cause of absentmindedness is probably not getting enough sleep. Poor sleep can also result in worry and mood swings, which in turn can affect memory.

Medications

Tranquilizers, antidepressants, some blood pressure medications, and other pharmaceuticals can have an impact on memory, typically by tranquilizing or confusing the user. It may be challenging to concentrate on learning new things as a result. If you think a new drug is affecting your memory, speak to your doctor or pharmacist. There are typically alternatives, as the table below demonstrates.

Underactive thyroid

An underactive thyroid can impair memory (as well as disturb sleep and cause depression, both of which can be causes of forgetfulness). A quick blood test can reveal whether your thyroid is functioning correctly.

Drinking Alcohol

Even after the effects of alcohol have worn off, excessive drinking might affect short-term memory. It’s advisable to follow the advice of no more than two drinks per day for males and no more than one a day for women, even though “too much” differs from person to person. 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or 1.5 ounces (1 shot glass) of 80-proof spirits are actually considered to be one drink.

Depression

Crushing sadness, lack of motivation, and a decrease in your usual level of enjoyment of things are common signs of depression. Additionally, absentmindedness can be a symptom of depression or one of its effects.

Stress and anxiety

Memory issues can result from anything that makes it more difficult to focus and retain new knowledge and abilities. Anxiety and stress fit the description. Both anxiety and stress seem to have the ability to divert attention and prevent the retention or recovery of previous memories.

Read more: Reasons why you can’t concentrate and how you can stay focused

Can you fix your absentmindedness?

Fixing absentmindedness is easy on paper. All you need to do is change your regular routine. Although not particularly revolutionary, these adjustments help to lessen the causes of absentmindedness. However, in general, the following can be helpful:

  • Start to simplify your life. Don’t try to do too much at once; instead, focus on one item at a time. It’s easier for you to blank out or lose focus when you’re feeling worried or overwhelmed.
  • Make sure you get enough rest and proper nutrition in your everyday life.
  • Always stick to your schedule. Those who stick to a schedule are less likely to become absent-minded.
  • Stay organized every day. Keep daily-use items in the same position at all times. Find a spot in your home where you always leave your keys or your glasses, such as the mantel or the table by the door. If you are strict about it, whenever you go looking for them, you will always find them where they belong.
  • Do exercise on a regular basis for both mental and physical well-being. Engage the brain in novel and imaginative ways all throughout your life. If you’re a left-handed person, learn to use your right hand instead of your left. Try to understand and learn how to play the game of chess, or try to join a reading club.

How can you stop being absentminded?

The following are ways to stop absentmindedness in your life:

  • Develop the habit of keeping everything back in the same position.
  • Make a list of things.
  • Set timers and keep to it.
  • Make a schedule and stick to it.
  • Delegate your tasks.
  • Make use of Sticky Notes.
  • Don’t multitask; do one thing at a time.
  • Get an “Accountability Buddy”.
  • Regularly schedule time for de-cluttering.
  • Learn to anticipate problems and understand the consequences of your actions.
  • Stop talking and get to work.
  • Eat well.
  • Do exercise on a regular basis.
  • Reduce your intake of alcohol and caffeine.
  • Read books.
  • Converse.
  • Play games that help the brain.
  • Make Use of Strategic Visual Cues.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Get Some Sun.
  • Seek help when needed.

Develop the habit of keeping everything back in the same position

It seems straightforward, but for some people, it’s easier said than done. Make an effort to develop a new routine. Put your keys there, for instance, when you walk through the door. When you visit the mall, keep to the same general area while parking. The new habits will take some time to integrate into your daily life, but if you stick with them for a few weeks, it will happen.

Make a list of things

You can become overwhelmed when there are a thousand thoughts racing through your head at once. Then nothing is accomplished. Start making lists part of your daily routine to overcome it. Making lists may be very comforting, and it can even make your life more organized. For instance, I might write, “At 10:00, I’ll respond to all of my emails. I’ll start a load of washing at 11:30. “could be useful for arranging a disorganized day. You can also think about creating a priority list. It may sound corny, but it works.

Set timers and keep to it

If you’re always late, learn to set the timer on your microwave or oven, or buy an egg timer and use it. As annoying as it may sound, when the buzzer rings, it forces you to focus again on where you should be headed by shocking you out of whatever you were doing at the time. By using timers, you can stop using the defense that “I just lost track of time.” It won’t happen, or shouldn’t happen, with a timer.

Make a schedule and stick to it

You can be a computer genius and keep your schedule on your phone, or you might be a traditionalist and keep it on paper. Regardless, you still need one. Given the fact that our world is overly planned, that might sound clear. But rest assured, I am aware of a lot of folks who lack one. Get a schedule if it describes you. Once you have it, use it and pay attention to it! If you don’t use it, what’s the point?

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Delegate your tasks

Nobody is a perfectionist. You can’t always do everything. However, some people with perfectionist dispositions are unaware of this. Being “perfect,” however, is a myth. It’s a fantasy. Such a thing does not exist. If your hectic schedule causes you to become absentminded in your daily activities, delegate responsibility to others. Make your children handle the laundry. Request that your partner pick up your daughter from her friend’s place. There are things you don’t have to do!

Make use of Sticky Notes

Put a sticky note on your cell phone if you need to remember to send that email or make that call when you arrive at work. It’s likely that you will check your phone when you arrive at work and that you will find your reminder. It is easy to use and efficient. Just be careful not to use too much, please! If you do, it becomes too much to handle and you eventually stop “seeing” them at all.

Don’t multitask; do one thing at a time

Many individuals believe they are excellent multitaskers. They are able to put on makeup, send emails, and converse on the phone all at once. However, if you try to do too many things at once, none of them get done very well. Make sure you finish everything you are doing by focusing on one thing at a time. Just be careful not to concentrate too much on that task.

Get an “Accountability friend”

It is beneficial to have someone hold you accountable if you’re attempting to form any of the new behaviors I’ve mentioned so far. Schedule brief, frequent messages, emails, or phone calls with a friend. They might serve as reminders or progress reports, depending on the situation. In either case, you are more likely to stick with change if you are aware that you will have to answer to someone else.

Create some time for de-cluttering on a regular basis

Many people have junk piles or sometimes entire rooms filled with junk. The issue is that they frequently get out of control. Anyone who has watched one of the hoarder TV series understands how challenging it is to make changes once something is already out of control. Set some time for your decluttering sessions. You will be consistent with getting rid of things you don’t need because you are already sticking to your timetable.

Learn to anticipate problems and understand the consequences of your actions

Your absentmindedness has an impact on others. If you’re always late, your friend is probably tired of waiting an hour for you to arrive at the restaurant; alternatively, your child might be upset because you picked them up from the slumber party last. It has an impact on other people. When you recognize it, you might be greatly inspired to use some of these suggestions.

Stop talking and get to work

If you constantly complain about how overweight you are, you will never lose weight. If you spend every evening watching reality TV on the couch, you won’t get any better at basketball. And if you don’t accomplish anything, your absentmindedness won’t go away.

Eat well

Foods containing unhealthy levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol are harmful to the heart, as we’ve known for decades. However, they are also detrimental to your brain. Harvard researchers discovered a connection between diets high in LDL and the protein clusters responsible for Alzheimer’s-related brain damage. Change to a better diet to ward off this likelihood. Unsaturated fat can be found in abundance in fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, whole grains, olive oil, and other foods.

Do exercise on a regular basis

The Mayo Clinic asserts a strong connection between regular exercise and good mental health. Exercise increases blood flow and can even stop the aging process’ natural shrinkage of the brain. While some people continue to question whether there is a clear causal relationship between exercise and brain health, the benefits of regular exercise—such as improved physical health and a greater sense of wellbeing—are undeniable. There is evidence that it makes us better able to manage stress. And if additional research demonstrates that it improves memory, that’s also beneficial.

Reduce your intake of alcohol and caffeine

Although there is nothing wrong with the occasional cocktail or cup of coffee, we tend to consume more alcohol and caffeine during tense periods. According to a January 2021 Newsweek article, alcohol sales as a percentage of supermarket bills increased by 686.9 percent over a two-month period last year. Even if you might at first reject any suggestion to postpone “wine o’clock,” writing might be your best friend in this situation as well. As a test, make a commitment to keeping track of your alcohol usage. In the next few weeks, you’ll be able to link those efforts to any discernible enhancements in memory function.

Read books

Reading a novel while going through Twitter is a very different experience. These two types of reading differ significantly in at least one important way, and that has to do with how the brain responds to information being processed. Social media browsing causes norepinephrine surges that keep your brain at an unsafe level of fight-or-flight alertness. On the other hand, reading an excellent book stimulates the imagination. Screens are excellent for fast information access, but they are terrible for unwinding and recharging. If you want to, purchase a genuine paper book. They still exist.

Converse

Even though it has been demonstrated that having meaningful conversations boosts empathy and exercises our brains in daily life, this ability is gradually decreasing in the age of texting. So make it a point to interact with people in person more frequently. Your brain will repay you by staying in better form and decreasing the likelihood of dozing off or blanking out. Even though it’s more difficult to detect social cues, a videoconference call can function similarly. In the case that you can’t meet up with someone, it’s a better choice.

Play Games that helps sharpen the brain

Games have been shown to sharpen brain function and provide much-needed mental health relief. Processing speed, decision-making, reaction time, planning, and strategizing are a few of them. Choose your games wisely if you want to lessen your tendency to become distracted. The amygdala in the brain is frequently stimulated by video games, but not always, and it can become overactive. A more conventional option could be preferable. Games like chess, strategy boards, and cards may be a lot of fun while also recharging your brain.

Make Use of Strategic Visual Cues

One effective technique to lessen your discomfort with absentmindedness is to “cheat” and completely ignore the issue. Throw the book on the passenger seat of your car the night before you go to a friend’s house if she has asked to borrow one of your novels. The goal is to “booby-trap” your life so that as you go about your day, you almost literally trip over visual hints.

You must take action when your thoughts are fresh in your mind for this strategy to be effective. Wait until you’ve written down the last depleted dairy item on your grocery list before sitting down to breakfast after adding the last of the half-and-half to your morning coffee. Always be on the lookout for ways to escape the multitude of thoughts circling in your head. You’ll be able to focus where it’s needed at any given time when you have fewer things to remember.

Get enough sleep

A few things will help reduce absentmindedness as much as a restful night’s sleep. Sleeping is necessary for our brains to digest information and store it as memory. We add fuel to the fire of memory loss when we deprive ourselves of sleep in an effort to do more. While the occasional all-nighter won’t harm your brain, a consistent habit of sleep deprivation will make problems worse rather than better. If you consistently struggle with sleep, start keeping a journal of your experiences. At the very least, knowing what causes your insomnia can enable you to take proactive measures to eventually improve your sleep hygiene or, at the very least, have a more informed discussion with your doctor.

Get Some Sun

Serotonin production in the brain has been linked to time spent in the sun. This is beneficial because Johns Hopkins researchers discovered decreased levels of serotonin transporters in study participants who showed mild cognitive decline and memory loss. Although its effect on absentmindedness hasn’t been thoroughly studied, serotonin is known to improve mood, the relaxation response, and concentration. Start thinking of sunshine as a valuable resource. How much sun exposure is beneficial to you depends on your location, the time of day, and your skin tone, but increasing your daily exposure is worthwhile.

Seek help when needed

Ignoring how the last 12 months have affected our mental health is a mistake. The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns put a lot of pressure on everyone, regardless of age. Many of us had to make multiple mental changes simply to get through the day because we were worried about our safety. You’ve added grief on top of information overload and terror if you’ve lost a loved one. Be deliberate in reaching out to close friends; you need ears that will listen with compassion. Until you feel like you are back on solid ground, you might even think about attending a few counseling sessions.

FAQs

How do I fix my absentmindedness?

  • Adopt these relaxation techniques.
  • Play games that help the brain stay active.
  • Read out loud.
  • Try teaching someone else.
  • Add activity when studying or rehearsing.
  • Take up a new hobby or class.

Why am I becoming so absentminded?

There are three possible causes: low levels of focus (also known as “blanking” or “zoning out”), high levels of focus (sometimes known as “hyperfocus”), and unwarranted attentional diversion from the object of focus by other thoughts or environmental factors.

How can I be attentive all the time?

  • Avoid all distractions.
  • Take in a small amount of Coffee.
  • Try making use of the Pomodoro technique.
  • Put a lock on social media.
  • Fuel your body.
  • Get enough restful sleep.
  • Set an achievable goal.
  • Practice mindfulness.

Are geniuses absentminded?

Genius-level scientists, authors, and professors are frequently accused of being absentminded. They are renowned for their amazing accomplishments in their chosen fields of intellectual and artistic pursuits, as well as for their obvious absentmindedness in daily routines.

Does absentmindedness increase with age?

It’s common for us to have “senior moments” as we get older, which are brief episodes of being absentminded or a poor attention span. This is sometimes a typical side effect of aging, and other times it’s a sign of the early stages of dementia.

Why are introverts smarter?

It appears that introverts have higher levels of stimulation in the areas of our brains involved in making plans, solving problems, and other critical cognitive behaviors. As a result, they are drawn to alone time more. Extroverts have less activity in these brain regions, which increases their propensity to seek out social encounters.

Are introverts gifted?

Despite being a minority in society, introverts make up the majority of gifted individuals. Additionally, it seems that introversion rises with IQ, with over 75% of those with an IQ over 160 being introverted.

Are quiet guys smart?

Quiet people have an insatiable desire to learn more and are natural learners. They are driven to study as much as they can by their curiosity. They merely prefer to develop their ideas over opening their mouths, so being silent doesn’t necessarily indicate they’re antisocial.

Why is my teenager so absentminded?

Your teenager may appear to be thinking inefficiently because of the way their mental processes tend to proceed. Their mental processes improve as they grow, making them more organized and less likely to forget things.

Does curiosity make you smarter?

According to a neurological study, curiosity makes our brains more open to learning, and as we learn, we love the experience of learning. A naturally curious mind explores a variety of topics to look for connections that can improve the way we tackle challenges every day.

What is memory failure in psychology?

Amnesia is the inability to recall past events brought on by psychological trauma (psychogenic amnesia) or physical trauma (organic amnesia), such as brain damage after a head injury. Usually, the memory loss is restricted to a certain time frame.

What is blocking in psychology?

In psychology, the term “blocking” broadly refers to an inability to communicate knowledge or skills as a result of learning or memory deficiencies, as in the common sensation of “blocking” the name of a known person or item.

What is source confusion?

Source confusion is a sort of memory error that is also referred to as source misattribution or unconscious transference. It happens when a person cannot recall the origin of specific recollections.

What causes selective memory?

The brain networks that enable memory, emotion, and reward value may have changed, which could explain why people tend to retain positive information more readily. Further research employing brain imaging techniques will be required to understand the processes underlying this effect.

What causes prospective memory failure?

Failures of prospective memory often happen when we make a plan to accomplish something later, or get distracted by other activities, and lose focus on what we had initially intended to do.

Can you repress memories?

Final Conclusion Memory repression is a theoretical possibility, but it’s possible that other causes of forgotten details are more common. While memories of trauma may be suppressed and later recovered, the APA contends that this seems incredibly uncommon.

What are some memory problems?

Numerous factors, such as sadness, an infection, or drug side effects, can contribute to memory loss and other cognitive issues. Sometimes the issue is treatable, and cognition advances. In other instances, the issue is a brain ailment that is irreversible, like Alzheimer’s disease.

That is all for this article, where the answers to the following questions have been discussed:

  • What does it mean to be absentminded?
  • What causes you to be absentminded?
  • Can you fix your absentmindedness?
  • How can you stop being absentminded?

I hope you learn a lot from the reading. If so, kindly share it with others. Thanks for reading, see you around!