6 Best Apps to Increase Your Attention Span Now

In season 1 of Apple TV+’s Ted Lasso, Ted helps his star defender Sam focus his attention span on the future and ‘forget’ past mistakes saying, simply, “Be a goldfish.” His wisdom is a great reminder to increase your concentration and focus on the right things. Whether it’s to avoid dwelling on a missed goal or progress on a project at work, how do you train your brain for better focus? How do you improve your attention span? 

Since the year 2000, about the time the mobile revolution began, the average attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to 8 seconds. Even goldfish consistently hold higher attention spans at 9 seconds! (Maybe we should be like them?) 

The Internet is fun and full of distractions: indeed, your work efficiency can suffer from liking too many cat videos on YouTube or researching way too much Fantasy Football. Maybe people in your open office setting rehashing inane reality shows compounds your issues. 

Luckily, there are ways to use technology to maximize your focus and increase productivity. Here are six apps to increase your attention span.

Why attention span is important

Whether you’re studying, working, or simply trying to enjoy a moment of peace, a longer attention span enables deeper focus and engagement. Without it, tasks take longer to complete, mistakes increase, and overall productivity suffers.

In an interview with CBS, attention researcher Gloria Mark explains three major consequences of a shorter attention span: 

  1. “People make more errors when they do attention-shifting.”
  2. “It takes longer to do something because we have to reorient to every new task every time we shift.” (This is known as the switch cost – the additional effort in reorienting ourselves.)
  3. “Maybe this is the worst of all: stress increases. When people are working on multiple tasks and they have to shift their attention, their blood pressure rises.”

Can attention span be improved?

Luckily, attention span is not set in stone. You can improve it with consistent practice and the right techniques. Just as physical exercise strengthens muscles, training your attention can enhance your ability to concentrate for longer periods. 

Using attention training apps (we’ll get to those soon!) and techniques can help rewire your brain for sustained focus and better cognitive control.

Are our attention spans getting shorter?

Over the past few decades, researchers have found that people’s attention spans have shrunk considerably. With the constant bombardment of information and the rise of digital distractions, it’s no wonder this is the case. 

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. While our environment may be challenging our ability to focus, advancements in technology also provide solutions to combat this trend. By leveraging attention apps and games designed to enhance focus, individuals can counteract the effects of a fast-paced digital world.

How to increase your attention span

Increasing your attention span requires a combination of discipline, mindfulness, and targeted practice. Here are a few ideas for non-digital solutions: 

  • Practice attentive listening
  • Read more – and block distractions while you do it
  • Get some exercise 
  • Limit distractions and social media use
  • Focus on doing one thing at a time – resist multitasking

Fortunately, there are also numerous apps available that offer effective strategies for attention training. These apps use meditation, cognitive exercises, and habit-building to help users strengthen their focus muscles over time. By incorporating these apps into your daily routine, you can gradually increase your attention span and improve concentration.

Try these top apps to improve your attention span

1. Forest

The Forest app uses gamification to encourage focused work sessions. Users plant virtual trees that grow while they concentrate but wither if they leave the app. It’s a fun and effective way to stay on task and avoid distractions.

Even better, Forest partners with an organization to plant real trees on Earth. With this app, you have the opportunity to both do good and feel good! Purchase it for your Android or iOS device.

2. Headspace

Primarily known for its meditation features, Headspace offers features specifically designed to improve focus and attention. With guided mindfulness sessions and interactive challenges, it’s a comprehensive solution for enhancing cognitive control. 

In its mission to help you “be kind to your mind,” the app offers workouts, playlists, and sleep sounds, in addition to 500+ meditations. The app offers paid plans for both Android devices and iOS devices. 

3. Peak 

As a brain training app, Peak offers a variety of games and challenges to sharpen cognitive skills, including attention and focus. With personalized workouts tailored to your strengths and weaknesses, it’s an engaging way to boost mental performance.

The games are designed to push users through short, intense workouts. They test focus, memory, mental agility, and more. Try them out on the app. It’s available for free for both iOS and Android devices.

4. Lumosity

Lumosity, developed by game designers and scientists, is one of the most popular apps for improving brain functioning. Known as a gym for your brain, Lumosity uses interactive games and training exercises to improve memory, processing speed, attention span, and overall cognitive ability. 

First, you take a fit test for a baseline score and see how you compare to others in your group. From there you are given a daily workout plan, where you can track your scores and progress, and get insights from that data.

Currently, there are over 50 games on Lumosity, and the app is available for both iOS and Android devices. Basic membership requires no fee. The monthly membership subscription does cost money, but it enables full access to all of the app’s features.

5. CogniFit

With the CogniFit app, you begin with an initial assessment quiz to measure your cognitive abilities and personalize a training program to address cognitive deficiencies. The game also has specialized training programs for concentration, ADHD, mental planning, and other areas where attention is required. Even cooler, you can challenge friends and earn “neurons” (the game’s currency) from the game’s platform when you perform well.

The game is available for both Android devices and iOS devices. A basic membership is free and allows access to some games. A full membership requires either monthly or annual payment and allows access to all training programs.

6. Elevate

Experts in neuroscience have offered their expertise in the creation of Elevate, an app that gives you new challenges each day on over 35 cognitive skills. The app has numerous training exercises to help with attention, including those centered on concentration, processing speed, brevity, precision, visualization, and other areas.

The free app is on iOS and Android devices. If you want to take advantage of all Elevate has to offer, you’ll need to make in-app purchases.

Bonus: Calm

While not an app with games to improve attention spans, Calm has a variety of tools to manage stress and anxiety, get better sleep, and feel more present. It offers soundscapes and music playlists to tune out distractions and increase focus. It also offers meditation and mindful movement sessions to improve well-being.

Available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, Calm offers a free and a paid version with the difference being access to more content. They also offer Calm Business, as an employee benefit, sharing 21% of Calm users are more engaged at work. 

While the digital age challenges our ability to pay attention, it also provides tools and solutions to improve our attention spans. By incorporating attention training apps into your daily routine and adopting mindful practices, you can increase your focus, boost productivity, and thrive in an increasingly distracted world. 

Would you rather focus on a new job?

If you’re ready to switch your focus to a better role for you, check out how Hired helps jobseekers find dream jobs. We work with companies hiring around the world for remote, hybrid, and in-office positions. Salary transparency is a must, because we respect the time of both parties and want long-term success for employees and employers.

Originally written by Nicholas Callos in September 2016. Updated by the Hired Content Team in February 2024. 

Source: Talent Acquisition -


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