Take This Attention Span Quiz To Measure How Well You Actually Stay Focused

A leading researcher in distraction and multitasking shares an exclusive quiz to put your attention span to the test.

Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.

Gloria Mark, PhD, psychologist and the chancellor’s professor of informatics at University of California, Irvine, specializes in research on distraction and multitasking. Dr. Mark’s 2023 book, Attention Span: Finding Focus and Fighting Distraction, came out of three decades of her own research—and in some ways, now is a critical moment for her wisdom.

Here’s one example for why that is: In 2004, Americans averaged 150 seconds on one screen before switching to another. If we thought multi-tasking back then was extreme, Dr. Mark says that metric has dropped to 47 seconds. That’s a greater than 300% difference in less than 20 years, and it’s probably no surprise that modern technology plays a major role in our diminishing capacity to stay focused. 

If you find yourself struggling not to glance at your phone during dinner—or if a two-hour movie feels like a marathon—then you might welcome this chance to determine how well your attention span is measuring up.

Dr. Mark shared this quiz with The Healthy @Reader’s Digest to help evaluate how much management you have over your attention. 

For wellness insights delivered daily, get The Healthy @Reader’s Digest newsletter

What’s your attention span?

Write down the number corresponding to your answer for each of the following statements or questions.

1. I am able to keep my important goals in mind throughout the day.

  • Strongly Disagree: 1
  • Disagree: 2
  • Neither agree nor disagree: 3
  • Agree: 4
  • Strongly agree: 5

2. My actions on my devices are usually purposeful.

  • Strongly Disagree: 1
  • Disagree: 2
  • Neither agree nor disagree: 3
  • Agree: 4
  • Strongly agree: 5

3. I am able to block out any notifications, ads or other distractors.

  • Strongly Disagree: 1
  • Disagree: 2
  • Neither agree nor disagree: 3
  • Agree: 4
  • Strongly agree: 5

4. I am generally aware of when I feel mentally tired and take a break.

  • Strongly Disagree: 1
  • Disagree: 2
  • Neither agree nor disagree: 3
  • Agree: 4
  • Strongly agree: 5

5. At the end of the day I rarely feel regret that I have wasted my time.

  • Strongly Disagree: 1
  • Disagree: 2
  • Neither agree nor disagree: 3
  • Agree: 4
  • Strongly agree: 5

6. I am generally able to focus on one thing for an extended period of time.

  • Strongly Disagree: 1
  • Disagree: 2
  • Neither agree nor disagree: 3
  • Agree: 4
  • Strongly agree: 5

7. I can always control my urges to switch screens and visit social media or another site.

  • Strongly Disagree: 1
  • Disagree: 2
  • Neither agree nor disagree: 3
  • Agree: 4
  • Strongly agree: 5

8. I rarely interrupt myself once I start a task.

  • Strongly Disagree: 1
  • Disagree: 2
  • Neither agree nor disagree: 3
  • Agree: 4
  • Strongly agree: 5

What your attention span score means

Add up your scores to determine your total. If your attention span score is:

  • 36-40: Well done. You are good at self-regulation and effective at managing your attention when you use your devices. When you check sites like news or social media, you likely do so intentionally and are able to get back on track to work when you want to.

Want to Stop Stress? A New Study Found This Solution Was More Powerful Than Meditation

  • 28-35: You have fairly good control over your attention, though there may be room for improvement. Some tips: Be aware of when you feel tired, and take meaningful breaks to restore clear thinking, resist distractions and stay on task.

I Took Magnesium to Help Me Sleep for a Month—Here’s What Happened

  • 16-27: You probably need to do some work to improve your attention span. If you can, turn off notifications, put your phone outside your bedroom when you sleep or in a drawer when you need to focus. Close browser tabs, and place apps that can tempt you in folders so that it takes a structured intentionality to access them. Try to identify your triggers for giving into distractions—for example, are you bored? Do you need to re-approach your current task at work differently because it’s too challenging? Are you procrastinating? Establish a few structured periods in your day to browse news and use social media.

Feeling Depressed? Take a Break from Your Phone, Says New Study

  • Below 16: It looks like you have difficulty maintaining control when you use your devices, and you’re not alone.  In addition to taking breaks, turning off notifications, and hiding apps that you often feel tempted to open, try to dig a bit deeper to understand why you get distracted. Write down those reasons. Also write down your goals for the day and keep them within sight as reminders for why you want to use more discipline. Practice setting short term goals, like finishing an email, before you switch to another screen. Try to meet these short-term goals.

FOR MORE OF DR. MARKS’ TOOLS, READ If Your Attention Span Is Burnt Out, a Leading Scientist’s Simple Fix Will Come as Relief

Follow The Healthy on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter. Keep reading:

Popular Videos

Jaime Stathis
Jaime Alexis Stathis is a nonfiction writer whose favorite topics are humans, technology, animals, wildlife, and the places where they intersect. She writes about health, wellness, technology, nutrition, and everything related to being a human being on a constantly evolving planet. Her work has been published in Self, Wired, Parade, Bon Appétit, The Independent, Rachael Ray In Season, and others. She is also a Licenced Massage Therapist. Jaime is working on a novel about a heroine who saves herself and a memoir about caring for her grandmother through the dark stages of dementia.