It isn’t always easy trying to concentrate on something. It gets especially harder when you aren’t interested in the subject you are trying to concentrate on. Whether you are reading for work or pleasure, we all run into moments of distraction. If you are finding it hard to focus while reading, there are a few reasons why this could be happening.
Can’t focus while reading? Here’s why. We all get distracted differently, but different factors, including stress and lack of sleep, are some of the most common reasons. The brain is continuously being sent signals from inside and outside the body. If you can’t focus, you first have to eliminate any and all physical reasons this could be happening.
The world can be a distracting place, but it doesn’t mean you have to succumb to the distractions. If you are feeling fatigued or bored, this is something you can fix easily by taking a break from reading. Take care of yourself first and foremost. No matter what, there are ways to overcome a lack of concentration.
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Why Can’t I Focus While Reading?
Many factors can cause someone to feel a lack of concentration, especially when trying to read. It doesn’t matter how old you are. We can all find it hard to focus sometimes.
No one can deny we live in a fast-paced world. A world filled with everchanging technology and fashion trends wanting us to buy the next new thing. This can cause some major distractions.
When it comes to reading in today’s world, a lot of people aren’t even reading paper books anymore, most of the reading is done on the internet or through something like a kindle. Reading on a device makes it that much harder to resist the temptation of distraction.
Some of the main distractors today are:
- The Internet
- Social Media
- Video Games
- Online Shopping
As you can see, none of these distractions have much to do with the people around you. We are distracting ourselves, falling into the trap of what’s new and exciting.
If you want to ensure you won’t distract yourself, you must do things like:
- Keep the TV off
- Turn off your internet if possible
- Delete social media apps temporarily
These things will help you cut ties with the world long enough to focus on the task at hand. If you are looking for more tips, check out 10 Tips to Maintain Focus while Reading.
What About Sleep?
If you stayed up late the night before with some of the distractions listed above, then you may find you are now too tired to focus on the reading you may have to do at work. The best sleep you get is before midnight. If you aren’t winding down for the night at a decent hour, there is a good chance you aren’t getting the best sleep you could be.
Not getting enough sleep means we are more susceptible to distraction.
You may not realize it in the moment, but if you get even one hour less of sleep than you are used to, this could be the reason you are unable to focus. If you are finding yourself dozing off while reading, it is best to not try and force yourself to keep going. Allow yourself time to take a break and catch up on sleep if you need to.
What If I’m Too Busy?
It is normal now to keep ourselves busy every second of the day. Our minds are constantly being stimulated by something. This can end up causing us more stress in the end, as well as leaving us exhausted. We must remember to slow down, take a few deep breaths and take it one step at a time. It is always a good idea to disconnect and eliminate some of the stimulations for a while.
We must allow our minds to let go of other things, so we can retain the subject matter we’re trying to read. No one can do two or more things at once, with 100% focus and efficiency. Prioritize your time, and it will be easier for your mind to focus.
Multi-tasking may get your far in other areas, but when it comes to reading, this is a sure-fire way not to retain anything you have just read. Not to mention, it causes your brain a lot of unnecessary strain. In return, inviting more stress into your life. You might not notice it at first, but your brain is forced to go into overdrive when being forced to focus on multiple things.
Multi-tasking affects your brain in the following ways:
- Brings on higher levels of stress
- End up being less productive
- Prone to skipping corners
- Missing details
- Lowers the quality of your work
- You end up doing more work in the end
Have You Thought About Your Physical State?
Anything medical or mental that could be causing underlying distractions. Some things like illness or injury could be more obvious, whereas mental conditions could be too subtle to notice unless you give them attention.
If you are feeling depressed, anxious, or even suffering from things like anemia or diabetes, you may not notice the symptoms or side effects at first. A lack of concentration will be one of the first things that will happen in these situations because your mind is focused on what it feels are more pressing matters.
Your physical and mental health will always take priority over anything you are reading. Take the time you need to heal first.
How to Overcome a Lack of Concentration?
Taking care of your physical and mental state is the first step to maintaining a healthy brain function and in return, a longer attention span. There are, however, a few easy steps to help you focus while you read. Steps that can eventually train your brain to read faster while still retaining the information you are reading.
Listen to Music While You Read
This may seem counterproductive, and it can be if you are listening to distracting music. The point of listening to music while you read is to listen to something that will allow your mind to relax and focus. You do not want to listen to your favorite new pop song while you are reading. You will end up only focusing on the music. Try something without words, like a lo-fi station.
For more tips on how to retain more of what you read, check out The 7 Best Techniques to Retain What You Read.
Listen to yourself. If you are the type of person that needs a quiet environment to comprehend what you’re reading, create this space for yourself. When you continue to read regularly, it’ll be easier for you to concentrate in other environments as well.
Use Something to Guide Your Eyes
We all need a little guidance sometimes. Use your hands or a bookmark to guide your eyes line by line. This will help you focus on the line you are reading, rather than wondering how many pages you have until the next chapter.
Take Frequent Breaks
Know your limits. It is good to push yourself. When it comes to reading, though, there comes the point when it is no longer productive to keep going. It is okay to stop mid-section and take a break. To allow your brain to focus on something else for a while and regain the energy to get back to what you are reading.
You may feel as though you are a bad reader because you cannot stay focused on what you’re trying to read. First, pay attention to yourself, and you may uncover some factors that are causing you to feel distracted. From there, you can tackle the problem and regain your focus.
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