It can be hard to focus while reading for a variety of reasons. Especially in this day in age, technology is a distraction factor in everything we do. When a notification pops up on your phone, it can be hard to ignore it and keep your focus. The people around you can also have an impact on maintaining your focus. Talking and watching what people are doing can be an immense interference. The environment you are in is another aspect. Being comfortable at home, curled up on your couch can allow you to focus on reading as opposed to being in a bustling coffee shop.
This blog post will discuss ways in which you can use to help maintain focus while reading. Some of these methods may work for you, and some may not. It’s all about knowing what triggers your focus to be broken and amending those distractions so that they no longer bother you. If it takes shutting off your phone to get through a book, then that’s what you have to do. Listed below are several methods you can use to maintain focus while reading:
|Reading Focus Technique||How it can Help Your Reading Focus|
|Shut off/Put Away Cellphone||Removes the temptation to check |
|Find a Quiet Reading Spot||Finding a quiet spot away from the noise|
and other people helps create a better
environment to concentrate
|Listen to ambient, non-lyrical|
music while reading
|Some forms of non-lyrical, ambient music|
can help with focus
|Take Breaks||Gives your mind some rest, allowing it|
to recharge its focus ability
|Have a Goal||Goals provide an achievement aspect to|
reading and can motivating
|Make the Material |
|Find an aspect of the reading or author|
that makes learning more about it
|Try to recall what you read||Read with the intent to recall it. After |
reading a couple of pages, try to recall
what you read to ensure you are
|Get a Reading Buddy||This helps with accountability|
|Read it Twice||Repetition can help greatly with retention|
|Don’t try to multi-task while|
|The brain is only really good at focusing|
on one thing at a time. Dedicate your
reading time to just reading, nothing
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Shut off /Put Away your Smartphone
We all have smartphones, and it can be hard for a lot of us to put them down and focus on other aspects of life. Some people can’t even enjoy a relaxing vacation without obsessively posting on social media. It can be hard to resist opening a Twitter or Instagram notification that pops up when you’re in the middle of reading. The second your phone screen lights up, you are automatically distracted. If you don’t allow that screen to light up or ding, it can’t distract you. When you sit down to read a good book, shut off your phone or leave it in another room. Technology is one of the biggest distractions in everything we do these days, especially when it comes to reading.
Find a Quiet Reading Spot
Whenever you visit your local Starbucks, you always see people working on their laptops, having a meeting, and writing. This level of activity may make a coffee shop seem like the perfect place to relax, enjoy a cup of coffee, and enjoy a good book. When you think about it, however, this type of environment can be an incredibly challenging place to focus. You have baristas taking orders with frappuccino blenders whirring, people having conversations on the phone (which you know you want to eavesdrop on), among a plethora of other distractions. It is critical to find a quiet environment that is distraction-free for reading. Whether a peaceful park or even a spot in your house that is quiet and cozy, not having potentially loud surroundings can be very beneficial. Try a new reading spot each day to find the space with the fewest distractions, and you are sure to find your new distraction-free place.
Listen to Music While You Read
I want to be clear that this suggestion doesn’t mean listening to some Shawn Mendes and try to focus on reading. That’s not going to work, that’s just going to distract you more. Try putting in earbuds and listening to classical or ambient music. Listening to lyric-less, soft music blocks out the noise around you, but does not break your focus from reading due to lyrics and loud instruments. This method is suggested for use while studying, as well. It blocks out the noise around you, puts you in a calm state, and allows you to focus.
Take a Break
You don’t have to read for an hour straight. Try taking perhaps a 10-minute break every 50 minutes. This small break allows you and your brain some rest. Your mind can become more inefficient as you read if you don’t take breaks. Following a cycle while reading can help you train yourself to better focus, get the most out of your reading, and also develop a working pace that becomes simple for you to follow.
Have a Goal
Create a goal while you’re reading. Whether it’s “finish Chapter 4” or “read until page 150,” this strategy can be great for keeping your focus. Knowing exactly how far away you are from being done can inspire you to keep going and reach the finish line. It becomes easier to concentrate and get through the material faster when you have a goal in mind. Goals can be big life accomplishments, but they can also be uncomplicated, like in this instance.
Make the Material Interesting
If you’re reading a book that is not really in line with your interests, do a little research beforehand. Look for something that does interest you about the book and makes you want to read it. It could be an article on the author’s life story or a Youtube lecture explaining the impact the book had on society, even a documentary or blog. There may be something that connects you and your interests to the book that you will never know if you don’t do some exploring. You might also be able to find some reference material that will help you to understand the reading better, which in turn will help you to maintain focus.
Read and Recall
Have you ever read an entire page of a book, flipped the page, and realized you remember nothing that happened on the previous page? A way to combat this loss of focus issue is to read and recall. Read a few paragraphs and then recite what happened or what you learned in those paragraphs. Reciting what you just read will help save you from having to reread entire pages, which can take up a lot of your precious time. This method will help you to retain the material you are reading better. If you abide by this approach every time you pick up a book, it will become a habit that will significantly improve your focus while reading.
Get a Book Buddy
Try having a friend, or family member read the same book as you. Perhaps get together for dinner or coffee and talk about the book. Having a reading companion will give you the incentive to focus because you will be talking about the content with someone. Plus, knowing someone else is reading the same thing as you can create a fun book club vibe. This technique will help you to delve deeper into topics since you will be conversing about the text. The method works similarly to when you exercise with a friend. If one friend is struggling to focus, the other can encourage them to keep going. This reinforcement from another human could be just what you need to maintain focus.
Read it Twice
This approach can be daunting if you are reading something unexciting to you. The thing is, the first time you encounter new information, your brain is trying to process and understand it. When you read it for the second time, the data is still fresh in your mind and leaves less room for resistance. This process can be like watching an episode of a TV show for the second time. You are sure to catch something that you didn’t find last time. These little tidbits of material could make a huge difference. That information could come back later on in the story or pop up as a question on a quiz. You never know.
Don’t Get Distracted by Other Tasks.
If you need to do the laundry, the dishes, or pack your child’s lunch for school, do those tasks before you sit down to read. Knowing you have to take care of these undesirable responsibilities will keep you down until you accomplish them. Use reading a book as a reward for completing those duties. A Stephen King horror novel isn’t going to have you invested and on the edge of your seat if your mind is consumed by “I need to clean the shower.” Once those tasks are out of your head, you can truly relax and enjoy reading.
Reading should be an enjoyable experience for all. It can be hard for us to focus, especially on something like reading. We have so many obligations and disruptions, and it is easy for us to become distracted by things that seem more important. These ten tips will help you to hone in on the reasons why you are becoming preoccupied while reading so that you can learn how to adjust. It could be something as simple as changing when and where you are reading.
Some of these approaches may seem simple and straightforward because they are. Not being able to focus during reading can be an easy fix if you put your mind to it. Not only can these tips be applied to reading, but they can also have an application to other aspects of your life. Living in the moment and facing the task at hand can be hard for us in this day in age. We could all benefit from a habit of improved focus.
What tips and methods do you use to maintain focus while reading?
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