If you feel that many years have passed since you sat down to read a good book. And immersed yourself in the story without distractions, then you are not alone. Here, we’ll show you how to focus on reading.
Whether you are a student who is struggling to get through your readings or a previously voracious reader who has the same unfinished book on your bedside table for months, recent polls show that people usually don’t read like they used to.
Addicting technology is so ingrained in our daily lives that we have become accustomed to getting the information we want in a few seconds, summed up in 140 characters or less.
We constantly switch between apps, and whenever we receive a notification, we stop and review those online activities. It affects our attention and prevents us from focusing on tasks that require constant attention, such as reading. This article gives a helpful tips and tricks on how to focus when reading.
How to Focus on Reading – 15 Top Tips
Here are the tips on how to focus while reading. Follow these as you find your way to your favorite books.
Clear away stress before reading
Raising your heart rate before reading is a great way to eliminate stress before you start reading. Studies show that exercise significantly improves your memory and concentration levels.
The benefits are immediate, so try to read immediately after an activity like exercising. Doing this regularly can help you in the long run as well
If you’re looking for an instant remedy to focus when reading, you must try this
Calm your mind through meditation
Meditation is seriously underrated as it can work wonders on your brain. If you have trouble reading, it usually due to the clutter that you have accumulated regarding work or studies in your brain.
You can start with some simple concentration exercises, which will help you focus again.
A few minutes of meditation every morning is good for your overall mental health, but if you prefer to try something more active, “moving” meditation practice will be better.
It’s okay to start small
If you are constantly wondering how to focus on reading large novels at once, quit that thought. You don’t have to try to become Shakespeare in one day.
Choose a shorter book and concentrate on reading the small sections of the book every day. Start with 5-10 pages, and try to build on that over time.
It’s helpful when you can set a specific reading time each day and block notifications to get the most outcome out of your book.
Try to take notes while reading
If you feel like reading is a monotonous activity and bores you almost immediately, try to write down interesting points that you see. This way, you will be able to focus while reading rather than mindlessly skimming through words.
This is especially useful for students who have been assigned long readings. Take a marker or pencil and underline the quotes you like.
Use your own observations to record key passages, and use sticky notes to mark useful information you might want to return to.
This not only improves your concentration, but also encourages you to use analytical thinking skills.
Improve your diet
Believe it our not, a better diet can help you focus better while reading or writing. Think about it, if you keep eating junk and sit on your couch watching TV, do you really think it will help you focus on reading?
What you eat and drink will affect your concentration. The simplest change is to reduce sugar and increase protein in the daily diet.
A little sugar and caffeine can help you read, but don’t overdo it. Eggs, fish, and lentils are good fuels for reading. Foods that are good for the body and energy levels usually also help the brain.
Ensure that your surroundings have no distractions
If you get distracted easily, try to rid your surrounding environment of any electronic devices so that you won’t feel the urge to check your phone for notifications every now and then.
Do not cave to temptations like social media or Netflix. You can use BlockerX to keep all annoying websites at bay.
Trying to read or work from home is a great opportunity to control the area. Try to read in the same place every time, so your brain will know that this is an efficient place to focus on reading.
Choose a quiet place. And it is best to keep this read-only area.
Listen to soft music while reading
Sound insulation is very important for your reading area. If you don’t like silence or music with lyrics, you can try to use ambient sounds from YouTube as a background music to help you focus on reading.
Focusing on music can also improve your mental performance. Start reading along with the sounds of nature or relaxing instrumental music.
Take breaks in between
Some people hate goals and will eventually fail when the reading takes longer than expected. To take breaks, use targeted work cycles with small intervals in between.
After reading 3-4 reading sessions, rest longer. If you have difficulty concentrating, you can set smaller reading intervals and longer pauses.
You can begin reading with just 10 minutes as start. Once you reach the end of an interval easily, increase the time of the next interval. What is really great about using spacing is that our brains can quickly adapt to patterns.
Reward yourself after each study session
Whether you use goals, intervals, or other methods, ensure to eventually reward yourself. This is a good time to take a walk, do something fun, or relax.
It will prepare you for further reading. Try to take a coffee break occasionally. This is a fast and calm luxury that motivates you to keep reading. Healthy snacks are also good.
Use a pointer to help you follow through
Take a pen, toothpick or use your finger and follow the words you read. This is a very simple technique, but it will help on how to focus on reading and keep yourself flowing.
Our eyes naturally follow the movement. So, your eyes stay on the sentences you have read. Therefore, you will not wander around pages, screens, rooms, etc.
If you are not distracted, you will read faster and better. Then you can start to increase the pointer speed. Your eyes can keep up with the reading easily this way.
Review the structure before starting
If you read something completely out of the blue, you may have no idea what’s going on in the book. When you want to focus better, take the mystery away from your text.
Rather than delve into the first paragraph immediately, skim through the text first. Find out what topics are covered. Look at how many parts there are and how they are divided and in order of topics. This allows you to understand the location and context while reading.
Knowing where the information is going can help you understand what is important. As you read, you will see which parts are relevant, and then focus on them. If you still think it’s boring, at least you know how far you are from the end of the tunnel.
Read what you love
If you have serious difficulties concentrating on reading, now is not the time to deal with the hardest books on the shelf. Look for books that are easy to read. Maybe your favorite genres or a guilty pleasure book that you secretly like.
Mystery and suspense novels are usually a great place to start as they are page-turners. This is the time to choose books that are easily reads: short books, poems, cookbooks, and suspense stories.
Have a reading buddy
Having a reading buddy helps accountability The benefit of reading with friends is that they will feel safe, happy, and show greater interest in reading. For older people, it can help you with your self-esteem, confidence in reading and also higher cognitive awareness
When it comes to students, the benefits of reading with friends can go beyond academics. Young students can see their partners show positive behaviors and valuable social skills.
They see their partners follow the rules and focus on homework. You will also benefit from positive personality traits (such as kindness and patience) displayed by your partner.
Turn reading into a fun game
How fast can you read a page of text while maintaining a high level of understanding? Why not take the time to try to break your record page by page?
We often read boring materials with a lot of diligence between which can mean the difference between passing and failing at school or success and failure at work. All this makes us exhausted. At some point in your life, it can make you totally hate reading.
Games inspire us and involve the connected parts of the brain. We need fun and challenge. By making small games with our reading materials, we can make our brain think that we are playing games instead of doing tedious reading.
Have a proper sleep cycle
Just like your diet, your sleep cycle can affect your levels of concentration too. Sleep quality is a key factor in helping you concentrate. In order to improve the quality of sleep, you should take measures to give yourself a better chance of getting a good night’s sleep.
Reduce caffeine, increase exercise, avoid screens before going to bed, and try to avoid short naps when unnecessary so that you don’t stay awake at night.
In 2021, you will be able to read more content than ever before. Don’t let benchmarks such as the number of books or minutes read per day limit you.
By improving your ability to concentrate while reading, you will be able to consume and use content that can change your life and help you live your best life. If you know how to focus better when reading, it can make the process a lot easier for you.