The mind will wander in a thousand different directions if you don’t focus.
You could be in the middle of reading. And out of nowhere, you start thinking or doing trivial things.
Reading distractions have negative effects; they can limit your learning ability, and become detrimental to your success.
So, how can you avoid distractions while reading?
Here are a few reading strategies that can help you gain focus:
This is my #1 hack.
Fast reading leaves no time to get distracted. But the pace is fast only to the point where I can still comprehend the text.
The next time you feel you’re losing your focus, try to increase your reading speed. Besides, you’ll learn more in the same amount of time.
Of course, speed reading alone may not be enough. You may need to use a few other methods as well.
Reading out loud or reading silently
You can combine speed reading with reading out loud or silently. It’s like narrating yourself at 2x speed.
Research says that reading out loud gives you best results for focus and memory retention. It is also better than listening to recorded audio and reading silently.
What if you don’t prefer reading out loud or in silence? In that case, you should do what’s best for you regardless of what the research says.
Flexible and limited schedule
I'm a morning person. Mornings are when I have the highest concentration to learn.
So I wake up early and read almost every day. I keep the most important things to read in the morning. Then read anything that seems interesting later in the day.
But I don't believe in a rigid schedule. It's better to have no reading schedule than to have a rigid one. This is because I’m not a robot. And I guess you're not either.
Also, it's OK to miss your reading schedule sometimes—except for paltry reasons.
I find it better to have limited reading time. Time constraints add some pressure to read more in less time.
You can optimize reading in a limited time. Think of a reading schedule as a sprint. Try to set small learning goals. Then read till you learn in the shortest possible time.
Avoid binge reading or reading under stress or tiredness. Recharge your mind by:
- Walking around
- Going out for some time
- Stretching your muscles
- Listening to music
- Taking power nap
- Drinking coffee or tea
Meditation is a proven method to increase focus.
I meditate for 5 minutes every day after the shower. That’s about 0.3% of a day. And yet it has a lasting impact throughout the day.
All you need to do is sit calmly and concentrate on your breath, let all negative thoughts go, and become peaceful.
You can do it by listening to guided meditation or calm instrumental music.
Once you have some practice, meditation can help you stay focused while reading.
Being aware of how you can focus on reading is one of the most powerful habits you can develop.
Never force yourself. Apply constant gentle pressure and try out different reading strategies. Stick to reading strategies that are working for you.
You can experiment with speed reading, reading out loud, adding time constraints, and so on.