Sometimes even the best reader has a hard time paying attention, either because they are not in the right frame of mind or because the book is not very good to read. However, there are some ways to get through these tough times, including steps to improve concentration and become more actively involved with the text.
Method 1 of 2: Stay Focused
Step 1. Turn off the devices
One of the worst obstacles to concentrating in the modern world is the constant temptation to surf and send messages. A distracting phone notification can take up your reading time, make you lose yourself, or even make you forget what was happening in the book. Turn off your phone and computer. Go somewhere far away where you won't be tempted to use them.
Step 2. Wear noise-canceling headphones
We are biologically designed so that loud noises and bright lights take our attention away; It is a holdover from the days when we had to constantly be on the lookout for predators. To avoid these interruptions, we must try to block out unexpected noises. Earplugs can work, but most people find hearing aids more pleasant.
If you wear headphones, it is important that the music you listen to does not distract you. This will depend on each person, but the ideal music for these purposes is usually soft, without words and very repetitive
Step 3. Meditate
Meditation has been shown to expand the parts of the brain that are involved in mindfulness. When you meditate, focus on one thing, preferably your breathing, and try to isolate yourself from the rest of the world. Do it for a few minutes a day to improve concentration, and if you can, do it for a minute before you start reading, to prepare yourself to focus.
Step 4. Sit down
You may want to lie down to read, but it definitely won't help you stay awake. Practice good posture. Sit up straight. Keep your knees parallel to your hips. Let your feet lie flat on the floor.
A study has shown that students who sit upright perform better on tests than those who hunch over. Good posture can help you focus and also avoid the aches and pains caused by hunched over a book
Step 5. Drink caffeine
Caffeine can help you focus on what you are doing, give you energy, and keep you awake. It can even help ease concentration problems caused by attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). If you're not used to caffeine, try green tea so you don't overindulge in caffeine. Otherwise, a cup of coffee should help.
Caffeine works best if you don't overuse it. Ideally, consume a dose of caffeine a day, when you need to focus more
Step 6. Visit the psychiatrist
If you constantly have trouble reading, you may have ADHD. Visit a psychiatrist and honestly describe your symptoms. If the specialist thinks you have ADHD, he or she will likely prescribe some medications that can help you focus.
Don't try to diagnose yourself before going to the psychiatrist. Suggestion can be powerful; It is easy to convince yourself that you have ADHD symptoms and in the end do not give the psychiatrist an unbiased perspective of what is happening to you
Method 2 of 2: Practice Active Reading
Step 1. Find out the purpose of the reading
Having a purpose will help you focus. Ask yourself if there is a specific type of question that you need to answer. If you read some fiction, ask yourself what the subject of the book is. If you read some of history, ask yourself why it is important for the current age. If you read something for a class, think about what the teacher will want to know. Try to answer these questions while reading.
Step 2. Underline or highlight
Once you know what to look for, pay attention to it when you find it. Underline or highlight relevant text. This will help you find it in the future, but it also forces you to wonder as you read what the most important parts of the book are.
Be selective. If you highlight everything, you are not really focusing on what is important
Step 3. Take some notes
When you find an important idea, make a short note to the side of the text, in the margins. This will force you to get involved in the ideas and will leave a record that you can review later. A short note is usually enough to interact with the text without spending too much time.
Step 4. Reformulate the headings
Headings give you a good idea of what the text is about. Pay close attention to them. Rephrase them as a question and as you read the chapter, try to answer that question.
For example, if the headline says, "Founding Fathers Attitude Toward Government," ask yourself, "What was Founding Fathers Attitude Toward Government?"
Step 5. Stop and think at the end of a chapter
Most people can only maintain an optimal level of concentration for about fifty minutes, which means that regular breaks are important. The end of a chapter is a good time to stop, as it usually ends a main idea. Take some notes at the end of the chapter, describing the main ideas or events of the chapter. Relax for five to ten minutes.
Do something nice during your break, like have a cup of hot cocoa or play a short game. This will motivate you to focus and finish the chapter
Step 6. Use your finger
To focus on one place, swipe your finger over the text as you read. Keep it just below where you are reading. This step is only necessary if you have trouble focusing on where you are reading.
Step 7. Read aloud
If you're still having trouble concentrating, try reading aloud. This will make you have to process the text more and it will be more difficult for you to lose concentration or fall asleep.