Concentration How To's
by Abby Marks Beale
Do you have a hard time concentrating while you read? Know you
are not alone! With a multitude of distractors—such as email
dinging, phones ringing and other people interrupting you—it’s
not surprising that focus while reading is challenging.
I believe there is nothing more frustrating than trying to get through
a simple 10 page article that—because of all the interruptions—takes
all day! Gaining focus can make you immediately more productive
AND less stressed.
The tips included here are for you serious readers who need to
read for work or school purposes where good comprehension and retention
are required. Though they can be used for the avid pleasure reader,
know that pleasure reading can, and should, be done anywhere you
want! Try any or all of these based on your focus issues:
• Pick a smart location like a desk or cleared
off table. Reading in bed or on a couch in front of the
TV can be done but don't expect to get through a lot quickly or
with great understanding.
• Move to a better place. If you work in
an office and you are constantly interrupted, in order to concentrate,
you may need to secure a conference room for yourself or go to
the cafeteria off-hours. If you are a student, and there are always
people around or TV's or radios playing, you too might need to
find a more conducive place like a library, empty classroom or
quiet kitchen after meals.
• Let email wait. It will be there when
you are ready to check it.
• Listen to your own thoughts. Getting
rid of distractors like music with words, television, phones,
email beeps or other people talking can greatly increase the amount
of reading you can accomplish in a shorter period of time.
• Know when NOT to read. There are times
when reading is just not a good idea—like when you are exhausted—either
mentally or physically—or when you have an emotional situation
on your mind. Ask yourself, "Is reading a good use of my
time, right now?" If so, do it; if not, don't.
• Set a time goal with a reward. Allocate
a specific timeframe to read—say 30 minutes or an hour—and
set a goal for how much you want to accomplish in that time. When
your time is up, reward yourself with things like a quick snack,
time to watch your favorite TV show or if you really accomplish
a lot, a night out with friends.
Getting to and through your reading piles is one of life's little
pleasures. Here's to better focus!
Abby Marks Beale helps busy people work smarter, faster and just
plain better. She is author of Success
Skills: Strategies for Study and Lifelong Learning (soon to
be out in 3rd edition) and 10 Days to Faster Reading (Warner Books).
For more, please visit www.TheCorporateEducator.com.