Home » Articles » How to Sustain Focus While Reading: 5 Tips for Maintaining Focus

How to Sustain Focus While Reading: 5 Tips for Maintaining Focus

How to Sustain Focus While Reading

We currently live in a world where mobile phones, social media, chat apps and many similar kinds of distractions make it difficult to sustain focus and attention for an adequate amount of time. The ability to focus and pay attention while reading is crucial for grasping the information we are reading.

Of course, internet connectivity has made the world an increasingly better place and it’s the reason why you can read this article. However, statistics show that human attention spans have dropped as a result of information overload. As a matter of fact, chances are really high that you may not finish reading this article before jumping to the next piece of online information that catches your attention.

How might we take back control of our attentiveness and ability to focus? Let’s take a few important tips for helping to maintain focus when trying to read a book or important material.

1. Prepare your mind for at least two minutes.

Spending some initial time to prepare your mind will help free your mind of some mental clutter. Withintheses two or so minutes, you want to relax and release thoughts from your mind. This should help to free up your working memory and put your brain in a default and less-cluttered state.

When you feel more relaxed and your mind feels freer, you will be able to direct your mental resources and attention towards the material you want to read. By so doing, you will also be able to comprehend the information you read much better. Plus, you will also enjoy a higher level of focus as you begin to read.

2. Turn off mobile phones or block instant messengers and notifications.

Turning off your mobile device might seem like a bit too much to ask for, but the benefits are definitely worth it when you can’t help but keep checking for notifications or browsing chat apps. Unless you’re studying material on your handheld device, it might not be a bad idea to turn it off entirely at least for 40 to 50 minutes to allow for a sustained period of focus on your study material.

The problem with notifications is that they can cause us to quickly lose the momentum we have built up. It takes your brain some time of continued focus to ramp up and zone in on the material you are reading. Every time you are interrupted, your brain immediately ramps down and needs to ramp back up again. This can be very inefficient and will lower your ability to focus on the information you are trying to understand and retain.

3. Read with a Particular Goal in Mind

When you choose to read, it is really helpful to have a specific goal in mind. Mindlessly reading things is very inefficient and it is highly likely that you will not retain any of the information. If you have a clear goal mind or a reason for reading what you’re reading, it will be much easier to concentrate.

This might sound obvious or simple, but many people do not read with specific goals in mind. Why are reading about this topic? Take a moment to consider the question when you pick up a material to read. Take this article for example; if you are currently finding it difficult to concentrate while reading and your goal for reading this article is to improve your focus or ability to concentrate while reading, you will be more likely retain the information. Someone reading this article with no specific goal or reason in mind will more likely derive or retain little from it.

4. Practice proper posture.

You might have heard that more facial muscles are involved in frowning than are involved when you smile. This means that it takes more energy to frown than it does to smile. This piece information might seem irrelevant to our topic of discussion. However, in a similar vein, it takes more energy to slouch than it does to sit with proper form.

Proper posture keeps bones and joints in the correct alignment so that muscles are being used properly. Practice proper posture when reading by pushing your hips as far back as they can go in the chair as you sit. Sit up with your back straight and your shoulders back. Your buttocks should touch the back of your chair. Make sure that you are also getting proper support for your entire back. A good sitting posture will not only improve your ability to focus while you are reading, it will also prevent long term issues related to poor sitting posture.

5. Read in 30-50 minute intervals.

Why might it be a good idea to keep reading for at least 30 minutes or even up to 50 minutes? Well, as you build momentum and avoid distractions, you want to maximize this momentum and focus by prolonging it for as long is ideal for your brain. The ideal time is around 30 to 50 minutes after which it is recommended to take a 5 to 10 minute break before going for another round.

At around 50 minutes to an hour of sustained focus, our brains start to wander a bit in a bid to return to a default more-relaxed mode. Allowing for a short break indulges your brain and allows for a sort of brief mental release. Your working memory frees up for a while and some of what you have read starts being processed in the background for longer-term storage. By using this cycle, you will not only get the most out of reading, you will also be able to train your focus and develop the habit of reading at a specific pace.

Sharing is caring!

Share Tweet Email WhatsApp

Want to be notified anytime there's a new post? Subscribe here to get the latest updates delivered to your email address by Google Feedburner.

See More Under:

Leave Your Comment