How to focus while reading

Updated at 02 Sep 2022

I don't know if you and I are the same in this, but usually, I do my best to keep my eyes on the page. There are days when I literally stick to the pages and cannot tear myself away from the book. On other days, I find it challenging to keep my attention on the story and not get distracted by other things.

Painted girl diligently reading a book

Perhaps it's a modern-day scourge where smartphones are constantly bombarded with notifications and distractions. It cannot be easy to focus on the fiction of a book when there is so much going on in the real world. Sometimes we need to read something for study or work. It's hard to stay focused and engaged, the focus is lost after just a few paragraphs.

In this post, I'll share sixteen of my favorite tips to help me focus while reading. Some tips require practice and preparation, while others can be used right away while reading. We hope these tips help you stay focused so you can read more and look at your phone less.

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How to focus when reading

Here are some quick and easy pieces of advice to help you focus while reading. Before we begin, I want you to know that it's essential to identify what keeps you distracted while reading.

Maybe you live in a chaotic environment or don't have much time. Or perhaps you feel bad or have trouble understanding words. There are endless options!

If you can identify and understand your specific problems, you can review these tricks on how to read, choose the ones that are right for you, and then apply them in a way that will help you solve your problem.

Remember: there is no universal solution for everyone, everyone is individual.

Tips for Staying Focused While Reading:

  • Get rid of distractions like your phone.

  • Find the right books for your needs.

  • Select the book format that best suits your needs.

  • Set reasonable goals.

  • A time block that occurs during a productive period for you.

  • Get comfortable.

  • Listen to focus music.

  • View an ASMR room on YouTube.

  • Light a candle with a focus theme.

  • Be mindful.

  • Find your "why" and return to it

  • Make affirmations about yourself.

  • Make reading more interactive.

  • Track your reading accomplishments.

  • Maintain your general health.

  • Reward yourself.

Disable distractions such as your smartphone

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to learning how to concentrate while reading. However, most people will benefit from the first step – eliminating distractions. You can even start from your smartphone!

Our phones are our best distraction. But unfortunately, my brain is constantly overloaded, and I find myself tempted to reach for the phone to "check" something or write something down. So, to focus on reading, I keep my phone out of reach. I turned off notifications to reduce the temptation to get new emails or check my phone.

Are you still uncomfortable with the idea of ​​putting your phone away? Then try to write down everything that comes to your mind to check on your phone while reading, and calmly check after you finish reading. In addition, you can also think about other distractions, such as noise or childcare responsibilities, that might distract you from reading.

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Find the right books for your needs

It cannot be easy to focus on the text if you are not reading a book that suits you. While I can easily dive into books with heavier characters, sci-fi/fantasy is always a struggle for me. Therefore, I suggest you think about books that are right for you.

Drawn red-haired girl without a face sits on two books with her hands up

Start by thinking about your favorite books and whether they have anything in common. It's about focusing on your reading personality and mood to set yourself up for success. For example, in the summer, it may be difficult for you to concentrate on a story about snowstorms.

Please note that if you have a problem with a book, or if for some reason you don't need to read it, it's best to stop reading it. I give you the freedom to stop reading a book unless it is "required reading." If so, you can move on to the next tip! Because time is limited and life is short, I quickly get rid of books I don't like.

Therefore, it is worth considering whether I would re-read the book if it were my last. It's dramatic, yes, but it helps me see how desperately I want to read the book, rather than some arbitrary factor like my desire to cross it off my "to do" list.

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Select the book format that best suits your needs

As you get an idea of the book you want to read, you need to decide what format will work best for you.

Some people love audiobooks so much they can't stop listening, while others enjoy reading words on paper. Others enjoy the technological benefits of e-reading, such as the ability to adjust the word size or make digital notes and highlights.

Do you prefer turning paper pages, listening, or do you still run your finger over electronic pages? No one but you can give the right answer to this question. Or you can just experiment and see if it works for your needs.

Set reasonable goals

Setting reading goals is something I love. They are very motivating. You have something to strive for, and you can customize it in any way you want. More pages, more books.

However, I want to emphasize that it is essential to set realistic goals. If you only read one book last year and set a goal of reading 200 books this year, you will likely get overwhelmed and feel tempted to give up.

A painted woman lies on her stomach on a stack of books and reads

It has been my experience that goals and the process of reaching them are more effective if you slowly build better habits over time. Reading as a goal can be the best motivation for your focus on reading itself.

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Block your productive time

Time blocking is a technique that allows you to focus on one task, such as reading. I know many people who admire him.

Although I don't "calendar" reading times, I do read at the same time each evening. This is the time block I use to read every day. Since my work for the day is over, this hour is suitable for me to read for personal reasons. If I had waited longer, I would probably have been too tired to read.

Think about the best times and days for you to read, whether it's five minutes or an hour. Then either write it down or tell others about it. This will help give this time the respect it deserves.

The only way to respect this time is to make it non-negotiable over and over again. Time blocking can also come in handy if you need to set boundaries at home and at work.

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Get comfortable

If you don't feel comfortable, it will be difficult for you to focus on reading. Comfort isn't always a must, especially if you're on crowded public transport or not feeling well.

Before you start reading, make sure you are doing everything you can to make your life easier. You can focus more on what you read when you feel at ease in your reading nook or even coffee shop.

Listen for focus music

It is no secret that music can improve your focus. I use Spotify to find "focus" playlists that I can listen to while I concentrate on difficult books.

A painted girl in headphones sits in an ottoman and reads a book

You might like to listen to a white noise sound machine. I use it every morning when my wife is no longer awake, and I am still trying to sleep.

View an ASMR room on YouTube

You can also watch an ASMR room on YouTube. This will help you to focus on reading. An ASMR room can be described as an "autonomous sensory meridian response" room. It's basically a streaming video feed that gives you ambient sounds and sights to make it feel like you're in a specific environment.

ASMR rooms, for example, can create calming environments such as a forest in Fall with soft, mood-enhancing sound effects like rain or leaves falling. ASMR rooms with Harry Potter and coffee shop themes are also my favorite!

They have made a massive improvement in my ability to concentrate and sit still. Why not give it a try?!

Light a candle with a focus theme

Aromatherapy is a great way to focus on reading. It's amazing how much I can feel the difference in my mood, especially with lavender.

The exquisite aroma of lavender is known to help you relax and focus. To improve my focus, I use scented lavender candles daily because they help me focus so much.

Be mindful

Many people say they can't "be mindful" or meditate because they fail every time they try. However, oddly enough, but mindfulness is to "make mistakes" and get distracted.

Concentration alone is not enough. It's about putting in the effort and noticing exactly when and why you lose your focus.

Paying attention to this moment, you need to give yourself a command to restore concentration. This will help you improve your concentration abilities over time.

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Find your "why" and keep it in mind

Painted girl with glasses reading a book

In order to improve reading concentration or other skills, it is important to determine "why" you are trying to improve it. This will help you remember this motivating factor whenever you feel lost.

Without a purpose, what's the point? You can relax, learn new skills, participate in book clubs, read more, understand a topic, solve problems, and plan for the future. The next time you're faced with the choice of whether to focus on reading or something else, you can remind yourself that reading is better for your ultimate goal to get back on track.

In defining your "why," I encourage you to be specific. It's not enough to say that you want to get better. This way, your "why" can be used in conjunction with goal setting to focus on reading.

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Make affirmations

Although it isn't always possible, I believe in positive thinking and affirmations. It can be difficult to concentrate if you label yourself as "not an avid reader" or say that you are a failure for not finishing a book.

Sometimes, the right attitude is all you need to be successful. These affirmations are helpful:

  • "I am a reader. "
  • "I will concentrate on this right now. "
  • "I should focus on reading. "
  • "Reading is a key focus for me. "

Reading should be more than just a passive activity

Reading is a passive activity that can be difficult to concentrate on for extroverts or people with high energy levels.

To improve your concentration, you might also consider doing something other than reading. This could include taking notes, making highlights, discussing the book with someone else, reading aloud, and/or using your ruler or finger to navigate between lines and pages.

Track your reading accomplishments

Tracking your reading progress can help you make reading more fun and keep you motivated. The list is my favorite thing.

For an extra boost of satisfaction, you can choose any reading tracker you like best. You can use a checklist, calendar, list, or journal.

Personally, I prefer keeping track of the titles and number of books read. So much fun to re-read it at the end of every month and year!

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Maintain your general health

Reading concentration is dependent on your general health. Your brain's ability to concentrate on reading and the mental task at hand will be affected if you don't eat, sleep, hydrate, exercise, or otherwise take good care of yourself.

Although these changes can be difficult to make, they can often have the most significant impact. Many of these pieces of advice can also be used to improve your health.

Drawn dark-haired girl sitting on books and reading

You can, for example, set a goal to drink a certain amount of water each day and track how many days you exercise. This will help you recognize that you are worthy of self-care.

I know firsthand how difficult it can be to focus if you don't take care of your body. I am writing this with such confidence because I have experienced it in the most serious way.

Reward yourself

Let's not forget to celebrate your reading progress. You can take a short break to do something you really enjoy. You will begin to develop a positive habit by focusing on reading and then rewarding yourself for it.

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Conclusion: The Focused Reading Challenge

Now you know how to concentrate while reading. This post is the first step toward improving your concentration while reading.

Nothing changes if nothing changes!

First of all, pay attention to those tips that made you think. Then choose the ones you think are best for you and put them into practice as you read.

Focused reading is a practice that starts... Right now!



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