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I am having very less concentration. Specially when I read a book or an article. I don't read a paragraph of 2 lines even. I start searching 1 or 2 words from a line and leave the rest. Definitely, It doesn't clear the actual meaning of that document.

My mind catches images, formulas, numbers, charts, headings etc (anything other than normal text) first. But I dint feel to read complete article. I start doing some practical even without understanding the concept completely not even 70-80%. Or start exploring related/alternate stuff.

When I need to learn something, I either go for PPTs, Step-by-Step illustrated tutorial or for some video tutorial. However I am aware with the fact that a book gives the basic but important knowledge of any topic.

Because of this habit, I take more than average time to learn things.

This may all because of less patience. But how can I overcome that.

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Try to do just one thing at a time and schedule some time to accomplish it. It sounds like you're trying to do too much at once –  Simon Martin Feb 7 '13 at 15:25

9 Answers 9

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I heard that pomodoro technique is very effective for reading. I googled around and found this blog >> Reading and effective note as one of the reference[1].

My friend also tried it and shared that it's very effective for her.

I believe the reason behind the effectiveness is that Hippocampus[2] (the part of the brain that writes what you have read into long-term persistence memory) works when you are not focusing. You need both focusing and relaxing time to read effectively. However, you don't want to risk switching context (being distracted and do something else) because that would flush what you have read away.

You may want to try it. Let us know if it works for you. :)

Good luck!

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+1 for links, seems useful. between the journey. will read in few days. Thanks –  articlestack Jan 25 '13 at 5:02
I am accepting before applying. –  articlestack Feb 7 '13 at 15:22

I think you need two things: Focus and Motivation. I also suggest to use Pomodoro Technique for help you focus. Think reading like playing a game. Set your goal "I will focus on reading this book for 10mins" then start. When you get the goal, give yourself some rewards. It's OK to take a break for relax, this is a good reward for your brain. Take several short periods of reading, you will find yourself more fun to read. Then try longer period, like play a game in next level. This is some kind of motivation. When you can focus on reading and can boost your motivation to read, you will enjoy reading. Let's try.

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Ya, this is my last action when nothing works. I'll force myself to read some interesting journals with daily routine and will increase the period –  articlestack Jan 25 '13 at 5:04

The problem of reading, focus and remembering was already discussed so you may want to take a look.

Anyway if you want to improve your reading you can try to set up some goals which you want to achieve by reading a book. Having clear motivation of reading helps to focus on text and its understanding. If you don't have any particular point, you may try to read to summarise after read. Find a friend who is willing to listen and ask questions. Read material and try to tell your friend what you read. This way you may identify what you missed and how you read the text. You may find that you focus only on particular subjects but can't answer your friend's questions. It can give you a clue about your reading patterns and why you read the way you do so.

By the way, the reading you describe is not necessary wrong. There are many techniques to read, especially technical texts, maybe you need only improve some details in your reading pattern not change it all. It can give you better understanding in shorter time. You don't have to read all text to get the most from it.

Saying all of the above I think that the most important is motivation and good understanding of reason why you want to do so.

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I'm dyslexic, no good at reading either, but I've learned to read very quickly and efficiently. Some people have no legs and yet they've learned to run on crutches. Don't let it hold you back.

It's all just practice and hard work. The human brain can learn plenty of new things, it just needs to be conditioned to do it faster and more accurately. If you were slower than other people, there's nothing keeping you from becoming better than them with more hard work.

I would recommend that you spend around 1-4 hours a day reading something at a little faster than your comfort level. Take one of the many speed reading courses recommended around the site. You should be able to read more comfortably within a few months.

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I am an avid reader but there are times when I cannot focus. It is a problem of either lack of patience to or too many other thoughts & distractions.

During these times, I either start reading out loud (pretending there is an imaginary audience listening) or (if nothing at all works) I literally start to copy the text into a notebook. This usually gives me focus after a few paragraphs I "get into" it and can just read instead of reading/copying.

I know friends who read more than me and they complain about 'quality' of writing or grammar and I think in a way they are actually distracting themselves while reading, but the distraction is related to the text. I believe it helps them keep the focus throughout boring text.

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for an initial practice "reading out loud" may be helpful. But I can't make it regular habit since I can't disturb anyone sleeping or when I am in office –  articlestack Jan 23 '13 at 16:14
I typically do not read in the office. It's maybe unprofessional ..(?) depending on office environment. But you can also highlight if it's Internet or book you can ruin. –  Dina Jan 24 '13 at 15:31

One method you may try is to change the way you think about reading. Enjoy it. Don't view it as a requirement in order to gain intelligence. Enjoying it will cause you to focus less on picking out stats, numbers, and bold ideas, and instead, focus on the concepts behind articles.

So, next time you are about to read an article, don't think "I want to become smarter, so I'm going to read this." rather, "This looks like an interesting topic, so I will check it out."

I would recommend combining this with one of the other suggestions posted here.

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I would try speed reading. You might not be reading quick enough to stay interested in what you are reading.

As someone with ADD, I know I have to keep my mind stimulated when I read. I took some speed reading course and then I use Quickreader to read fiction. I read on the train because I know I will have to stay seated and the noise around me actually helps me focus. You could also try reading standing up or walking.

If you are reading non-fiction then don't try to understand everything on first pass, just get an overview of the chapter by skimming. Then try to read the chapter again. Stopping to take notes or scribbling things might also help to keep your mind engaged.

Of course, having content to read that you are actually interested in is the most important part.

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One of the best ways you could do to help you stay focus on when reading is to take regular breaks or treat yourself or reward yourself after you’ve finish reading. This could help you motivate yourself to stay focus.

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You can start by reading aloud. That will help you concentrating while reading. I remember having similar problem. I used to go in a room or place where I am alone so no one can hear me and I am comfortable. Then started reading some novels and books aloud. After sometime you will realize that you are actually reading the book and your volume will go low slowly with your concentration on the subject. Now I can even read while traveling in cab/bus with music on.

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