Thursday, October 6

I want to read but I get distracted: 5 tips to concentrate more and better

In recent years, many versions have circulated about the internet and Google making us increasingly “dumber”. Supposedly, having almost all the information we need available on the web impairs our ability to think for ourselves and also for concentrate.

Reading, in such a context, seems to be affected in a special way. Many people feel that they want to read but cost more than before because he loses concentration, he finds it hard to focus, he has to reread the same paragraph several times to really understand it… He can’t be what he is, as they say.

However, this damage that new technologies would be causing in theory in the ability to concentrate is, apparently, nothing more than a myth. Therefore, there are other reasons which makes it difficult for us to concentrate on reading. The positive thing is that these are reasons that can be corrected, following the recommendations listed below.

1. Eliminate distractions

The first measure is the simplest and most obvious: if what you want is to concentrate, you must ensure that possible distractions are reduced to its minimal expression. For this, as advise psychologist Aurora Gómez Delgado, we must try to turn off telephones and other technological devices that can interrupt reading.

Social networks and other applications that launch light and sound notifications from electronic devices are what the American essayist Tim Wu called “attention merchants”. They try (and often succeed) to activate our alert system as often as possible so that we are aware of them.

In the story “Continuity of the parks”, the Argentine writer Julio Cortázar says that a man, at the moment of reading, stretches out in his favorite chair “with his back to the door that would have bothered him like a irritating possibility of intrusions”. If a simple door is a nuisance, how much more an artifact that does not stop ringing.

2. Pay attention to personal biorhythm

Many people are unable to concentrate because they are trying to read inopportune moments. For example, at the end of the day, when they are very tired; even more so if they try to read already in bed. Sleep may come very soon and they may not be able to read a single full page before falling into the arms of Morpheus.

It is true that reading before bed offers many benefits such as relaxing, staying away from screens and sleep and rest better. But, for the purpose of reading, it may not be the most suitable. Especially for the daytime peoplethe “larks”, which have more energy in the morning and run out of batteries when the sun goes down.

Therefore, the advice is to obey your own biorhythm. “Identify the times of the day when you are most productive and use them to read”, says a report on ’10 Reading Errors that prevent you from reading fast with good comprehension’, edited by Agile Readingl, a website specializing in techniques for reading at higher speeds.

It’s true that the “most productive” times of the day are often taken up by work, parenting, or other activities. According to the Reading Habits Barometer, by the way, lack of time is the main reason why 35% of the Spanish population never reads.

But “it is better to read ten to fifteen minutes a day than not to read at all – emphasizes the Agile Reading document -: with that little time, you will already be beginning to create a reading routine and to integrate this important habit in your life”.

You have to take advantage of the moments, even if they are brief. As noted by award-winning author Stephen King in his confessional work as i write: “I never go out without a book, and I find all kinds of opportunities to immerse myself in it. The trick is learn to read in short gulpsnot only long”.

3. Choose the right place and the correct body posture

It’s not just technological distractions you should try to avoid: all other distractions as well. A square or a park may seem like a great place to read, but if there are noisy due to traffic, crowds playing sports or circulating around, it may not be the most suitable option.

Regarding body posture, from Agile Reading indicate that the best for read attentively and productively” is sitting on a firm seat, with your back straight and your thighs parallel to the ground. The book or papers being read should be supported on a table, desk, or lectern.

But this question is very personal. In 2014, psychologist Natalie Meyer conducted a experiment to determine in which posture he could read for the longest time without discomfort. Result: sitting on a park bench. The important thing seems to be to be comfortable enough not to get tired, but not so comfortable that you feel sleepy.

4. Read aloud

reading aloud helps to understand better complicated texts such as instruction manuals, legal documents or with unusual technicalities in colloquial speech, as verified by scientists from the United Kingdom in a study made between 2017 and 2019.

Based on this capacity of reading aloud, it can also serve to better concentrate when reading texts that, without being so complex, generate some difficulty. By pronouncing the words (and thus putting the vocal apparatus into action), reading requires more attention than when running silently.

It is true that reading aloud is slower. But it can be done for a few minutes, until the required concentration is achieved., and then continue silently. In addition, reading aloud has more benefits: other Scientific work They concluded that texts read in this way are memorized better than those read without making sounds.

5. Underline

Emphasizing is often referred to as study technique, in the same line of highlighting with colors or making summaries or synoptic charts. And its usefulness is called into question. The fact is that, beyond exams and academic obligations, reading with a pencil in hand can be a good way to “force” concentration.

This is because the reader may want to highlight some phrases or ideas for various reasons: because they offer him a piece of information that he did not know until then, because he finds them very beautiful, because he thinks he will want to look for them again in the future, etc. and that is more active reading and therefore requires more concentration.

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