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Productivity Tips: 5 Tips for Reading Concentration

As we rush through our piles and folders of reading, we can be left wondering what we just read. Maybe you're reading while distracted or just have so much on your mind that the content slips away soon after reading. Reading with purpose can help us understand and retain what we read.

Here are 5 tips for concentrating on your reading for better comprehension and retention:

woman reading in library

Avoid Distractions

Interruptions can cause you to lose the flow of your reading. Concentration is especially important for professional and technical reading. For ideas for getting uninterrupted blocks of time, see our previous tip on Preventing Interruptions.

Avoid Regression

Be aware of regression. This is when your mind wanders, you lose the track of the material, and you need to go back and re-read what you already read but didn't retain. Practice concentration and forcing yourself to move forward.

If you're regressing a lot, you're probably not interested in the material. Ask yourself if skimming it is enough to get the main point you need.

Avoid Eye Wandering

If you have trouble with your eyes wandering while reading, cover the following material. Online, this may mean not scrolling down beyond what you're currently reading. With a book, consider using a page-sized bookmark to cover the next page.

Adapt to the Type of Material

Adapt your reading style to the nature of the material. Scan light material and general information. Be more thorough when reading scientific, technical, and research material, giving it more attention to detail.

Keep some light non-technical reading available for the small blocks of time when you may not be able to concentrate well, such as when riding as a passenger, waiting for appointments, or on airplanes. Copy text or PDF files onto your phone for reading when you can't connect.

Take Notes

Taking notes while reading helps you understand and recall what you read. Notes reinforce the material in your mind. And if the information slips away after you read it, you can refer back to the notes.

If you take notes as you read, consider trying Personal Knowbase notes manager to organize them.