Reading

Mindfulness Reading: How To Multiply Your Focus While Reading


A ton of articles on the internet makes me want to read every single of it. Life hack, time management, productivity, and stuff. I started to feel impatient. I open a bunch of tabs in my browser, trying to read them all at one time.

I lose my focus while reading long articles, blogs, or even books. My attention span in reading is shortened. I began to feel like there is no time to read. Moreover, the articles that are complicated, rambled and contained more than a thousand word in it.I feel like there is some pressure in my head that tells me to read more and more. Skipping words, my eyes jumps all over the place. I read the word but my mind doesn’t. My mind always thinks about the next article that I’m going to read. Simultaneously, this habit makes me read more but understand less.

This changing habit is not only because the way I read. But also, the online distraction that comes everywhere, anytime. Some 140-characters tweet makes me read more but our duration to read is shorten. Maybe there are many blog that I visit, but I feel like don’t have time to read that. My capacity to focus on reading in a long time is reduced. Focus reading feels uneasy.

I believe that I’m not alone. You, the one who read this article may feel the same.

We need to change. Of course, we don’t want to waste our time by reading mindlessly.

Well, you’ve read this far. For you that expect some action steps to increase your focus, but don’t have a bunch of spare time for ‘training’ this is the post for you.

Mindfulness Reading

Mindfulness Reading = Reading + Meditation

Based on Ward Plunet’s article, reading is a good choice to practice focus meditation . It is almost as difficult to remain focused on reading as it is to concentrate on our breathing. In fact, while reading our mind wanders off into neverland 20–40% of the time.

The majority of us read to improve ourselves either at the personal growth level or to advance our careers. So wouldn’t it be smart to take advantage of this reading time and combine it with a form of focused meditation?

We can apply these same mindfulness principles to reading, and will result in us doubling our efficiency. We can both train our ability to focus at the same time as getting our reading accomplished.

This technique is the perfect solution for my less focused problem while reading.

How to Read Mindfully

The first step is to avoid all the distraction  that may disturb you when you read. Read in a quiet place.  You can listen to music if you want. But make sure there are no lyrics on the music. Believe me, the lyrics will only distract you. You can listen to classics or instrumental. Then, don’t forget to turn off the Internet.

Without doing those steps, your mind will always get a distraction. Even if you try to manage it, pop-up notification sound will always seduce you to check your phone.

We will take the same approach as focused attention meditation and apply it to reading.

Start reading, concentrating on the words, and sentences, as you normally do. But you have to look out when your mind wanders.

If your mind wanders about what are you gonna read after this or the task that you have to get done. Simply put your mind back to read.  Effortlessly. You don’t have to realize that it’s only a thought in your mind that come and go.

If you find yourself hard to focus, don’t judge yourself. Don’t get mad at yourself. It’s normal. Perfectly normal. Practice mindfulness in the first time is always hard. It takes time for you to master this technique. Practice every day, continually. Each time you realize you have lost focus steer back your attention to the page.

The simple training of your awareness of when your mind wanders from reading and bringing it back to your point of focus is the essential part of focused type meditation. And you can get the same benefits of normal meditation while reading  — if you practice focused mindfulness reading.

Practice Is The Key

This technique is not useful if you only understand the theory but never practice it in your daily life. You can try this mindfulness reading technique with any books.  It doesn’t have to be a novel or self-help book. You can try this technique on your college textbook, a foreign language book, or even computer programming book.

Remember to always practice in a daily basis  (if possible). You will feel more focused and calm when reading after several weeks.

Give it a try, you got nothing to lose. If you’re successful, please recommend it to your friend.

By combining reading with meditation, you are getting two benefits for the price of one — hard to complain about that.

But I will remind you it is a process, you will improve if you keep at it.

You can share your experience with mindfulness reading in the comment below. If you have any question, do not feel hesitate to email me at gilangagustiar@gmail.com. If you found this article is helpful, please share and like. Thank you!

Reference:

  1. http://bemorebenow.com/mindful-focused-reading/
  2. Membaca Buku Adalah Kemewahan” in Sadar Penuh Hadir Utuh by Adjie Silarus.
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How Books Can Become Your Lifetime Mentor

Mindfulness Reading: How To Multiply Your Focus While Reading

by Gilang Agustiar time to read: 4 min
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