Overcoming Reading Distractions

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by infra-leve

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by infra-leve

1. Set aside 3 minutes to work on a reading assignment for your class.

2. As you read, any time you are distracted, make a checkmark on a piece of scrap paper and think to yourself, “I will not be distracted by that again.” At the end of the 3 minutes, look at how many times you were distracted while you were reading by counting the number of checkmarks on your paper.

3. When you can read for 3 minutes without being distracted, try testing yourself for 5 minutes.

4. At the end of the reading assignment, make note of the greatest length of time you were able to read without being distracted.

5. Write a short paragraph about the experience and what steps you might take to help you focus better as you read.


10 thoughts on “Overcoming Reading Distractions

  1. Angel

    During my 3 minutes of reading, I got distracted once every minute, so 3 times in total. I believe the reason for my distraction was the environment in which I was studying in. Being at home with endless things I know I need to get done, as well as my roommate, lead to me not being able to focus properly on what I was reading. I had to go back and reread some part to understand and in all was not focused enough. I think changing the environment in which I choose to study would help me be able to focus better on the task at hand, such as going to the library or a quitter part of my home. I could also keep a list of things I need to do written down somewhere so that I won’t be constantly thinking of things I have to do and just focus on the singular task to be done at that time.

  2. Eraclio

    When doing the 3 minutes of reading i was distracted twice. I had read for about a minute and fifty seconds before my girlfriend and put her hand to her face in frustration about an assignment she was working on. Another 25 seconds later my mind had wandered and thought about how much more time i have left for this 3 minute assignment. After that I read assignment for next class and the longest i read for was about 8 minutes before my attention had been diverted because my eyes were getting watery and my eyes were getting heavy. I was doing all this reading on a bed which is pretty comfortable and would make it hard to stay awake while reading. Another distraction i had was my phone I keep it on silent but it lights up when I have a message. I had to put it far away from myself to keep my attention on reading. Also I have figured out before while reading that i need to chew gum to help me focus and stay awake while reading. Im a person who cant read with noise so i always try to find a quiet place to read because i get very distracted and my attention span will go out the window. So gum, quiet places, reading out loud to myself to get what the reading says and keeping my phone away would help me focus more on reading.

  3. Luke Stacy

    While participating in this “uninterrupted three minute reading challenge” I realized that my computer desk ( and home) is probably not the best environment for reading academic literature. Fifty four seconds into the reading my daughter approached me and asked if i could fill her “sippy” cup up with more water. About thirty seconds after I had sat down to continue reading my phone had rang and I talked on it for about five minutes. When I finally got back to reading the article for my class, I was not interrupted at all. Although I will not the background noise of the television had caught my attention quite frequently. This challenge has been an eye opener that has made me realize I can take steps to better my environment, thus allowing me to understand my reading’s more fluently. Ideally, my house isn’t the best place to read, but I think it’s unavoidable. With that said, I think I can make sure my child has something to entertain herself so she is not interrupting me constantly. Second, I believe it’s a good idea to put my cell phone in another room so the opportunity for me to be on it is eliminated. Third, I would isolate myself in a silent area so I would not have any background distractions. Hopefully these minor corrections will produce major improvements in the near future.

  4. Briana

    The longest I could go without being distracted is fifteen minutes. Steps that could help me focus better while reading is to change my environment. I could rid myself of distractions such as social media and trying to mutl-task. I do not know why we continuously try to multi-task. Our brain can only focus 100% on one thing, anything extra you will not be fully focused on. Another I could do is set little goals. For example, if I’m writing a paper I can say “in thirty minutes I want to have my introduction and a few paragraphs done”. That would help by validating myself that I am getting work done and progress. Some other steps I could take to focus better on reading to break up the readings in sections. Instead of trying to read everything at once, read a section then take a few minutes break to digest what I have just read. I think the steps I suggested could really help me become a more focused reader and become less distracted while reading.

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