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Staying Focused While Learning

This method of using concentration to improve retention is especially useful when you must read technical or unfamiliar material. When reading simply for enjoyment, you may find that you can read for long periods of time before your mind starts to wander. However, the more difficult the reading, the shorter your concentration in terms of time.

In addition to using this focusing method, there are other considerations when it comes to attaining good concentration and retention of reading material. For example, be well rested before you begin your reading. Reading for enjoyment at the end of a long, hard day at the office may be relaxing. Beginning a difficult technical reading assignment at 9 o'clock at night may be disastrous. If you are a morning person, do your heavy reading in the morning, not later in the day.

You also should not sit down to read on an empty stomach, nor a very full stomach. If you feel a bit hungry, your hunger becomes a distraction. On the other hand, beginning your study or reading assignment after having had lunch at an all-you-can-eat, country fried food buffet will tend to result in zzzz's -- you're going to fall asleep!

To aid in your concentration efforts, find a place to read where the lighting is good, the room temperature is right and the general conditions and environment lend themselves to learning. You may want to play some soft music, but certainly nothing distracting. Needless to say, if the TV is on, regardless of how effective a reader you may be, your concentration will be split between reading and listening to or watching the TV.