I want to become a certain kind of medical professional. I'm trying to get into a program. I have a few great textbooks thanks to bookzz.org and #bookz on IRC.
However, when I sit down to read, I can't stay focused. I'm genuinely interested in what I'm reading and I am passionate about getting into a program, but I just can't fucking focus. I get into it and within 10 minutes I'm thinking about what needs to be done around the house or remembering things I've meant to look up online.
What the fuck can I do to make myself a more dedicated reader? Or am I just fucked because I can't naturally do it?
Also, I'd like to acquire more books if anyone has more leads.
Thanks for any insight, tips, or personal strategies.
Get on a train journey, put some in-ear headphones in, music or not as you please and enjoy 1-2 hour each way of joyful reading time. I do it a lot on the way to work (about 2 hours each way of reading) and even with the disturbance of being in the rush hour i can pile through books at speed. Plus try reading something different made of paper if you are reading electronically, it may make enough difference to start you off.
- Pomodoro technique https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomodoro_Technique
- Try to focus on the process of reading the book
- Learn to ignore distractions
- When you are lying in the bed or some shit and you want to read 4chan or some other shit, start reading the book instead.
1) Train yourself. I read a lot and still notice my brain is conditioned for easy, instant gratification. I can't even watch a movie on my computer without alt+tabbing to 4chan or some bullshit sixty times, or fast-forwarding through every slow scene. Some people are really bad. Checking your fifteen different forms of social media ten times a day conditions your brain to want constant "HEY I WONDER WHAT'S GOING ON WITH TWITTER" mini-gratifications. It's similar to how a smoker will always have "let's go out for a smoke" impulses. Only discipline and re-conditioning can help.
2) Occupy the "background" of your mind with a buffer of white noise. I need to be either rocking in a chair, swaying back and forth with full-blown autism, or pacing while I read. If I can't do that, I twirl a pen around nonstop for 4 straight hours in my hand. Sitting down and quietly, motionlessly reading makes me want to kill myself. Doing those things somehow occupies or kills this background, buzzing, constant need for movement. I used to beat Doom once per lecture so that I could focus on listening to the actual lecture, because otherwise the unspent energy would cause my mind wander. You might be similar, maybe.
3) Break reading up. Monitor when your mind starts to get diminishing returns. If I have to sit down right now and do my six hours of readings for a certain class next week, it will take much longer, because at the one hour mark I'll be reading with 50% efficiency, then at the two hour mark I'll be reading with 25% efficiency, etc. But if I split the reading up into six segments, and in between each one give myself a break (personally I use short-ish stories for my breaks, Borges or Lovecraft or a Greek play or something), I'll come back refreshed and ready to go.
4) Try putting VERY subtle music on in the background that suits your reading material. I use "chill-out mixes" from Youtube with no vocals:
Classical is surprisingly bad because it requires attention. I can't handle ambient either. I have to dig around for mixes that have kind of consistently mediocre and excitement-less lounge music.
Thank you. My commute to school will be over an hour one way, but unfortunately I live in a rural area without commuter trains or buses so it will be me in a car. I intend to ask professors about audio lessons, but if anyone has good resources for academic audio lectures I'd be very open to exploring that.
I have never heard of the pomodoro technique but I will try it, thank you very much.
Thanks for sharing your own experience, I can relate to a lot of what you said. Seems like breaking the reading up is a great start, but keeping my distraction addiction in check will be a challenge.
>Classical is surprisingly bad because it requires attention.
yeah definitely. I hate how plebs are always talking about how they use classical as "background noise" or something think that.
I just got done with my first pomodoro and yeah, it did break what I was going on. However, it may be worth it if it keeps me coming back for 25 minute blocks.
However, I fear that when the novelty wears, I'll just disobey it like everything else.
I learned mindfulness meditation with a teacher a couple years ago. Even it doesn't prevent my from getting distracted/losing the will to focus. I thik a lot of it is being on the internet so much. I have a hard time even completing news articles I'm interested in.
I have the same problem and I am sure others do too. The solution is probably different for everyone too. There were some audiobooks I recall from a while back by a travelling salesman who became a motivational speaker but I can't remember his name offhand. Listening to those tapes helped a bit because he drilled in the importance of making every idle moment count such as the spare few hours during a plane flight.
One way or another, the end result has to be a rewiring of sorts.
Thanks for your input. I know it's got to come from with in and if it's not already there it has to be put there through awareness.
Is the guy you're talking about named Zig Ziglar? That's what Google suggested but I don't want to fuck around finding his books if that's not him.