Ultimate Guide On How To Focus On Reading

Written by Nicholas Crusie — January 29, 2021

Ultimate Guide On How To Focus On Reading

In the digital age, we have watched the important hobby of reading fall by the wayside. 

Many of us have lost interest because we feel we’re too busy to read. But if we’re too busy to read, why aren’t we too busy to scroll our social media feeds? We certainly aren’t too busy to watch whatever the newest Netflix series is. 

The truth is our attention spans are shrinking by the minute. An overwhelming portion of the population feel as though they’re easily distracted in their day-to-day lives. 

Just like any other muscle, we will have to train our brains in order to focus for longer periods of time. That’s why we’re here—to give you all the tips and all the tricks that you need to get back on track. 

Get The Best Seat in The House

Let’s start with where you’re reading. Physically escaping to a part of your home that is simply decorated and quiet will help you mentally escape right into that book. 

We suggest adding a great chair to your reading nook. Try investing in something that isn’t too hard and isn’t too soft. 

Hard chairs like wooden dining room chairs, folding chairs, and breakfast bar stools are going to numb your behind in no time. (You can thank us later.) 

A seat that’s way too soft, like an old couch, your mushy mattress, or a big pillow will have your body sinking in low, and your back will be hurting you later. 

The NEST Chair is a perfect happy medium. Here’s how we know it will never lose shape: it’s filled with polyurethane foam, which pole vaulters use to land on! That sturdy stuffing combined with the silky, soft (faux) “bunny fur” that covers the exterior makes for the perfect chair.

Here are some extra perks of this reading chair:

  • We can’t get enough of how functional this seat can be. The giant pillow that backs the chair in a crescent moon shape is so good for your head, your back, and your neck.

  • This NEST Chair has pockets! Pockets for any and all of your reading accessories. You can put your readers in there, some snacks, the remote to your lamp or ceiling fan, or hey, maybe even more books. 

  • With an easy but durable zipper, this chair can shed its outer layer for a good washing at any time. The cover is washer and dryer friendly and will last for years and years to come.

  • The handle that’s located on the back of this chair makes it portable. If your usual reading spot is being occupied by someone else, you can always drag it (with ease) to the next room. 

  • Did we mention this chair is also a bed? It’s completely convertible. If you’re on vacation, staying at someone else’s house, or you just don’t feel like getting up and going to your bedroom, this chair turns right into a functional mattress. 

Set a Timer

Have you ever set a timer before you start reading? If you haven’t, you must. This trick is such a game-changer. 

If you’re someone who used to love reading and now you’re having trouble getting back into it, this one’s for you. Set a timer for a simple twenty minutes. It’s so tempting to say we don’t have twenty minutes for reading—but deep down we know that we do. 

This twenty minutes a day will get the ball rolling again. At first it may feel long, but remember that good habits take time to form and are worth the wait.

If you stick with it, you’ll be surprised at how soon reading for twenty minutes becomes an easy thing to do. You may find yourself falling back in love with this long lost hobby at a surprising rate!

We recommend reading around the same time each day, so it always fits in your daily routine. A lot of people put their phone down 20 minutes before they go to sleep, and pick up a book instead. 

Find What You Like

Fun fact: you’re never going to like reading if you’re always trying to read genres you don’t find enjoyable. Before you pick up a hobby that’s all about consuming information, you need to know which topics spark your interest. 

Yes, you can look at lists like “Best Books To Read This Year” online, but is that really going to help you find what you like best? 

The bottom line is, don’t torture yourself reading about a foreign land’s geography if what excites you is magical fantasies about wizards and talking trees. Or vice versa!

There are so many niche genres that there’s something for everyone. Here are some genres to consider when looking for your next read:

  • Fiction
  • Non-Fiction
  • Science Fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Mystery
  • Horror Fiction
  • Poetry
  • Romance
  • Memoir/Autobiography
  • Young Adult/Coming of Age
  • Historical Fiction
  • Self-Help Books
  • Magazine/Newspaper
  • Plays/Theatrical Works 

Baby Steps are Key

Like we said, forming new habits can take some time. A common mistake we make when we pick up new habits is forcing ourselves to do it all at once.

If you haven’t read a book in years, you’re not going to read an entire book in two days. 

This would be like going to the gym for the first time and spending your whole day there, using every machine. Just like your body would break down, your mind will break down too.

This is why we suggest you take it easy at first. Don’t judge yourself for only reading twenty minutes a day. Just that small, daily dedication can help grow a real hobby. 

You don’t have to read longer or faster to be a reader. Everyone goes at their own pace, as they should. Reading is supposed to be comforting, not frustrating.

Here’s a tip for you: set attainable goals. Rather than telling yourself on Day 1 that you’re going to read twenty-five books a year, try writing down that you’ll aim to read one book a month. 

This way, you’ll have the pride of beating your goals rather than fearing you won’t meet them the whole time. 

Want another tip? If twenty minutes is too long for you, try reading four or five times a day, for about five minutes at a time. By the end of the day, you’ll have read a good chunk. Ease into it!

Start Bringing Books With You

A true reader will bring their current read with them just about everywhere. If you know you’re going to be doing some waiting, make sure to pack your book with you.

Every day, our lives pan out differently than we expect them to. Because life throws us so many twists and turns, you never know when you might want that story nearby. 

Many people find reading outside to feel like a great escape. Surrounding ourselves with nature can help us forget the current stressors in our lives and focus on, well, focusing! 

Here are some times and places you’ll want a book on your person:

The Beach and The Pool

Reading by the water is an activity that feels very therapeutic to a large portion of the reading population. Something about the salty air and crashing waves or the simple stillness of the pool surface can do wonders for your level of concentration. 

The Park

Your local park is a great place for a quick reading trip. Stepping outside of your home and sitting either under a tree or on a public bench can help your brain switch from scatterbrained thinking to laser focus that’s perfect for reading!

Public Transportation

If you live in a city, or commute to work each day, the time you spend sitting on public transportation should be spent reading! 

Nowadays every single person on a train has their face glued to some type of screen. Instead of absorbing meaningless content for thirty minutes, dive back into the world of the novel.

An Appointment

Whether you have a doctor’s appointment, dentist’s appointment, or even a haircut appointment, you might have to sit in a waiting room for a while. Instead of staring at the wall or scrolling through your phone, get that extra chapter in.

The Mechanic

The mechanic is always a waiting game. Depending on your situation, your vehicle could be ready to go in one hour, or you may have to pick it up the next day. 

When you’re stuck with that typical one to two hour wait, pull your book out of your bag and get reading. Too often, we cross the street and head for the nearest mall, where we shop around for things we don’t need. Save your money and read your pages!

Join A Book Club

If the most difficult part about reading is holding yourself accountable, start or join a book club! Get your friends together, find a novel that suits everyone, and set deadlines. 

Book clubs are special because they combine literature and social skills. Even if you’re brave enough to join a book club where you don’t know everyone, there will always be something to talk about: the story that all of you are reading!

This option is perfect for someone who wants to read more, but doesn't want to sacrifice their social time.

Turn Off Technology

This is quite possibly the most important piece of advice we have when it comes to focus. 

You’re going to have to take a break from the internet if you want to be more of a reader. We know it’s hard. Very, very hard. 

Every day, studies are being shared that prove our screentime is affecting our focus. Our obsession with checking our email inbox, text messages, social media platforms, the latest news, and more is deteriorating our ability to concentrate on everyday tasks.

The main concern of some doctors is that we are turning to our phones, tablets, and computers whenever we feel a sense of boredom coming on. But boredom is supposed to be a time for imagination and creativity!

Next time you start to feel bored, pick up your phone and place it somewhere across the room from you. Set the twenty minute timer, sit far enough away, and open your book.

In Summary

Anyone can be a reader! Don’t let anyone tell you differently. It doesn’t matter how long it’s been since you last read a book, it doesn’t matter if you only like reading about true crime, and it doesn’t matter if you can only finish five books a year. 

What matters is that you’re creating healthy habits which fuel your brain. Reading has been proven time and time again to keep your brain young, build your vocabulary, and significantly reduce stress. 

So what are you waiting for? Go find that new book and get focusing!