Some people find that they cannot pay attention and have a tendency to daydream when they have gone through three or four pages without remembering a word. One cure for this is to stop reading and deliberately seek some distraction, then return to what you were reading with renewed attention. Get up and walk around, get a coffee, draw a picture, count your pocket change - anything. Then pick up the document again and take up from where you left off. No-one can tell you exactly what to do if your mind wanders when you read, because to some degree this problem is an individual one which you must work out for yourself. The important thing is to do something about it, not just tell yourself, as so many people do: "I can't concentrate".

Perhaps the best general advice is: Do not mix play and work. When it is time to work, work hard. Apply yourself to your task and keep going as long as you can give the job full attention. You should be able to read for at least an hour or two without interruption. When you begin to feel that you are not getting as much out of your reading as you ought to, rest for a while. But if there is more work remaining to be done, make the rest period short. It is surprising how quickly you can refresh your mind by turning to something entirely different for a few minutes. It does not take long to get your mind out of a rut, and when you return to the report or book, you will be alert and ready to go at it with a mind refreshed.

What is critical is your reading speed however. If you read too slowly you give your brain the chance to wander on to something more interesting - especially if what you are reading is boring! So learning to read fast with effective levels of concentration and comprehension is a far better use of time than wandering along at a slow reading speed, allowing all sorts of other thoughts to distract you.

If this suggestion does not solve your problem, there is another thing you can do. Form the habit of reading in the same place each time you read. Make this place, wherever it may be, in the office or at the desk in your study, a place for "concentrated" reading. Write your reports and fill out your crossword puzzles somewhere else. After you have tried this for a week or two, you will find that your habits will begin to work for you, which does not mean of course, that they will take over the whole process. There is still the matter of will power.

One of the principal things to remember about concentration is that you yourself must be willing to exercise the self-discipline necessary to control your reading habits. While it is true that a favourable environment is a great help, the main thing is this: condition yourself to read intensively.

Author's Bio: 

David Aylwin is the Founder of Reading Transformations Ltd. For more information, please visit