Learning to tune out distractions can be a tough lesson for many people when they learn how to speed read. You might think that because you have always done it successfully, reading with music in the background, or with the television on, or in a crowded coffeehouse works just fine for you. But the reality is you will read faster and likely comprehend more if you learn to read without distraction.
It’s actually important for people to learn how to read without distraction whether they are speed reading or not. But if you are working on developing some solid speed reading techniques, learning how to tune out distractions or create a distraction-free zone might be essential to you being able to substantially increase your reading speed.
When you are speed reading, or using speed reading techniques, find a quiet place in which to do it. That means you must turn off the radio, the television, and your iPod. If you are in a coffeehouse, for example, you might choose to not employ speed reading techniques there because the noises and movements around you might distract you even if you believe they won’t.
Once you have created a quiet environment, learn to turn off any voices in your head. When you’re speed reading, the focus should be on the material and nothing else. If you find you have a hard time focusing for long periods of time, you can speed read small blocks of text at a time, comprehend what you have read, perhaps take notes on it, and then move on.
If you’re a student, it can be hard to tune out distractions. It might be nearly impossible, in fact, to find a quiet place on campus at which you can employ your speed reading — and therefore speed studying — techniques. Our advice to you is to use ear plugs in order to muffle the sounds around you or perhaps even do away with them. If you bow your head and focus on the reading material, and use earplugs to drown out any noises, you’re sure to create this distraction-free zone that we’re talking about.
Here are some techniques to help you begin speed reading without distraction:
- When you sit down to speed read, pay attention to what’s going on around you. If you’re alone and the television is on, turn it off. If you have the radio on, turn it off. Sometimes we get so used to having noises around us that we don’t even hear them anymore, so tune in to what’s going on in your house or in the environment that you’re in and try to do away with all noises.
- As you begin speed reading, focus solely on what you’re doing. Don’t worry about the test you have tomorrow, or the meeting that is making your heart pound; instead, focus only on the material that you’re reading. Employ the speed reading techniques you have learned, and if you focus solely on those techniques it will be easy to tune out everything else.