T Nation

Very Hard Time Concentrating

I’ve been having a problem for a while now, and it’s pretty hard to get rid of it. I’m required to read a lot all the time for college, and the reading is seriously flat out boring (history of how english came to be in the classrooms and such). I find myself drifting my mind’s thinking to lifting and my nutrition and stuff.

It’s not until like 2 pages later that I realize I haven’t comprehended a single thing I just read, and it’s near impossible to get it back after that. It’s not just boring stuff that I have a hard time focusing on either, it’s just about anything that’s not related to exercise or nutrition. In a way I almost feel bad that I’m not majoring in exercise and nutrition or something, because it seems to be seriously the only two things that I can keep my mind focused on.

Just like today in class we were asking each other what books we enjoyed the most, everyone talking about how many books they loved, and all I could say is that I prefer reading articles to books (hence, articles on this webpage).

THE GOOD NEWS, I do believe someone can change how they think about things and how they enjoy stuff. I want to learn to enjoy reading and learn to KEEP MY FOCUS ON WHAT IT IS I’M DOING AT THE TIME!! It’s so hard for me personally, like even after I take Spike, I am just more focused on thinking about exercise and nutrition.

Anyone else have this problem with keeping focused on the task at hand? I swear if it’s not something involving physical involvement, I am never there mentally.

Dude, it’s just flat out hard to read something you are not interested in. You are into lifting right now and those articles are like gifts from the iron gods that you are more then eager to eat up.

I remember when I first got into lifting I could read Flex, Ironman, Muscle Media, and countless others for hours straight and then ask for a new batch. Good thing we have T-Nation now.

Just try to read in short blocks and focus on taking that block in. Work on strengthening that brain and memory when you are doing your school work.

Good luck,

D

The good news is that I think your attention span is malleable. The bad news is that the best way I’ve found to increase my attention span is turn off the modern media. I’ve lived with and without things like tv and an internet connection, and I’ve found it much easier to focus on reading/work when I haven’t been watching, say, cable tv beforehand.

Obviously I’m living with those modern media right now. It’s very helpful for stress management and is sometimes a lot of fun. But I pay for it when I sit down to read something very hard.

The trick is to learn how to study.

  1. Find a smart hot chick to study with.

  2. Observe how she studies. Look for her method for distilling the important from the useless material (that way you don’t have to read EVERYTHING.)

  3. Take her out on a date.

  4. Nail her.

  5. Watch your grades go up.

I had to read a lot of Psychology stuff in University, which I wasn’t particularly interested in. I found it useful for me to:

  • write down salient points on a notebook after a paragraph or two in the text.

  • read out loud to myself

Hope that helps. Good luck in school.

This will sound asinine, but it works for me. Try reading faster, taking words in chunks, as opposed to individually. Most people read slower than they can, and in so doing leave their minds free to wander. Think of it like driving sixty mph and talking on the phone, drinking coffee, eating a sandwich and focusing on everything but actually driving.

If you’re going ninety you pay more attention. This should actually help your retention by the way. But as was said before, it is always tough to read things that don’t interest you.

adderall, adderall, adderalllllllll

I think you’re just not enough fun. Perhaps you should try to be Reallyfunguy instead of just relativelyfunguy. Or just plain Fungi.

There’s nothing wrong with your ability to concentrate. I had the exact same problem. Sometimes you just have to take your “F” and move on. And, no matter what your major is, they’re still probably going to make you take some courses that don’t interest you all that much. All you can do in those instances is work your way through. Find a way to get motivated and learn enough to bs your way through the course.

DB

Here’s a tip: run your finger under the words as you go along. This is a speed-reading techique, but don’t use it to try to read faster… use it to help focus on the task at hand.

Avoid refined sugar and simple carbs right before studying.

Read actively. Life is not like “The Matrix.” Reading isn’t just a really slow way to upload information directly to your brain. The way we learn is by processing information, consciously paying attention to it… weighing it and judging it against our accumulated experiences and our theories about the world.

After each sentence, you should be asking questions back to the text, or at least engaging it and thinking about what it’s trying to say.

It’s difficult, but you’ll learn a lot more, and you’ll pay attention to boot. It might not help you read any faster… but who cares about reading quickly when you haven’t really thought at all about what you’ve read?

[quote]nephorm wrote:
Here’s a tip: run your finger under the words as you go along. This is a speed-reading techique, but don’t use it to try to read faster… use it to help focus on the task at hand.

Avoid refined sugar and simple carbs right before studying.

Read actively. Life is not like “The Matrix.” Reading isn’t just a really slow way to upload information directly to your brain. The way we learn is by processing information, consciously paying attention to it… weighing it and judging it against our accumulated experiences and our theories about the world.

After each sentence, you should be asking questions back to the text, or at least engaging it and thinking about what it’s trying to say.

It’s difficult, but you’ll learn a lot more, and you’ll pay attention to boot. It might not help you read any faster… but who cares about reading quickly when you haven’t really thought at all about what you’ve read?[/quote]

Just to add to this - its a lot easier if you know what you are reading it for. Not in the sense of to pass a course, but what do you need to gain/learn from this reading;what is the intention behind giving you this to read. Do you have something like a weekly discussion question for seminars? - thinking about this before reading always helped me read a lot quicker and with a lot more focus.

[quote]Rusty Barbell wrote:
adderall, adderall, adderalllllllll[/quote]

I agree. Man wasn’t made to sit around reading even the most brilliant pieces of liturature for hours on end, let alone focusing in on the most boring and inane crap writen for hours on end. It’s time to step up to the big leagues.

[quote]nephorm wrote:

It’s difficult, but you’ll learn a lot more, and you’ll pay attention to boot. It might not help you read any faster… but who cares about reading quickly when you haven’t really thought at all about what you’ve read?[/quote]

Reminds of the comment by Woody Allen “I took a speed reading course. Then I read War and Peace. It was about Russia”.

Squat and drink milk.

I’m sorry. Its late.

Yeah im going through something similar right now… I’m having a hard time focusing on anything not related to woman.

I had this problem all through first year. Not anymore, what worked for me was that not only did I choose more interesting courses, but I realised that I had a defined reason for studying and doing my work.

Once I realised how important school was for my future I realised that lifting and nutrition come way after school, religion, family etc.

But its all good… by then I had learnt enough about them and made them a priority in my life anyway. :D.

But no really… I know this sounds cliched, but realise your future goals, your reasons for achieving them, realise how important school is to obtain them, change courses/programs if you have to, and hopefully then you’ll have a laser focus on your work.

[quote]Shoebolt wrote:
I had this problem all through first year. Not anymore, what worked for me was that not only did I choose more interesting courses, but I realised that I had a defined reason for studying and doing my work.

Once I realised how important school was for my future I realised that lifting and nutrition come way after school, religion, family etc.

But its all good… by then I had learnt enough about them and made them a priority in my life anyway. :D.

But no really… I know this sounds cliched, but realise your future goals, your reasons for achieving them, realise how important school is to obtain them, change courses/programs if you have to, and hopefully then you’ll have a laser focus on your work.[/quote]

that sounds pretty awesome. however, i can’t think of anything that would truly intrigue me to work my butt off for. i know i’ve had and still do have some pretty big depression issues that are not resolved and have never talked to anyone about them, cuz i don’t feel like it’d help. i just have a hard time recalling any information about this stuff that is boring as all get out, and seriously not necessary to my major at all, even though it’s a class required for my major (and i’m in my junior year).

Get more sleep and eat a lot of fish.

Use a highlighter and after reading each paragraph highlight a couple of phrases that cover the main point of that paragraph. That forces you to think about each paragraph as you read it and it is useful later for cramming for a test, all you have to do is re-read the highlighted phrases.