focused reading

Five Days of Focused Reading

I’ll be the first to admit that I consume a pretty massive amount of media, often in forms that I actively seek out. My days are basically a start to finish smash of articles and interviews and forums and opinions and ideas; from breakfast news time to walking with a podcast in my ears, I keep it pretty constant. And, most of the time, that’s exactly what I want.

focused reading

But life as an information sponge has been tough lately. The news has been particularly difficult to bear, seemingly relentless, and I’ve found it harder and harder to pull myself away. Where I used to carve out time for reading, I’ve found myself trapped in the daily train wreck.

I have no desire to tune things out completely, but late last week I decided I needed to force myself away from the noise for at least a short time each day. I dusted off the Forest app and set a goal of reading for 60 uninterrupted minutes each day. I know! Reading for an hour isn’t something I generally have to push myself to do, but I’ve been swept up, I’m telling you. So, in twenty minute increments, I read while Forest kept track of time and shamed me if I tried to use my phone.

And it worked. Imagine that. I finished four books in five days, which is nearly what I read all last month, and I just feel better. I know that turning off the TV and eliminating distractions mean more reading, but it’s been so easy to justify trying to keep up that I lost all track of time. Now I’m aiming to extend my five days of focus into a regular act of reading (with a little help from virtual trees).

Have you found it difficult to sink into reading lately or is it easier to escape?