It’s never a good sign when I’m so distractable. Last night I sat down to do reading, I ended up organizing binders of my readings and notes from the past two years. Today, I’ve organized the files of readings from the past two years, as well as killing time online. I just got off of Facebook because I realized I didn’t know why I was still on there. And I’m writing this.

Even with my wonderful tea (gets distracted again)…I cannot focus on these readings. It happened last week. It’s happening again this week. I keep trying to get my readings done before Tuesday so I can sit down and have time to write my response paper and make sure it is good and makes sense. Instead I end up rushing to get them read and throw together a paper to get in just before the deadline. I’ve found some summaries of a few of the readings. I’m hoping they’ll give me enough information that I can get everything else read and get a good paper written.

I’m starting to worry about this. I don’t know if my attention issues are getting worse or I’m noticing them more now that I have more work and really want to get good grades. I have gone this far without seeking medical intervention, but I may have to if I want to get through the rest of my life. Spending hours at a time watching television when there is so much that needs to be done is not a good way to go through life. I know that you need to take a break from things and take care of yourself, but I feel like I’m taking a break from that to actually do things instead of the other way around. Grrrr.

Re-learning how to read

As a graduate student, and an academic, I have to do a lot of reading. Reading for the classes I take. Reading what I assign to my students. Reading for my thesis. Reading for papers. But it wasn’t until recently that I figured out I’ve been taking the wrong approach to reading.

Let me take a moment to say this: do whatever works for you. This is simply how it is working for me right now. Everyone learns in their own way. But if you don’t know how other people learn, you don’t know what options you have.

Recently, I can’t remember where, someone said that you need to read things twice. First, just read through it. Don’t pause to take notes or tag or underline. Just read through it. Then go back and read it again. This is when you pause to jot down thoughts, make note of a page, etc.

It is working for me. I feel like trying to read through and take notes at the same time wasn’t the most effective way, but I didn’t think there was another way of doing it. I feel like I’d be on a roll and that pause would completely throw me off. Sometimes I would even put the book down.

But last night I read about the last 1/3 of Uncanny X-Men: The Complete Collection by Matt Fraction Vol. 1 and all of Vol.2 in this way. I simply read. To give some perspective, these trade paperbacks are around 300 pages each. But now I feel like I can go back and read them again and be able to take better notes for my thesis. It also allowed my brain to process the story in a way that gave me a new perspective on something for my thesis.

Hopefully this weekend I’ll be doing that with my reading for class on Tuesday. I think this is going to help me with the mountain of reading I have every week. And it might free up time for me to get writing, too.