How to Read Without Getting Distracted

Welcome book lovers!

If you’d prefer to listen, you can check out the full episode on The Bookmarks ‘n Blankets Podcast on your favorite podcast platform or listen below. 

In our hyper-connected world filled with constant notifications and digital distractions, finding a moment of uninterrupted reading can be a challenge (and if you want to learn how to make more time to read, you can listen to episode 26).

Personally, I have what my husband calls a “squirrel brain.” Sometimes, I can have the HARDEST time staying focused while reading. I’m thinking about this, that, or the other. There are noises going on outside my house (we live in a really noisy neighborhood with lots of kids, dogs barking, cars thumping). Or every two seconds there are some kind of dings or chimes alerting me – email, social media, Slack, text messages, you name it! How in the world am I supposed to get any kind of reading done?!

Well, I did some research and found that reading without getting distracted is not only possible but also deeply rewarding. In this episode, we’ll explore 21 practical strategies to help you unplug, focus, and immerse yourself in the joy of reading without succumbing to distractions.

21 Ways to Unplug and Immerse Yourself in Your Book

1. Set Specific Reading Time – Allocate specific time slots in your daily schedule for reading. This may be during your morning coffee break, before bedtime, or during your commute. Setting aside dedicated reading time will reduce the temptation to engage in other activities during these periods.

2. Establish Reading Rituals – Develop reading rituals that signal your brain that it’s time to disconnect from the outside world and engage in reading. Whether it’s brewing a cup of tea or coffee, dimming the lights, or playing soft instrumental music, consistent rituals help condition your mind for focused reading. (I enjoy putting on ambient YouTube videos with light jazz. My favorites are Jazzy Cafe and Cozy Coffee Shop.)

3. Read First, Work Later – If you have a to-do list, make reading a priority before tackling other tasks. This ensures that you read without the burden of pending responsibilities.

4. Set Clear Reading Goals – Define specific reading goals, such as finishing a certain number of books per month or exploring a particular genre. Having clear objectives can keep you motivated and less likely to veer off track.

5. Establish Reading Rewards – Set up a reward system for yourself based on your reading achievements. Treat yourself to a small reward or a special activity after completing a book or reaching a reading milestone.

6. Silence Your Devices – Silence or put your digital devices on airplane mode while reading. Notifications from emails, social media, or messaging apps can be major distractions. Eliminate the urge to check your devices by ensuring they won’t interrupt your reading sessions.

7. Create a Digital Detox Routine – Designate specific times or days for digital detox, where you refrain from using electronic devices altogether. Use this time to indulge in uninterrupted reading.

8. Practice the 5 More Rule – When you feel the urge to check your phone or engage in a distracting activity, tell yourself to read five more pages before doing so. Often, once you’re engrossed in the book, distractions will lose their appeal.

9. Use Reading Apps with Focus Modes – Some reading apps offer focus modes that minimize distractions by dimming the screen, hiding notifications, and providing a clean, distraction-free interface.

10. Use a Reading Tracker – Keep a reading tracker or log to record your reading progress and accomplishments. Tracking your reading can motivate you to stay focused and committed to completing books. (i.e. – GoodReads, Storygraph, Note apps, spreadsheets, reading journals or bullet journals)

11. Keep a Reading Journal – Maintain a reading journal to jot down any distracting thoughts or tasks that may arise during your reading time. This way, you can address these concerns later without interrupting your reading flow.

12. Limit Reading Sessions – Reading for extended periods can lead to mental fatigue and make you more susceptible to distractions. Instead of marathon reading sessions, aim for shorter, focused bursts of reading, with short breaks in between.

13. Try Reading Sprints – Set a timer for a short reading sprint, such as 10-15 minutes. Challenge yourself to read as much as possible during the sprint without distractions.

14. Practice the Pomodoro Technique – The Pomodoro Technique involves setting a timer for a focused work session, followed by a short break. Apply this technique to your reading sessions, reading for a set time (e.g., 25 minutes) and then taking a brief break before continuing. (Abbie Emmons is a writer and YouTuber that has wonderful immersive musical playlists set to this technique.)

15. Read Aloud – Reading aloud can help you stay actively engaged with the text and prevent your mind from wandering. The act of vocalizing the words can enhance your reading experience and improve concentration.

16. Create a Reading Playlist – Curate a playlist of instrumental music or ambient sounds that aid focus. Listening to calming music can drown out background noise and create a conducive reading atmosphere.

17. Use Physical Books or E-Readers without Internet Connectivity – Consider reading physical books or e-readers that don’t have internet connectivity. By eliminating the temptation to browse the web or check notifications, you can fully immerse yourself in the book.

18. Practice Active Reading – Engage with the text actively by underlining or highlighting important passages, making notes, or jotting down questions that arise while reading. This keeps your mind focused and helps with comprehension.

19. Designate a Distraction-Free Reading Space – Create a dedicated reading space that is free from digital devices and other distractions. Choose a cozy corner with good lighting and minimal interruptions. This designated space will serve as your sanctuary for immersive reading experiences.

20. Practice Visualization Techniques – Before you start reading, visualize the story or concepts you expect to encounter in the book. This primes your mind for focused reading and enhances retention.

21. Practice Mindfulness – Before you start reading, take a few minutes to practice mindfulness. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and center your focus on the present moment. This practice can help clear your mind of distractions and enhance your reading concentration.


Reading without getting distracted is a skill that requires intentional effort and practice. By creating a distraction-free reading environment, setting aside specific reading time, and implementing mindfulness techniques, you can unlock the full potential of your reading experiences. Remember, reading is a journey of self-discovery, and immersing yourself in the world of books can be a deeply enriching and rewarding endeavor. So, unplug, unwind, and let the magic of reading transport you to captivating worlds without any distractions.

Get Cozy with the Podcast

To listen to this podcast episode, head over to The Bookmarks ‘n Blankets Podcast on your favorite podcast platform. You’ll also find full book reviews, reading topics, self-care tips, and a whole lot more.

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Come soak up all the warm, fuzzy feelings! My name is Kelly, and I’m excited to share my thoughts and opinions with you about books, movies, and TV series. I’m also obsessed with all things comfy cozy, self-care, and personal development.

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