ways to focus on reading
I suppose you mean kind of scientific article since you mention numbers, charts, headings, etc. Or at least follow the same structure.
I used to had the same problem when I was reading a significant amount of them for my thesis.
The problem here is (correct me if I'm wrong) [description of my experience]:
- Grab the article, you pay attention to the title.
- Try to understand what is the main goal of the article for the next 45'
- Try to read but it is boring and they go around for some time.
- Keep reading in diagonal until founding something interesting, like a chart, then your mind flew away.
What I 'd done:
- I know the amount of reading for deep understanding is about 3x times.
- Main problem: distraction. Resolution? Work on the top of distraction.
- Since distraction happens when lack of focus mainly due to irrelevance work on relevant areas first. So it will look like this:
First attempt, read introduction and goal itself, look over conclusions. Anything relevant? Second attempt, make sense of the formulas, charts, etc in the article and relate with the conclusions and goal. Does they achieve the goal? Anything remarkable? Third attempt, cut the methodology and results, without charts, and paste them into a word file. Print it out and read for errors in methodology, which will make you be more attendant.
Look ugly and exhausting, right?
So, due to the amount of material I synthesized into an easier pattern. Since much articles aren't well designed methodologically I start by reading goal and conclusions (read in diagonal) and face what they found with the used methodology. Is the methodology ok? Keep working on the article ( I've found that 1'5x reading times are enough, and the half means working on single individual parts). Is the methodology wrong? Well, since its basement is wrong, why I would rather keep reading?
P.d. Any time technique like Pomodoro's will work with any task because is a time management technique. But that thing won't solve your problem.
P.d.d. Anything related to your environment like quietness, be conscious, etc. They are actually the prerequisites, nothing else. If they lack, it's highly probably your reading fails.