There are quite a few advertisements for The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course floating around the web now, and they all lead off with pretty much the same message: “If you can spell, have a reasonable grasp of grammar and can concentrate for prolonged periods, you may have what it takes to be a proof reader.”
Now, The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course is true to its title: no nonsense. It tells you everything you need to know to become an effective proof reader and how to go about setting up your proofreading business. It doesn’t go off on any tangents. So, it doesn’t cover the third component covered in our various advertisements: concentration.
Luckily we have this website and, more particularly, this regularly-updated blog. Here we can go off on any tangent we please without adversely affecting the no-nonsense philosophy of the course itself. Which is a slightly tortuous way of telling you that today’s blog post is all about concentration.
Here are five tips to help you stay on the ball.
1. Stay hydrated. It is a fact that dehydration reduces our ability to concentrate. Keep a bottle of water on hand, drinking from it little and often.
2. Reduce the amount of sugar in your diet. Although the links between sugar and conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are tenuous, it is a fact that refined sugar products produce a rapid and heightened energy boost. You simply don’t require that kind of fidget-inducing fuel when you’re chained to a desk for a couple of hours trying to stay focused. Energy you need, yes, but something that creates more of ‘steady as she goes’ effect. Think raisins, an apple or fruit juice (hydration and energy).
3. Get plenty of sleep. Studies show that lack of sleep dramatically reduces our ability to concentrate, so try to get at least six hours, but preferably seven or eight.
4. Stretch your legs. Exercise clears the mind and shakes off the sluggishness that can creep into your muscles (not to mention your very soul) when you spend long periods of time at a desk. Make sure you take at least half an hour of exercise each day, preferably somewhere around the midpoint of your working day. A brisk walk ought to do it.
5. Stimulate your brain. Your mind is like a muscle and lack of use can cause it to atrophy. As a full-time proof reader, your mind is going to receive regular and vigorous workouts. Unfortunately, those workouts are all going to be similar and somewhat repetitive, and the mind, like any muscle, needs a variety of workouts if it is going to stay in peak condition. Crosswords, lateral thinking puzzles and even maths-orientated problems will help your brain ‘go for the burn’. You’ll find a regularly updated crossword on our Fun page.
Now, I think I need to stretch my legs...
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Teresa Richardson, Proofreader.
“As someone who has effectively been proofreading for thirty years, I found Mike’s No-Nonsense Proofreading Course an invaluable introduction and a very useful practical guide to many aspects of this discipline. I can wholeheartedly recommend it as the ideal starting point, and much more besides.”
Jeremy Meehan, Proofreader.
My name's Mike Sellars and I'm an experienced proofreader and the author of The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course. Click here to find out more about me.
The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course
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“As someone who has been proofreading for 30 years, I found Mike’s course an invaluable introduction and a very useful practical guide to many aspects of the discipline. I can wholeheartedly recommend it.” Jeremy Meehan, Proofreader.
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