While some entrepreneurs can read up to one book per day, most of us barely finish one per month. Lacking time or motivation, whatever the reason. By not reading we are missing an opportunity to growth. So how can you read faster?
Here is a quick speed reading test to know how fast you read.
The average reader reads 200-250 words per minute. But you don’t want to stay average right?
Before focusing on speed reading, it could be useful to gain some focus and motivation. Here are some starting points for that:
WHAT IS SPEED-READING?
Speed-reading is simply the act of reading the most words within the shortest possible time. You can also be call it flash-reading if you want. As simple as this sounds, it can be an arduous task for some persons. Speed-reading can be done in several ways among which are;
• Survey reading This is done in to get an overall impression about what the essay contains. It involves speed-reading through a vast number of words in an essay/article to get the central idea.
• Skimming This involves, this involves locating a particular information from a mass of other information.
• Scanning This is usually done when a reader has to look for a particular item in a list of items. For example, looking for your name amongs other names in the same list. During this process, other names become irrelevant until till the reader gets the particular name being sought after.
The act of speed-reading comes naturally to some persons but for others it has to be learned. Below are some tactics for speed-reading;
Is speed-reading really efficient?
Speed reading practices are controversial in the entrepreneur world. Some refuse to do it because they think it reduce the assimilation of the information, others because they like spending time reading.
For this reason this article will not be only about speed reading, but about many other hacks you can use to read more in less time.
While there is no absolute truth, it’s on you to test them and see if it works for you. Building an adapted reading flow is what will make you succeed.
HOW FAST DO YOU READ?
KNOW YOUR READING METRICS
How much do you read? What is your speed of reading?
Knowing those metrics are important to improve yourself, because you can tell if you are getting better or not with quantifiable data (number of words per minute for example).
SETTING GOALS AND ENGAGE YOURSELF
Setting goals is also a great tactic for improving your reading speed. When you set goals and try to meet up within the allocated time, you naturally tend to read faster than you would if you did not set any. It may also include having a preset number of hours. How much do you want to learn about a certain topic? How much knowledge do you want to acquired before the end of the week / month / year?
Set long term goals, write them down and post them somewhere in your place. Speak about it to your friends, coworkers and family so you feel a social pressure to succeed.
At a short term level you can also set goals. For example, if you usually read 10 pages in 15 minutes, put a timer and try to read 10 pages in 12 minutes. And so on. Stop to use the timer once you feel you are loosing too much sense of what you are reading.
Once you get your goals, divide them in small pieces and put them in a repetitive planning. The point is to create an habit so it becomes automatic and you don’t feel resistance to start reading. Make sure it’s quantifiable.
“EVERY [MOMENT], I WILL READ [QUANTITY OF TIME OR PAGES]”
FOR EXAMPLE: “EVERY MORNING WHEN I WAKE UP I WILL READ 15 PAGES”
DISTRACTIONS KILL YOUR READING FLOW
In attempting to speed-read, it is important to avoid distractions. You can try activating the airplane mode in your mobile phone if you are not making use of the internet. Concentrating solely on the article/essay, is a good strategy for speed-reading. This is perhaps the most relevant tactic. In keeping mind free of distraction, you get to retain more of what you have read.
How to build the perfect reading environment? Download the free ebook “The Success Setup: Mindsets and Workflows for Motivation & Productivity”.
BEFORE READING: THE READER MINDSET
PREPARE YOUR MIND TO THE BOOK TOPIC
Having an idea on what you want from an essay is a good method for speed reading. This will enable you narrow down the essay/article in order to suit your needs. Take for example when scanning through a list of names in order to find yours, you can easily detect your name because you already know what you want.
Getting an overview of the essay is a good method to read faster. This enables you pick up the main ideas in the passage. This helps you familiarize yourself wit the passage. After getting a general overview, you will be able to skip irrelevant words and improving reading speed.
To achieve this for a book, read the summarize or watch a YouTube video explaining what the book treats about. This was you have the building blocks of the information. And you can skip some examples and even part of the book once you feel you understand enough each block.
GET YOURSELF PSYCHOLOGICALLY PREPARED TO READ FAST
You just finished to read 3 pages and realize that you don’t remember anything about them because you were thinking to something else. Wondering is a productivity killer when it comes to reading.
You will not achieve much if your mind is in shambles. Getting yourself mentally prepared also helps in improving your reading speed. So when next you want to speed read, get yourself mentally prepared.
To solve that, take a piece of paper and write down everything you have on your mind.
Do a quick meditation session to empty your mind.
DURING READING: HABITS TO READ FASTER
TRAIN YOUR EYES TO GO THROUGH WORDS QUICKLY
The speed with which your eyes can go through words affects the level of your speed-reading. Training your eyes to go through words faster with accuracy will help improve your speed-reading. This tactic has been proven to work for many. The jumps which the eyes make during reading is called saccades. This usually starts from the left part of the page to the right side. Training your eyes to go through words faster means improving your saccadic movements.
It has been said that ‘practice makes perfect’. In your quest to improve your reading speed, it is important that you keep practicing. Try speed reading daily. This will help in training your eyes and sharpen your mind.
Another strategy will be reading in silence. Reading words out aloud can significantly slow down your ability to read faster and also affect your comprehension. There is only so much you can say at a time. In your attempt to improve your reading pace, read the words silently in your mind. This way you will not be limited by your vocal chords. Silent reading will enable you go through words faster than you would have done were you to be reading aloud.
Another important strategy for speed-reading is to make short notes. This can help you speed-read. In making notes, you get to write down the most important points.
This will help you in reading the most words in the least possible time because you don’t lost too much time trying to remember previous concepts, having a look to your notes can speed up assimilation and enhance memory.
DURING READING: 3 SPEED READING METHODS
There are 3 main scanning methods to read faster.
– Scan the beginning and the end of every line and barely read the middle
– Read the first and the last sentence of a paragraph (as they contain the most important information) and barely read the text between them.
– Scan the full page. To achieve this you look for group of words, key sentences or anything you feel is important. You then stop on those important spot and read them more carefully.
THE POINTER METHOD
You follow the text with a pen. This forced you to not come back, and train your eyes to accelerate (you accelerate the pen moving so eyes have a mark to follow).
HOW TO READ FASTER: TAKE AWAY
Speed-reading can be done by anyone who is determined to do it. In addition to the tactics for speed reading mentioned earlier, it is important that you understand yourself and find the tactic that works best for you. It is also important to improve your memory by playing IQ games, eating foods that have good benefits to the brain, and knowing your limits. This will help you retain more of what you have read.