Here are some tips and tricks I have implemented that allow me to read ANY book in 7 days or less. These tips are for those of us who don’t have hours a day to lounge around and read, but those who lead an active lifestyle.
1. Decide how many pages/chapters you need to read each day This an important first step. Before I begin any book, I make sure I know how many chapters or pages I need to read each day. For example, the book I am reading now has 48 chapters, so I must read 7 chapters a day. This provides daily feedback whether or not I am on track to finish the book on time. If I fall behind a chapter or 2, I can easily add them to the next days reading quota.
2. Read in class If you are in school, don’t be afraid to read in class. We are multitasking beings by nature, and we can’t be expected to focus solely on the instructor to fill our attention. Also, don’t be afraid that you will retain less information, if you multitask effectively, you will be able to retain both the lecture and the reading material
3. Read while eating We eat 3 times a day, usually anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes each meal. While your mouth is chewing, you can take that time to open your book and read. I’ve actually found this has the added benefit of slowing down your eating, which has shown to be effective in digesting food and reducing fat.
4. Don’t re-read, use sticky notes Often, when reading a crutial part of a book, we will re-read it to better understand the authors intentions. Instead of re-reading and wasting that time, put a sticky note in that page and write down a small comment. This way, when your finished with the book, at any time you can come back and re-read the main points. If you don’t have sticky notes around, use a moleskine or similar small notebook and keep a page dedicated to small notes. Write down the page number, and a short comment, and continue reading.
5. Read while carrying out your duty This technique is mainly useful for men. While on the John, it can be useful to use this time and read a couple pages of that book your clamoring to finish. I have found that this time by oneself can be very peaceful and I will retain much of what I have read. If your squeamish about bringing your books in the b-room, either a. clean up, or b. go on to the next tip.
6. Wake up 20 minutes early This one is pretty self explanatory. Wake up 20 minutes early, go get a glass of OJ, and read for those extra minutes. Added up, you’ve just alotted over 2 hours of more reading time over the course of the week. Waking up 20 minutes early is not too overly difficult, and I have found that the mental stimuli early in the morning can give me more energy during the day.
7. Read, don’t watch. This one is powerful if your a T.V. watcher. Everytime you find yourself watching TV, turn it off and read instead. This can be expecially powerful right before bed, when many of us dose off to a turned on tube. Instead, fall asleep with a book in your hands, and you’ll find your sleep more satisfactory as well as knowing your that much closer to finishing that book.
8. Take short breaks to avoid burnout. Have you ever found yourself halfway down a page of a book, and all of a sudden you realize that you haven’t retained the last page at all? This happens because your brain gets tired of reading about once every five minutes. A technique taught to me by a very successful entrepreneur/motivator/lifehacking man is to keep a piece of fruit, like an apple, or a cold drink, next to me while reading, and every 5 minutes take a 15-20 second break by taking a bite of the fruit or a swig from my drink. This has proven wonders for my reading speed and retention. I find myself being able to read for longer periods of time. Instead of getting burned out after half an hour, I can read for 2-3 hours straight.
9. Workout I know this doesn’t seem related to reading, but working out can be a valuable tool in reading speed and retention. Study after study has shown that being healthy and having an active lifestyle will increase your mental capacity. I started working out in the beginning of summer, and since then I have found to have more energy, an ability to focus for longer periods of time, and clearer thought. I also sleep better. And, as a bonus, some workouts can be performed while reading! A stationary bike is perfect for reading, and it really gets your heart rate up and burns fat.
10. When in crunch time, ignore your RSS reader This may seem strange coming from a blog, but at least for me, my RSS reader can soak up much of my time. Instead, turn off that RSS reader and actually VISIT the blogs you like the most. For me, this would include 43folders.com, Signal Vs Noise, DaringFireball.net, Lifehack.org, and Problogger.net.
What are some of the tips and tricks that you use to read faster and more effectively?