Advertising

Reading 200 Books a Year Is Possible If You Master These Two Skills

Reading 200 Books a Year Is Possible If You Master These Two Skills
Advertising

Some of the most influential people in the world have said that reading is the key to knowledge, expanding your mind and understanding and gaining true success. But as an average Joe, how many books can we conceivably read? You might get through a few books a year if your attention span lasts that long, or more if you’re really an avid reader.

But what if I told you that it’s possible to read 200 books a year? And in doing so opening your mind and creating a better path to success?

Why Do We Find it So Hard to Read Quickly?

So now you’re probably thinking 200 books a year is a ridiculous feat and in no way, shape or form do you have that kind of time!

Advertising

According to the maths, it will take 417 hours to read 200 books when reading at 400 wpm [1]. If you think you don’t have 417 hours to spare then consider that the average person spends 2250 hours a year watching TV and checking social media combined. So when you think of it like that, you realize a bit of prioritizing can make it possible.

But reading at 400 wpm is a considerable speed and many of us aren’t used to reading at that kind of pace. When it comes to reading for pleasure, taking your time can be relaxing but if you’re wanting to read for self-growth and expanding your mind, the more books the better.

So why do we find it hard to speed read? The answer is most likely because we unconsciously use vocalisation while we read which will slow down our speed to about 200 wpm. And our fear of missing out makes us read everything which doesn’t benefit us much actually.

Advertising

Stop Vocalisation: Just Read with Your Eyes

Why do we vocalize? When we learn to read we are taught to read out loud and this habit stays with us although we internalize the narration instead. In other words, we imagine speaking the words.

This means our talking speed is also our reading speed so how can we stop this habit?

It’s all about understanding that the words aren’t important but rather the ideas, concepts and information behind them. We do actually do this for a number of words, for example when we see the date 1981 we may not vocalize the words nineteen-eighty-one in our head but by just looking at the year we understand its concept.

Advertising

There are several ways to minimise vocalization:

  • Force Yourself to Read Faster. When you speed up your reading you naturally take in the concepts behind the words rather than thinking about every word. With a bit of practice your brain can eliminate the need to vocalize the words and you gradually get better at it.
  • Guide Your Eyes With Your Fingers. It seems like a child-like thing to do but guiding your eyes through each sentence with your fingers is a good speed-reading technique. It minimizes vocalization and allows you to focus on groups of words rather than individual ones. It stops you from fixating and naturally speeds you up.
  • Listen to Music. This only works if you listen to neutral music that doesn’t elicit memories or has a strong beat. Listening to music while you read helps you concentrate and eliminates the habit of vocalization.

Overcome the Fear of Missing out and You’ll Gain More

Another habit that slows down our reading is the concept of missing out. Our brain tends to believe that if we don’t read every word then we may miss out on understanding an important part of the chapter or story. However, this is rarely the case.

The importance is more in understanding the concept and we can do this without absorbing every word and sentence. Of course, this mainly applies to a book where we’re obtaining information.

Advertising

  • Get Over the Fear. It really is about getting over the fear that not taking in every word is going to hinder your understanding. Let go of this need.
  • It’s About Getting The Main Concept. If you believe you’ve understood the main concept without reading every word or every chapter then you probably have. Trust yourself more and remember that you can always go back later on.

Speeding up our reading doesn’t have to mean cutting down on the quality of our reading. Understanding these two key skills will help you towards reading much quicker and therefore exposing yourself to more information. Reading 200 books a year is possible so why not try it out and challenge yourself? Try these techniques and get speed reading.

Reference

More by this author

Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

How to Celebrate Small Wins to Achieve Big Goals Success In Reaching Goals Is Determined By Mindset How To Overcome Self Imposed Limitations For Goal Setting To Reach Your Goals, Start With Planning For The Worst Why Setting Intrinsic Goals Can Make You Happier

Trending in Productivity

1 7 Effective Ways To Motivate Employees in 2021 2 How a Project Management Mindset Boosts Your Productivity 3 5 Values of an Effective Leader 4 How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them 5 The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
Advertising

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

Advertising

From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

Advertising

The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

Advertising

But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

Advertising

Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Advertising

Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

Read Next