Advertising
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

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

Freelance Writer

How to Save a Bunch of Money Easily With This Simple Challenge Success In Reaching Goals Is Determined By Mindset 11 Killer Ways To Get Rid Of Roaches Without Harming You If You Understand These 5 Rules In Psychology, You Can Live A Much Easier Life How To Get Over Someone You Deeply Love

Trending in Productivity

1 16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed 2 9 Types of Motivation That Make It Possible to Reach Your Dreams 3 How to Break a Bad Habit and Retrain Your Brain 4 How to Overcome Your Irrational Fears (That Stop You from Succeeding) 5 10 Practical Ways to Drastically Improve Your Time Management Skills

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on October 16, 2018

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

How about a unique spin on things?

These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives.

Learn from these highly successful people’s personal development skills, turn these skills into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

1. Empty your mind

It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

How to Increase Brain Power, Boost Memory and Become 10X Smarter

2. Keep certain days clear

Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

Advertising

This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

3. Prioritize your work

Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

4. Chop up your time

Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

5. Have a thinking position

Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

6. Pick three to five things you must do that day

To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

Advertising

7. Don’t try to do too much

OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew.

Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

8. Have a daily action plan

Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

9. Do your most dreaded project first

Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else.

This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule”

The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then.

Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

11. Have a place devoted to work

If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

Advertising

Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

12. Find your golden hour

You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

13. Pretend you’re on an airplane

It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

If you find yourself easily distracted and can’t focus, this method will help you overcome distractions.

Advertising

14. Never stop

Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

15. Be in tune with your body

Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it.

Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

16. Try different methods

Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Read Next