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7 Tricks To Succeed In Speed Reading

7 Tricks To Succeed In Speed Reading

Being able to read faster gives you two benefits. You can get more reading done in the same amount of time. Or, you could read the same amount, but quicker, allowing yourself more time to do other things.

Speed reading is a skill that anyone can learn. There is a set of techniques that you must master if you want to be able to read at a lightening fast pace. I will show you some in a moment. First you must appreciate this.

With speed reading there is a trade-off.

Speed Vs. Comprehension

The faster you read, the lower your levels of comprehension. A big part of the skill of speed reading is identifying the parts of a text that can be skimmed, and the parts that should be read more carefully. This comes with experience and practice.

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Here are some general rules of thumb as to what parts of a text you should focus on most:

  • First paragraph

Read the first paragraph carefully as it sets you up for what it’s about. The introductory paragraph should give you clues about the content of the whole text. This can help you decide what to read more carefully, and what to skim. It also gives you a good understanding of what you are reading about.

  • First sentence of each paragraph

Read the first sentence of each paragraph more carefully. This is likely to explain what the paragraph is about. This can help you decide what focus you need to give to the rest of the paragraph. Sometimes you don’t even need to read the rest of the paragraph if the first sentence explains it all.

  • Last paragraph

The last paragraph or conclusion is always worth focussing on. It often rounds up the whole article so a lot can be gained from it. If you don’t understand the final paragraph, then you probably haven’t understood the article.

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Knowing where to focus will help you read in a much more efficient and quicker way. Now here’s the speed part. Here are some tips to help you read faster…

1. Don’t Read to Yourself

Most people vocalise in their heads what they read. This slows you down. Be conscious of this, and stop yourself whenever you notice yourself doing it. Eventually you will break this habit and you reading pace will rocket.

2. Read Blocks of Words

To speed read, you must learn to read blocks of words, rather than individual words. Practice reading 3 or 4 words at a time, and gradually increase this. Hold the page further away than normal so you can see more in one go.

3. Don’t Re-Read

Most people are in the habit of re reading bits of text to make sure they understood it. Often they did understand it, but habitually do this any way. This is a waste of time. Be mindful of not re-reading and you will begin to drop this bad habit.

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4. Guide Your Eyes

Many speed readers use their hand or a card to scroll down the page. This helps guide your eyes and keep you focussed.

You can also use a cover to push yourself. Move the cover down the page a little quicker each time. This forces you to increase the rate you’re capable of reading at.

5. Create the Right Environment

The room should be well lit so that you can see well. Natural light is better for most people than artificial lighting.

A quiet and relaxing place is also best for helping you concentrate. You have to be laser focused when speed reading.

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6. Take Regular Breaks

Speed reading requires high levels of concentration. You cannot keep this up for longer than 20-30 minutes. Take plenty of breaks to refresh your mind so that you can concentrate enough to read at a lightening pace.

7. Practice

Practice daily and push yourself. Getting stronger in a gym means attempting to lift weights you can’t quite lift. The same is true with speed reading. Try and read slightly faster than your current comfort levels and your mind will adapt to handle this.

A great tactic when practising is to read text that you have read before. This makes it easier to read quickly whilst still being able to understand it.

Final Thoughts

Like any skill, speed reading requires practice and persistence. How fast you become is down to how far you want to take it. If you’re happy to double or triple your current reading speed, then you should be able to achieve this quickly. If you wish to read at a turbo-pace, then you will have to practice hard for a lot longer.

How fast do you want to be able to read?

Featured photo credit: Reading by Rik Lomas via flickr.com

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Jake Rhodes

Jake is an entrepreneur and self-improvement enthusiast.

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Last Updated on November 15, 2019

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems, why?

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

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The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

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The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

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It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

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For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

More About Changing Habits

Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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