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Last Updated on November 5, 2019

How to Read Faster: 8 Simple Tricks to Triple Your Speed

How to Read Faster: 8 Simple Tricks to Triple Your Speed

You probably don’t remember learning to read as a child. But the way we were taught to read when we were in our infant years has little relevance to how we should read as an adult.

Whereas the slow methodical method may work for youngsters who are grappling with the basics of words and sentence structure, adults who often need to process a lot of information in a short time need a completely different method of reading.

Learning to read faster is one of the best skills to develop as an adult, saving you time as you study, research and sort through your inbox. Read on for some great tips on how to read faster.

1. Learn How to Scan

The most important skill you need to develop if you want to read faster is scanning. Many adults find scanning difficult because it feels counter-intuitive. After all, when we were taught to read, we were taught to pay attention to every word in a sentence. However, much of this is unnecessary, because research shows that our adult minds have an amazing ability to fill in information gaps.[1]

For example, look at the following piece of text and focus on only the highlighted words:

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After this experience she decided that she would never again date men from Mediterranean backgrounds, no matter how great they looked or their accents sounded. It simply wasn’t worth the pain.’

When you focus on only the highlighted words, you can save yourself the effort of processing every word, allowing your brain to fill in the missing information.

2. Only Read the First and Last Sentence of Each Paragraph

According to Abby Marks Beale, America’s #1 Speed Reading Expert, people who write to convey information generally follow a fairly tried-and-true formula. That is, to start each paragraph with a topic sentence that introduces the paragraph and gives an idea of where that paragraph is headed.

As paragraphs in publications like science and academic journals can contain a lot of information, you’re wasting your time reading all of it if you are already familiar with the topic.

Next time you’re faced with a daunting text, try reading the first and last sentence in each paragraph. Chances are you won’t miss much.

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3. Turn off the Voice in Your Head

Another habit we picked up when learning to read in grade school is to sound out words, often from reading aloud. Even as adults, most of us retain this habit to some extent, as over the years, we have become so used to “hearing” the word in our minds.

The problem with this is that it takes up unnecessary time because we can understand a word more quickly than we can say it.

One way to eliminate the voice is to read blocks of words (as mentioned in point 1) as it’s much harder to vocalize sets of words than single words.

Simply eliminating this voice can drastically increase your ability to read faster. However, this techniques does tend to reduce your enjoyment of a well-written text, so you can turn it back on for your favorite crime novelist or poet.

4. Use a Pointer

Often when we read, we tend to ‘regress’ or go over and read the same material again. This is usually due to poor concentration and results in losing the flow of what your are reading. This is a waste of time, especially when the information you’re re-reading isn’t really necessary.

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But you can cut down on regression by using a pen as a pointer. Train your eyes to follow the pointer and this will help you to avoid skipping back.

5. Use ‘Soft Eyes’

According to experts at Mind Tools, inefficient readers tend to focus on each word, working across each line.[2] This is inefficient because your eye can actually take in about 1.5 inches at a glance, which includes five words.

You can also engage your peripheral vision to expand your gaze and take in even more words. You can achieve this by relaxing your facial muscles when reading and allowing your eyes to soften.

6. Ask Yourself Questions About the Text Before You Read

This technique is used by teachers to improve reading comprehension. But it’s also a good way to help you read faster.

If you have some idea about what useful information can be taken from the text, make yourself a set of questions and then read quickly to find the answers. This will definitely save you time spent on looking through useless information.

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7. Don’t Multitask While Reading

One of the worst reading habits is reading while watching TV, listening to the radio or even allowing mental interference to distract you from what you are reading. Think you can multitask? Think again.

If you want to read faster, you MUST cut out the distractions and focus solely on the task.

8. Try Speed Reading Apps

Many speed-reading techniques can be done manually. However, there is always the temptation to fall back into old habits.

If you are serious about learning to read faster, you may want to check out apps like Outread which guides your eyes through a reading list with the help of a highlighting marker.

You can also try software like Spreeder, a free speed reading training course designed to improve reading speed and comprehension. It uses methods like ‘pointing’ but does it electronically, and is a great way to increase your reading speed.

Living in the information age, we are often bombarded with information and we simply don’t have time to process. But if you take these suggestions on board and practice them regularly, you’ll learn to read faster and cut down on the amount of time you waste on information overload in no time.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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Linda Paull

Linda is a passionate writer who shares lifestyle tips at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on March 31, 2020

How To Break the Procrastination Cycle

How To Break the Procrastination Cycle

How often do you find yourself procrastinating? Do you wish you could procrastinate less? We all know how debilitating procrastination can make us feel, and it seems to be a challenge we all share. Procrastination is one of the biggest hindrances to moving forward and doing the things that we want to in life.

There are many reasons why you might be procrastinating, and sometimes, it is really difficult to pinpoint why. You might be procrastinating because of something related to the past, present, or future (they are all intertwined), or it could be as simple as biological factors. Whatever the reason, most of us follow a cycle when we procrastinate, from the moment we decide to do something to actually getting it done, or in this case, not getting it done.

The Vicious Procrastination Cycle

For some reason, it helps to understand that we all go through the same thing, even though we often feel like the only person in the world who struggles with this. Do you resonate with the cycle below?

1. Feeling Eager and Energized

This is when you commit to taking a new action or getting something done. You are feeling confident and optimistic that, this time round, you will do it!

2. Apprehension Starts to Come Up

The beginning stages of optimism are starting to fade. There is still time, but you haven’t done anything yet, and you start to feel uneasy. You realize that you actually have to do something to get it done, and that good intentions are not enough.

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3. Still No Action

More time has passed. You still haven’t taken any action and probably have a lot of excuses why. You start to panic a little and wish you had started sooner. Your panic starts to turn into frustration and perhaps even irritability.

4. Flicker of Hope Left

You can still make it; there is a little time left and you ponder how you are going to get it done. The rush you get from leaving your task until the last minute gives you a flicker of hope. There is still time; you can do this!

5. Fading Quickly

Your hope starts to quickly fade as you try desperately to understand why you just can’t do this. You may feel desperate and have thoughts like, “What is wrong with me?” and “Why do I ALWAYS do this?” You feel discouraged, or perhaps angry and resentful at yourself.

6. Vow to Yourself

Once the feeling of anger or disappointment disappears, you most likely swear to yourself that this will never happen again; that this was the last time and next time will be different.

Does this sound like you? Is the next time different? I understand the devastating effect that procrastination has on many lives, and for some, it is a really serious problem. You also have, on the other hand, those who procrastinate but it doesn’t affect them in any way. You know whether it is affecting you or not and whether it undermines your results.

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How to Break the Procrastination Cycle

Unless you break the cycle, you will keep reinforcing it!

To break the cycle, you need to change the sequence of events. Here is my suggestion on how you can effectively break the vicious cycle you are in!

1. Feeling Eager and Energized

This is when you commit to taking a new action or getting something done. You are feeling confident and optimistic that, this time round, you will do it! The first stage is always the same.

2. Plan

Thinking alone will not help; you need to plan your actions. I always put my deadlines one or two days in advance because you know Murphy’s Law! Take into consideration everything that you need to do, how long it will take you, and what you will need to get it done, then plan the individual steps.

3. Resistance

Just because you planned doesn’t mean that this time is guaranteed to be different. You will most likely still feel the resistance so expect this. This stage is key to identifying why you are procrastinating, so when you feel the resistance, try to identify it immediately.

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What is causing you to hesitate in this moment? What do you feel?  Write them down if it helps.

4. Confront Those Feelings

Once you have identified what could possibly be holding you back, for example, fear of failure, lack of motivation, etc. You need to work on lessening the resistance.

Ask yourself, “What do I need to do to move forward? What would make it easier?” If you find that you fear something, overcoming that fear is not something that will happen overnight — keep this in mind.

5. Put Results Before Comfort

You need to keep moving forward and put results before comfort. Take action, even if it is only for 10 minutes. The key is to break the cycle and not reinforce it. You have more control that you think.

6. Repeat

Repeat steps 3-5 until you achieve what you first set out to do.

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Final Thoughts

Change doesn’t happen overnight, and if you have some deeper underlying reasons why you procrastinate, it may take longer to finally break the cycle.

If procrastination is holding you back in life, it is better to deal with it now than to deal with the negative consequences later on. It is not a question of comfort anymore; it is a question of results. What is more important to you?

Learn more about how to stop procrastinating here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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