Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on April 21, 2020

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:

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

More by this author

Linda Paull

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

How to Read Faster: 8 Simple Tricks to Triple Your Speed 5 Questions To Ask Yourself If You Want To Be An Entrepreneur Nine Easy Home Remedies For Constipation Do Wealthy People Really Have ‘Rich Genes’?

Trending in Productivity

1 How Does Setting Goals Lead to Success? 2 9 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track in 2020 3 Your Night Routine Guide to Sleeping Better & Waking Up Productive 4 6 Things To Do Every Day To Ensure You Stick To Your Goals 5 Less Thinking, More Doing: Develop the Action Habit Today

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on June 29, 2020

How Does Setting Goals Lead to Success?

How Does Setting Goals Lead to Success?

As well as being the founder of Lifehack, I also help people on a one-to-one basis through life coaching.

I’ve been doing this for more than 10 years now and have helped hundreds of clients reevaluate their lives and turn inertia into progress and failure into success.

A common theme I’ve noticed with many of my clients is that they don’t have any definite goals to aim towards.

This has always surprised me, as goal setting is frequently recommended by self-improvement gurus, performance coaches, and business leaders. It’s also something that I learned at university and have implemented successfully in my life ever since.

If you’re similar to the majority of my life coaching clients and you don’t have any definite goals to aim for, then you’re missing out on what is probably the most powerful personal success technique on the planet.

The good news is—you’ve come to the right place for help with this.

In this article, I’ll explain exactly what goal-setting is and how you can put it into action in your life. As you’ll discover, it’s a key that can open many doors for you.

An Introduction to Goal Setting

Goals can be big, small, short-term, long-term, essential, or desirable. But they all share one thing: They will give you something to aim for.

This is important. As just like a ship without a destination, if you have no goals, you’ll end drifting aimlessly.

Advertising

Goals give you purpose. They also give you drive and enthusiasm. In other words—they make you feel alive!

If you’ve never spent time setting goals before, then here’s what I recommend you to do:

  1. Take some time to evaluate all areas of your life (health, career, family, etc.).
  2. Determine which of these areas need a boost.
  3. Think of ways in which to achieve this (for example, if you want to boost your health, you could eat less and exercise more).
  4. Set some definite goals that you would like to achieve.
  5. Write down these goals, including the date you want to accomplish them by.

Now, before you get started on the above, I want to make one thing clear: Goals are not wishful thinking!

By this, I mean that while your goals should be ambitious, they shouldn’t be unrealistic or verging into fantasy land.

For example, wanting to be promoted at work would be a realistic goal while wanting to be President of the United States might not be. (Of course, feel free to prove me wrong!)

If you’re new to the world of goal setting, then I’d recommend you start with easy-to-achieve goals. These could be things such as eating a healthy breakfast, walking more, taking regular breaks from your screen, and sleeping early.

These simple goals might take you a month or so to achieve, including making the daily practices a habit.

Once you’ve successfully accomplished these goals, you’ll find your self-confidence grows, and you’ll be ready to set yourself some bigger goals.

Here are a few examples that you might want to choose or adapt to your personal circumstances:

Advertising

  • Run a marathon
  • Buy a new car
  • Learn a new language
  • Travel around the world
  • Change career
  • Retire early
  • Write a book

I’m sure you can think of many more things that you would like to achieve. As the famous Shakespeare line neatly states: “The world is your oyster!”

Now, the trick with big goals (as I’ll show in an example shortly) is to break them down into small, bite-sized chunks. This means you’ll have a big end goal, with smaller goals (sometimes referred to as objectives) helping you to gradually achieve your main aim.

When you do this, you’ll make big goals more achievable. Plus, you’ll have an easy way to track how far along the road to your goal you are at any given point in time.

Let’s see this in action…

Going from an Idea to a Global Success

Everything starts with an idea.

And there appears to be no shortage of good ideas in the world. But there is a shortage of people willing to put these ideas into action!

This is the essential step that will move you from being a dreamer to an achiever.

Back in 2005, when I first had the idea for Lifehack, I really only considered it to be a platform to record some of my productivity and self-improvement techniques. I’d developed these during my time at university and as a Software Engineer at Redhat.

However, based on the number of views and positive feedback I received on the first few articles, I quickly realized that Lifehack had the potential to be a popular and successful website—a site that could help transform the lives of people from all across the world.

Advertising

It was at that point that I decided to set some goals in place for Lifehack.

The way I did this was to set specific targets for different areas of the business:

  1. Number of articles published
  2. Amount of time spent writing and promoting the articles
  3. Number of new readers
  4. Number of new email subscribers
  5. Revenue generated from ads

For each of the above, I set weekly, monthly, and yearly targets. These targets were realistic but were also ambitious. In addition, I wrote down the necessary steps to take to achieve each target within the specified time frame.

This goal setting had a powerful impact on my motivation and energy levels. Because I could clearly see what needed to be done to achieve each goal, I found a purpose to my tasks that made them exciting to complete. Each small target achieved took me closer to accomplishing the bigger goals.

For example, my initial goals for writing articles were for just five a week, which equated to 20 per month and just over 100 per year. However, as I dedicated more and more time to Lifehack, I found I was able to exceed my initial goals.

This led me to increase the numbers. Of course, there’s a limit to how many articles one person can write. So when the readership began to exponentially increase, I started to hire other writers to help me out with the site’s content.

From my initial goal of just over 100 articles per year, I’ve used goal setting to help Lifehack publish more than 35,000 articles to date. This is now the largest collection of original self-development articles in the world.

And in terms of readership—this has skyrocketed from a few dozen in 2005 to several million in 2020.

And of course, I have many new goals for Lifehack, including expanding our range of online courses.

Advertising

My original goal has always remained the same though: To change people’s lives for the better.

Goal Setting Can Transform Your Life

If you haven’t yet experienced the incredible power of goal setting, then now’s the time to get started.

Build a definite picture of what you want to accomplish, break it down into small, achievable steps, and then start taking action!

You’ll be able to change all areas of your life using this method, including boosting your health, improving your relationships, and transforming your career. You may also want to use goal setting to start a new hobby or plot a path to a prosperous and peaceful retirement.

So please don’t wait for success to drop in your lap (which it is highly unlikely to do). Instead, decide on exactly what you want, then make a plan to get it. This is the secret to lifelong success.

Legendary motivational speaker and author Paul J. Meyer said it well:

“Goal setting is the most important aspect of all improvement and personal development plans. It is the key to all fulfillment and achievement.”

Final Thoughts

Now, let me leave you with five questions that will help you think about your future:

  1. What would you like to be doing in 3, 5, and 7 years?
  2. What things make you happiest?
  3. How can you share your knowledge and experience?
  4. Who can help you achieve your goals?
  5. What would you like to be your legacy?

Take plenty of time to think about these questions. When the answers come, you’ll be able to start building a picture of how you’d like your life to be—and what goals you need to set to make this picture a reality.

More Tips on Setting Goals

Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com

Read Next