We live in an information age where knowledge isn’t just power. It’s profit – and I don’t just mean financial profit. The faster you can learn, the faster you can earn all the treasures of your life.
But most of us are overwhelmed! We spend 4 or more hours a day processing information from emails, websites, books, newspapers, magazines, and more.
If you save just one hour a day, that’s 365 hours a year. That’s NINE 40-hour workweeks…or 2 months of productivity you can get back just by reading faster.
The challenge? Traditional speed-reading is associated with skimming or skipping. But I train remarkable individuals in every field imaginable – from entertainment to corporate America to medicine to law. And you don’t want your doctor to just get the gist of what she reads.
It doesn’t make sense to read something unless you can absorb the information and apply it to your daily life.
Know your starting point.
In order to improve something, you must be able to measure it.
Read for 60 seconds, and count the number of lines you read to learn your base rate.
Learn more on how to calculate your reading speed with our tips on how to read 1 book a week.
Obstacles to Effective Reading
Lack of Education
- None of us were born with the ability to read. It’s a skill we developed.
- But the last time most of us took a class on reading, we were 5 or 6 years old.
- Since then, the demand and difficulty of what we read have increased dramatically. But most of us still read at the same skill level.
- So it’s essential to get the proper reading training.
Lack of Focus
- Have you ever finished a page in a book and forgotten what you just read?
- Most of us read something but just can’t concentrate.
- It’s a MYTH that faster readers have less comprehension. In fact, fast readers have the best comprehension because they have the best focus.
- When you read, you feed the incredible supercomputer of your brain one…word…at…a…time.
- When someone talks slowly, you get distracted. You start to fall asleep. That’s EXACTLY what happens when you read. Maybe you even use reading to help you fall asleep.
- Remember: information combined with emotion becomes a long-term memory. But if your emotion is zero because you’re bored, you won’t remember what you read
- If your brain doesn’t get the stimulus it needs, it will seek entertainment elsewhere in the form of distraction.
- Your mind wanders and you lose focus because you’re reading too SLOWLY.
- If you drive a car at 20mph in your neighborhood, you’re not focused on your driving. You’re listening to this podcast or drinking your coffee. But if you’re doing straightaways on a track at 200 mph, you’re committed to what’s in front of you.
- You must believe that you can read faster AND improve your comprehension.
How to Read Faster: Use A Visual Pacer.
- When you read, use a finger, a pencil, or your cursor to underline the words as you read. Don’t go straight down the page or in an S or Z shape because you’ll miss many words.
- You don’t need to touch the paper or screen itself. Just use it to track your focus.
Why It Works
Children do it.
Children do this organically until they’re taught not do it.
You do it.
When I asked you to count the number of lines you read, you counted using a visual marker – like your finger, pencil, or cursor.
Your eyes are attracted to motion.
- When we were hunter-gatherers, if a bush moved, we paid attention to it…because it could be lunch, or we could be lunch.
- Our eyes remain naturally attracted to motion due to this survival instinct.
- A visual pacer improves our focus because our attention is pulled through the information instead of pulled apart.
Our sense of sight and touch are linked.
- Have you ever tasted an amazing peach just off the vine? You didn’t actually taste the peach. You were smelling it. But your brain can’t tell the difference because your senses of smell and taste are so closely linked.
- But you know the difference when you try to eat with a stuffed nose. All the food tastes bland.
- Your senses of sight and touch are similarly linked.
- Many people who use a visual pacer say, “I feel more in touch with my reading.”
- If someone loses their sense of sight, they use their sense of touch to read.
- Pick up where you left off in your book and time yourself reading with a visual pacer for 60 seconds.
- How much better did you do?
- The more you practice, the better you’ll get.