In recent years, I have tried various techniques to optimize my reading and achieve three goals: read fast, understand what I’ve read and to remember everything.
We all have hectic lives and almost never have time to read.
In fact, we always have those moments that we are not doing much.
- when we are in a waiting room
- waiting for someone who is late
- on the train going to meet friends
- or before bed
If we add up all this, we realize that we have some free time that we can use to read instead of browsing social networks, games or just complain about life 🙂
“There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.”Socrates
1. Have a dedicated place
I chose a place in my house dedicated to reading. This means that when I go to a particular part of my home, my brain knows that it is time to read.
In the book “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and in Business,” Charles Duhigg calls this a “Cue.”
One of the most useful habits you can develop is to train your brain to do something when you see a site.
My table reminds me of working, my bed – sleeping, and if I want to run I leave my running shoes next to the door.
2. Prepare yourself before reading
One thing that has dramatically changed my understanding and the speed of reading is before I start a new book, I try to extract the maximum information from its summary.
I also search on Youtube the book reviews. That way, I don’t go into it totally unprepared.
3. Use multiple senses
This tip, in my opinion, is the most important. I use the audiobook at 2x speed, while I follow the physical book.
Books have an average of 300 pages. Many of us are intimidated by its size. But if we use the audiobook, at 1x speed, we notice that it can be read in 9 hours. It doesn’t seem so hard anymore, does it?
What if we use the audiobook at 2x speed? The book can be read in 4.5 hours. Fantastic, isn’t it? This simple fact significantly stimulates our willingness to get started.
Besides, you use 2 senses: viewing, and listening.
Audiobooks help you to read faster
Researches within the field of learning have shown that some people are more visual, others more auditory, or more kinesthetic.
The more sences we use in the learning process, the better results we get.
Another benefit; it forces you to stay focused. When you are just reading it’s easier to get distracted with outside noises.
And if you want to have a paperless life like me, buy the ebook and use the iOS / Android app called Voice Dream. It converts the text into speech, allowing you to see the words/phrases while listening to the audio.
4. Make strategic pauses
In those parts of the book that are important to you, stop and reflect on the possibilities of using it in your life, connect the new information to old information.
And in those AHA moments, it’s better to make a pause. Maybe you’d go for a walk, or do something else. Because these are the points that will really resonate in your head and make you evolve.
5. Organize the information
The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know what he thinks.Mortimer J. Adler
Here I use mainly 2 techniques:
- I outline and summarize the essential parts of the book.
- At the end of each chapter, I make a mind map, where I simplify all the critical information of the book, forcing me to link one theme to another. It’s easy to review it later. Plus, as a designer, it’s the kind of task I happily make.
6. Articulate what you’ve learned
Review your notes and mind maps regularly, try to explain the content of the book to others, make connections with other information you previously acquired, and especially, try to apply the new knowledge into your life.
I never allow myself to hold an opinion on anything that I don’t know the other side’s argument better than they doCharlie Munger
Because in the end, the important thing is not the number of books you have on your shelf, but all that you’ve learned and transformed into wisdom through reflections and actions.
Do you have more tips on how to read better? Share with us.
And I also would like to share the books that changed the way I think, live, and work. Please share with us yours.