Productivity is the total output produced by an input. Every organization aims to produce quality output consistently, in a stipulated amount of time. This applies to every industry – customer care, hospitality, manufacturing, software, agriculture, and even education. Hence, productivity and time management is important for every industry.
What is the first thing that we all do once we reach office? We check emails. The first couple of hours are spent on reading emails from clients, supervisor, subordinates, and vendors. Well, it doesn’t end there. There are days when you have to go through legal documents, contracts, and other official documents. There is so much to read every day that at times our productivity and time management is dependent on how fast we read.
On an average, a person normally reads around 200 to 250 words per minute. This speed can be increased to around 600 to 1200 words per minute. If you can increase your reading speed then imagine the amount of time you can save.
How to increase your reading speed?
Speed reading not only saves time, but it also boosts memory and your ability to process more information in less time. Speed reading is how to effectively go through a reading material without spending too much time reading every word. Speed reading skill can be achieved by following these techniques:
Use the pointer method
Place your forefinger below the text you’re reading. As you read further, slide the finger along. A pen or pencil can also be used as a pointer. When you’re pointing to the text, your concentration is on every word you’re reading. When you concentrate, the ability to absorb information is much easier. You will not lose focus and your mind will not wander while reading.
Sub-Vocalization is when you read every word in your mind. If you observe, you may even find your lips moving even though you’re not reading aloud. Avoid reading every word in your mind. This is a habit we have formed in school. It is difficult to break from this habit; however, it is not impossible. Read a combination of words without saying them in your head. When you read word by word, a lot of time is spent whereas, when you read multiple words, you’re saving time. This technique definitely requires regular practice and patience.
Regression is when your eyes go back to what you have already read. A person goes back and forth if they were unable to comprehend the information or misread something. Regression slows down the reading pace and reduces your ability to comprehend. To avoid regression, you need to concentrate on your reading. When you concentrate, you will process the information quickly and comprehend what you’re reading.
Scanning is glancing through the text and absorbing the required information. Not every document requires you to read every word. You will know what information is in a document, by going through the title, headline, or the summary.
In skimming, you read the first line of a paragraph and the last line of a paragraph. Then you just scan through the text in the middle of the paragraph. When you read the first and the last line, it will give you an idea of the information in that paragraph and glancing through the rest of the paragraph will give you more understanding of the content. The technique of skimming through text can be tricky. However, if you practice regularly you will be an expert.
Avoid long pauses
Some of us take long pauses at every full stop. In speed reading, you don’t need to pause. You can skim and scan through the documents. If you take a second or half a second of pause at every full stop, calculate the amount of time you have taken for pauses. However, don’t let this affect your comprehension. Take it slow when you’re practicing. Eventually, you will find lesser pauses in your reading.
Time your reading
On the first day of your practice session, time yourself to know your reading speed. On the second day, read a paragraph or a page more in the same amount of time. Continue to increase the pace every day by reading more in the same amount of time. For e.g.: On the first day in an hour’s time if you could read around 20 pages, then the next day try to read 21 to 22 pages in an hour. On the third day read 23 to 24 pages in an hour and repeat the same till you achieve your desired speed.
These speed reading techniques will increase your reading speed. You can save time and spend them on other important work on hand. When you have more time, it will increase our efficiency. However, there are some important things that you need to remember about speed reading.
Important or legal documents
If a document requires your attention, avoid skimming and scanning through the document. There are times where you need to take a decision based on the information mentioned in the document.
If you have to read a technical document or a study material, go slow as you may have to memorize the information. Also, if the information is complex and difficult to comprehend, read slowly to understand the information.
Don’t give up on practice
To acquire the skill of reading at a faster pace requires regular practice. It is not achievable in a day or 2. It requires your dedication and patience. If you practice regularly, it is achievable.
Stay away from distractions
To practice your speed reading, use a place that is without distractions. For e.g.; keep your phone away, occupy a room where there will be no one to disturb, turn off TV and music. Preferably sit in your study room where there is no one or nothing to disturb you.
Speed reading techniques are quite effective to improve your pace. Once you have achieved your desired reading speed, you will enjoy reading even more. When you read more, you gain more knowledge and you can give better results in lesser time. You can also check the best udemy courses for speed reading to improve your speed reading skills.
Guest Post by Jimmy Cowan
About the Author: Jimmy Cowan is passionate about Speed Reading and NPL techniques. He holds many certifications in speed reading including Speeder CX and 7 Speed Reading. He shares his techniques on learning speed reading on My Speed reading.