5 speed reading strategies to instantly read faster

Speed reading helps you to develop your knowledge at a faster pace

Do you love reading and learning new things? Or do you have to read many documents for work? We live in a fast-paced world: information is the centerpiece of most of our lives. In our personal life, there are so many things we want to learn. And if you are a knowledge worker, chances are you have to read emails, rapports, and other documents on a daily basis. Multitasking hurts our productivity. And there is so much to read, but so little time, right? That isn’t necessarily true. Speed reading is something that has had a lot of attention in recent years. People are always looking for ways to get things done more efficiently. By learning to speed read you significantly process more information and get things done more quickly. However, with most speed reading techniques, you are required to adapt your natural reading style.

A Google search for ‘speed reading’ yields multiple methods. Most of them revolve eye coordination, reading between lines, skipping words, or visualizing while you are reading. In the past few years, I’ve tried different techniques. I found that it was useful and productive at first, but after 1 or 2 days, I would fall back in my old patterns. For example: moving my eyes super fast didn’t feel natural. Similar to the ‘visualizing technique’: this requires you to visualize every word you read. While I am not questioning the effectiveness of these (proven) methods, I do think that they are not for everybody. The problem is that we are creatures of habit—changing how we read is something extremely difficult because it is something we’ve learned as children. I’ve found five strategies that you can apply, without changing the way you read. These strategies are not focusing on the actual reading technique. But rather on strategies that will improve the time you can finish a book or document. It is not necessarily about words per minute. It is finishing something in less time than before—but still capturing all information.

5 ways to read faster

The biggest obstacle that stands in most of our’s way is the misconceptions we have about reading. We believe that we have to read every single word in a book, article, or document to understand it. We simply do not have the time to read every single word—it doesn’t matter how fast you read. We believe that we have to memorize everything because of pressure from school—we had to remember everything because we had exams. Trying to remember everything you read is a waste of time—we forget the material that our brain stores in it’s short-term memory after a couple of days. So it is time to get rid of a few misconceptions and hack your reading methods.

1. Learn the ‘art’ of skipping

Our brain can understand concepts without having to read a full book or article. By knowing ‘what’ to skip, you can read a book faster while obtaining the essential information. Once you’ve read a few non-fiction books, you know the structure. Understanding the outline will help you to skip non-essential parts. For example, start by preview the whole book (you can also do this for rapports, blogposts, et cetera). Read the first few introductory paragraphs to grasp the message of the book. Next, read the subheading, titles, and subtitles. Then, read the first and last sentence of each paragraph. This method will help you to comprehend the text faster. This strategy will give you 40 percent of the vital information.

2. Direct your thoughts

One bad habit is daydreaming—we think about the weirdest things when we are reading. Our mind wanders off on a tangent. Daydreaming is something that everybody does—there is no point in stopping it. Instead: turn it into something that helps you with comprehension. Next time you catch your mind wander, direct your thoughts towards the subject you are reading about. Connect the words you are reading with real life experiences. For instance, when you are reading about ways to deal with stress, think of a period when you had a lot of stress. In this way, you allow your brain to create connections, which will make it easier to remember.

3. Stop subvocalizing while you read

When we read, we mouth along to the words. At this rate, you read 150 words per minute, which is the same as your talking speed. Research shows that your brain can process up to 400 words per minute. By stopping the habit of mouthing the words, you can increase the number of words you process by 200%! One easy trick to stop subvocalizing is to focus on keywords and to skip the rest. Try to put this in practice and catch yourself when you are mouthing the words you are reading.

4. Set a goal

Set a goal for what kind of information you want to walk away with after reading something. Ask yourself: Why am I reading this? Why do I need this information? How can I use it? If you are in college and you have an exam on a subject: focus on the parts that the lectures covered. When you are reading a book on exercising, and you want to walk away with a fitness routine: read the parts that include the different fitness routines. You don’t have to discard the rest, but at least you can prioritize your reading. Also, if you do not know exactly why you are reading something, DON’T!

5. Capture the most important information

It is true that we don’t have to remember everything, but at the same time, we want to remember the important matters. That’s why we need a retrieval system that will help us to retrieve the information when we need it. See it as a backup of your brain. Setting up a retrieval system is very personal—some people prefer writing down knowledge in their notebook, others prefer taking pictures. Do whatever works best for you. For example, I prefer Evernote because it works similar to how our brain works. When I read a book or article, I highlight the most important things. When I finish a book, I go back to my highlights and take pictures with Evernote. When I need to retrieve the information I can use Evernote’s search function, which also recognizes text from images. Having a retrieval system also takes away the pressure of memorizing information.

Conclusion

Most people don’t think of reading as fun. However, gaining knowledge is essential for your growth. It is true that you can learn in different ways, and you should focus on ‘how’ you learn best (video, audio, text). But the truth is that we cannot completely avoid reading. So make it easier for yourself to learn things faster. Finally, take a break every 30 minutes. Research shows that the human brain can only focus on one task for a short amount of time. Give yourself a break from reading and try to read every day. If you keep it up, you’ll be substantially smarter within no time.

 

 

Thanks For Reading!

 

I’m Darius Foroux—an entrepreneur, author, and podcaster.

I publish weekly articles on overcoming procrastination, improving productivity, and achieving more. Never want to miss an article?

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Top 15 Motivational Quotes That Will Make You Do Some Stuff

Getting motivated is not always easy. We have so many goals that we want to achieve. Some many books to read. Some many stuff to do. But we have so little time, so we need to motivate (and inspire) ourselves to keep doing the things that satisfy us—and not waste our time.

Here’s a list of inspirational quotes that always get me off my but. I found that it works best to print your favorite quotes and place them somewhere you see them multiple times a day. For example, I have quotes on my monitor, desk, closet, dashboard of my car, bathroom.

The quotes are in no particular order.


 

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
-Thomas A. Edison

“You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them.”
Michael Jordan

“Obstacles are necessary for success because in selling, as in all careers of importance, victory comes only after many struggles and countless defeats.”
– Og Mandino

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”
– Aristotle Onassis

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”
– Plato

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
– Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”
– Pablo Picasso

“The greater danger for most of us isn’t that our aim is too high and miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”
– Michelangelo

“A goal properly set is halfway reached.”
– Zig Ziglar

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”
– Pablo Picasso

“Plans are nothing; planning is everything.”
– Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Learning never exhausts the mind.”
– Leonardo da Vinci

“Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it.”
– Stephen Hawking

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”
Steve Jobs

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”
Henry Ford

 

 

Multitasking hurts your productivity: a tip to eliminate distractions from your smartphone

juggling tasks hurt productivity

Every day, countless messages compete for our attention and time. Too often, we give in to these interruptions, which puts us in what I call ‘respond mode.’ In this state of mind, you keep responding to every message you receive. Unless you work in customer service, this harms your productivity. Messages from friends, colleagues, Facebook, Email, News apps, and countless other messages try to fight for your attention. It seems almost impossible to write an email without being interrupted by a WhatsApp message, a colleague who is asking for something, or a phone call.

When we are responding to messages throughout the day, we cannot focus on our work. Every time we are distracted it takes time and energy to switch between tasks. Most people’s days revolve around juggling multiple tasks and projects at once. The feeling that we have so many obligations— and limited time—that we feel anxious. Imagine receiving a text from your friend about another friend’s birthday gift while trying to write an important email. What do you do? Most of us leave the email to respond to our friend.

We feel obliged to respond to everything and everyone. When we return to the email, we forget the point we were trying to make in our email. The reason for this is simple: we cannot multitask. To keep our lives in check, we need to all stress and anxiety. If we want to work stress-free: we should take it one step at a time and not engage in multitasking. By using the full capacity of our mind, we can complete tasks quicker and better. First, focus on writing an email, then on responding to your friend’s birthday gift.

Switching Costs Kill Productivity

We all have days we feel unproductive or that we did not do anything. When you feel you are not productive, the chances are that it is because interruptions and multitasking drain your energy. When you juggle multiple things simultaneously, like: sending an email, texting a friend and checking your Facebook while you are in a meeting – you engage in context switching. In a research done by Gloria Mark of the University of California, Irvine, it showed that it takes an average of 25 minutes to return to the original task after an interruption. Since we are interrupted more than once, this adds up quickly and before you know it you feel like you have done nothing that day.

Clifford Nass, a sociologist from Stanford University, has researched the impact of multitasking and found that people who engage in multitasking are “suckers for irrelevancy.” We engage in multitasking because we are distracted by notifications, which are addictive. We cannot control ourselves – we must look at the notification to see who or what wants our attention. Every time a notification pops up on our screen, we get a rush that releases dopamine.

Dopamine is one of the body’s happy chemicals – it controls the “pleasure” systems of the brain and makes you feel joy. This joyous feeling is addictive and makes us seek out behaviors that stimulate dopamine. You can think about food, sex, drugs and the notifications you receive on your screen. While dopamine may cause a rush, it also exhausts us. That is why you still feel tired at the end of the day while you have not been productive. This is a harmful process, and we need to stop this pattern.

Turn Off Notifications

It’s difficult to instantly change your behavior. Your smartphone is likely the biggest source of distractions. So let’s focus on your phone.  If you want to be more productive, start by the following 2 productivity tips:

1. Turn off notifications on your smartphone

This will take away distractions. You can start by turning off push notification on your news apps. Then, follow with email. Finally, if you really want to eliminate distractions—turn off all notifications. Only check your phone when you want—don’t be a slave to it.

2. Delete Facebook from your smartphone

Facebook equals procrastination. I don’t have Facebook on my phone for almost a year. My brother recommended me to delete Facebook: “you waste hours on facebook,” he said. He was right. You need to trust me on this, delete it and you will instantly find out that you have less stuff to do on your phone.

These productivity tips won’t double or triple your productivity, but they sure will give you more peace of mind so you can focus on what is important: your life.

 

 

Thanks For Reading!

 

I’m Darius Foroux—an entrepreneur, author, and podcaster.

I publish weekly articles on overcoming procrastination, improving productivity, and achieving more. Never want to miss an article?

Hop on my newsletter below:

When you’ve found your purpose, boredom doesn’t exist anymore

“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.”

Viktor E. Frankl

When I had a job I didn’t like I was bored all the time. The only thing I did was getting ready for work, resting from a long workday, looking forward to the weekend and dreading Monday. My whole life revolved around a job I didn’t like. So what do you do when you get bored? Like most people, I did everything to avoid boredom.

With so much time on our hand, what should we do with this sea of time? Don’t underestimate time, it is your most valuable asset. While money comes and goes, time doesn’t. Once you lose time, you can never get it back.

When you are never bored a single moment in your life, you have found your purpose. You spend every waking minute on your purpose. Therefore, boredom doesn’t exist. You do not waste your time anymore with meaningless activities.
 

 

Thanks For Reading!

 

I’m Darius Foroux—an entrepreneur, author, and podcaster.

I publish weekly articles on overcoming procrastination, improving productivity, and achieving more. Never want to miss an article?

Hop on my newsletter below:

Why competition is bad

In ancient times, the rules of nature were easy. If you didn’t compete for food, shelter or women, you would die. We still compete for those things, but the competition actually makes us weaker.

When we compete, two negative things can happen.

  1. We start imitating the competition
  2. We focus too much on our competitor, instead of our business

In our personal lives, we often imitate our competitors. We all compete on some level with colleagues, friends, and family. This will make you lose your identity and dignity. True power comes from within. Don’t compete with others. You don’t have to have a better car.

You can also apply this to business. When Microsoft and Google were focussing on each other, Apple became the biggest tech company in the world.

Competition is bad. Focus on the value that you add, not on how much better you are compared to someone else.

“Your competition is not other people but the time you kill, the ill will you create, the knowledge you neglect to learn, the connections you fail to build, the health you sacrifice along the path, your inability to generate ideas, the people around you who don’t support and love your efforts, and whatever god you curse for your bad luck.”
– James Altucher

 

 

How saying no can lead to a happy life without stress

We believe that we always have to say yes to opportunities. We fear that saying no leads us to miss out on money, fun, and other experiences. But by always saying yes, we don’t value our time.

Blindly we say yes to everything that comes our way. We often don’t look at saying “no” as a skill. If we are at work and our manager asks you to hand in a report before the end of the day, we say, “sure thing.” It interrupts our work, and we often have to push other things aside.

There was never any fear for me, no fear of failure. If I miss a shot, so what?
– Michael Jordan

We say yes in our personal lives all the time. When friends ask us to go out while we have other things to do, we say yes. We friends or acquaintances a favour, without thinking about it. We even say yes to bigger things that we don’t want. We take jobs we don’t like. We start relationships with people who we are not in love with.

Why do we do this? We are afraid to say no, to let people down, to avoid confrontation. The stress of saying no often makes us say yes automatically. And then we complain or blame ourselves, “why couldn’t I just say no.” And with relationships, we are afraid that if we turn down an opportunity to settle down, another one maybe won’t show up.

I see this often with relationships at work. You spend time with a person at work so often and if you feel physically attractive to each other it easy to start a relationship. If you start a relationship, you cannot ‘kind of’ want it. No, you should be in love. Saying yes doesn’t always make you happy.

Other People’s Expectations

Learning to say no can save us a lot of time and stress. While we are afraid that we have to let people down, the opposite is true. People will start respecting you more when you start saying no. People perceive that as a strong character trait.

It’s time to stop doing things to live up to other people’s expectations. You don’t have to do things you don’t like. If you don’t start saying no, and keep doing things you don’t want to do, you begin to dislike the person you are trying to please. Saying no is not only for your benefit but actually by saying no, you are thinking about other people as well.

If you say yes to a night out with your spouse and you don’t feel like it, you probably won’t be in a great mood. It’s not fair for your spouse if you are not present mentally. If you rather go out the next day because you are tired tonight, say so. Your partner will respect you for that. If she doesn’t, we have to explain why we say no. And encourage them to say no when they don’t want to do something as well.

Conforming to other people expectations can impact your life’s outcome. Wen you say yes to one night out, when you don’t feel like it, doesn’t have huge life consequences. But sometimes it is about choices that will influence our life outcome. When parents expect their children to go to university, the children often give into that.

We are all unique and have things we want from live, asking people to do something they don’t like is not fair. If you don’t wish to go to university because of a good reason, then don’t. We have to follow our passion and make our own path.

Say No To Noise

We should say no to everything that is noise. Greg Mckeown, writes in his book Essentialism about how the ‘disciplined pursuit of less’ allows us to regain control over our choices. Mckeown says that many successful people in history were ‘essentialist’, people who can separate the essential from the non-essential in life. Saying no is a way of showing what you consider ‘essential’ by saying no to everything that is noise.

About the importance of saying no, Mckeown says, “ yet as hard as it can be to say no to someone, failing to do so can cause us to miss out on something far more important.” When we have a purpose in life, everything that doesn’t contribute to our purpose, becomes noise.

When we want to live a stress-free life, we have to choose “no”. Saying blindly yes to invitations from our colleagues, friends or family causes us stress. We often regret saying yes for days. We worry about damaging our relationships. We worry that we burn bridges. We worry what people would think if we say no. We live in an abundant world. By saying no you don’t miss anything. The world is filled with opportunity and beauty.

We think we are not good friends or colleagues when we say no. You’re not a bad person when you say no. Once we start saying no, we lose the fear of disappointing people and find out that it wasn’t that hard. We find that we replace the noise with silence and clarity. We enjoy the things we do say yes to more. We become more present and happy.

 

 

Best books on Entrepreneurship, Business, Finances, Marketing, Personal Growth, Creativity and Fitness

Entrepeneurship & Business

The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

The modern entrepreneur’s bible. This book changed my perspective on doing business. Tim Ferriss has influenced thousands of people over the world who have gone to start companies themselves. Ferriss is also an angel investor or an advisor to Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, and Uber, and other tech companies. A must read for everyone who wants to have financial freedom.

Zero To One by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters

Peter Thiel is mostly known as co-founder of PayPal and the first outside investor to Facebook. In Zero To One is a complete book that discusses the motives behind entrepreneurship. It covers essential topics such as history, human behavior, competition, creativity, and how new tech companies change the world. An essential read for every entrepreneur or anyone who is interested in reading about the rise of startups. The Magic Of Thinking Big by Dr. David Schwartz Thinking big is essential for every entrepreneur, salesperson or marketer. We let small thinking obstruct hitting high goals in life. The Magic of Thinking Big gives you useful methods. Dr. Schwartz presents techniques that you can use in your personal life as well. This book can be placed with the ‘Personal Growth’ as well. It is a great all-around book on positive thinking, use it in your work.

Marketing

Purple Cow by Seth Godin

One of the best books on marketing. The book’s message is simple: if you want to stand out from the crowd, you have to be remarkable. A must-read for every business owner and marketer. Seth Godin is considered as one of the best marketing minds in the world. I encourage you to read his blog as well. He posts an article on his blog (that has quality) every single day. Now that is remarkable.

Contagious by Jonah Berger

When you want to have massive marketing success with a limited budget, read Contagious by Jonah Berger. It’s an excellent book with thorough analysis of viral campaigns, and why they catch on. Jonah Berger is a Marketing professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and uses scientific research to back up his findings. His writing style, however, is far from academic and very enjoyable.

Stoicism

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius (emperor of Rome A.D. 161-180) is one of the three famous modern stoics, others are Seneca and Epictetus. As the emperor of the largest empire of the world, Aurelius had great responsibility. He wrote Meditations for his personal use. It consists of lessons he learned and notes he made to himself about living and dealing with people. This book changed the way I looked at life. I have always been a stoic person, but reading this made me understand the reasons behind stoicism. A must read for every human being.

On The Shortness Of Life by Seneca

Seneca rose to prominence in Rome, pursuing a career in the courts and political life. He spent eight years in exile, allegedly for an affair with an emperor’s sister. When he was recalled in AD 49, he was appointed tutor to the boy who was to become, in AD 54, the emperor Nero. In his time as emperor, Nero appointed Seneca as an unofficial chief minister. In AD 65, Seneca was compelled by Nero to commit suicide because of a alleged plot against Nero. In the Shortness Of Life, Seneca writes about the art of living. Highly recommended for everyone. This book teaches us that life is short and it should be lived.

The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday

Inspired by Mediations, Ryan Holiday wrote an excellent book about how we can turn our own adversity into advantage. The book is full of stories about how icons of history dealt with their obstacles. Ryan argues that we should shy away from obstacles, but rather make dealing with obstacles a way of life. Therefore, the title of the book, The Obstacle Is The Way. This book is well written and is the modern take on stoicism.

Personal Growth

The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard

After surviving a car accident, Brendon dedicated his life to helping others find their purpose, what he calls “The Charge”. He is also a marketing expert and trains people become better experts in their fields. This book is his most complete book yet, filled with wisdom. The Motivation Manifesto is a complete guide to motivation and consists of 9 declarations that can help you to get power over your life.

How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie

An all time classic when it comes to self-development. This book is an essential read for everyone. Especially for people getting out of college. Carnegie writes about how you can increase your popularity, persuade people, make friends, enable you to win new clients and customers, become a better speaker and boost enthusiasm among your colleagues. This book teaches you techniques that can be used in social interactions with other people. Whatever we want to do in life, we need to work with other people. Carnegie shows you how to deal with people.

The Greatest Salesman In The World by Og Mandino

While the title sounds like it is a sales book, The Greatest Salesman In The World is more a philosophy book. The first part of the book is a parable set in the time just prior to Christianity. The second part consists of 10 scrolls that will teach you to you must believe in yourself and the work you are doing. It is a book that also teaches you how to create a habit. Og Mandino writes that you have to reread every scroll, 3 times a day, for a month. That will take you 10 months to complete this book. This book is an excellent example of the power of priming and positively. Academy award winner, Matthew McConaughey, said this book changed his life and got him into acting.

Finances

Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

Unfortunately, we don’t learn how to deal with money at school. Rich Dad, Poor Dad is essential reading for anyone who starts making money. The younger the better. And for adults, if you think that your house is an asset, Robert Kiyosaki disagrees. Making money is one thing, keeping it and growing it something else. This book teaches us financial literacy. The Essays Of Warren Buffett by Warren Buffett Warren Buffett is one of the greatest investors in history. This book offers a collection of his “chairman’s letter” (his personal progress report) to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders at their annual meeting. Learn from the best investor how to invest in stocks. A unique insight into the mind of an investor. Recommended reading for anyone who wants to invest in the stock market.

Creativity

The War Of Art by Steven Pressfield

Being creative requires discipline. Steven Pressfield argues that ‘resistance’ stands in the way of people who want to create something in life. The book discusses this enemy that every one of us must face. Press field presents a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, and shows how to achieve success. Great reading for writers, entrepreneurs, actors, dancers, painters, photographers, filmmakers, and other creative people.

The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin

The world has changed and conformity no longer leads to security.Seth Godin argues in The Icarus Deception that creativity is scarce and more valuable than ever. Godin encourages everyone to make art. By adopting an artistic attitude we can add value to other people’s life. We have to be problem solvers and conformity doesn’t solve problems. Creative thinking does. A great book to adopt the creative mindset.

Biography

Man’s Search For Meaning by Victor Frankl

Viktor Frankl was a psychiatrist before the war. His ability to observe the behavior of his fellow prisoners in Auschwitz resulted in Man’s Search For Meaning. This unique book describes how we choose our attitude in any given set of circumstances. Even during the horrible circumstances of a concentration camp, humans can bare the suffering and find meaning in living because of inner decisions. This outstanding work offers us all a way a peak into human suffering and in the art of living. The book consists of the parts. The first part is a memoire while the second part describes Frankl’s Logotherapy. This is a treatment he used on his patients and describes ways to find meaning in life.

Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s story is remarkable. A boy from a small town in Austria turned into a bodybuilding champion. A bodybuilder turned into one of the biggest Hollywood stars in history. A actor turned into Governor. This unique story is worth reading. Schwarzenegger also shares his life lessons in Total Recall. A great read for anyone who wants to get a peak into how the mind of a successful person works.

Fitness & Health

Bigger, Leaner, Stronger by Michael Matthews

The only book you need on building muscle. Matthews has written a complete book that focusses on simplicity. We all hate complicated fitness and eating regiments. Bigger, Leaner, Stronger is based on a few simple methods and destroys a lot of popular fitness myths.

Spark by John Ratey

Everyone knows that exercise is good for our health. But it can also transform your mind. This book is based on scientific research and teaches us how to how to boost brain cells, protect yourself against mental illness and dementia, and ensure success in exams and the workplace. A great read that inspires us to live an active lifestyle.