There are a few little tricks to ensure reading faster and smarter. The whole deal won’t take more than 10minutes and a bit of mental work.
In the word of consumer information, it’s vital to find practical solutions to consuming your daily digest. You only have 24 hours in a day. Not a second longer.
We’re bombarded by stuff from every direction. One of the biggest challenges of our time is to figure out what is important. Then consume it as fast as possible.
There is not enough time. I’m sorry.
Memorize Unusual Words
We’re going to start by memorizing random words. This short exercise will open the gate to the memory mindset. Later you’ll be able to develop the method that works for you. We’ll start with words and expand to sentences and paragraphs.
What if I told you there is an effective way to memorize 20 random words under two minutes. That sounds crazy. Especially when the sentence looks like this:
Lost, Unit, Man, Sea, Table, Sky, Prophet, Boiling, Tambourine, Notepad, Government, Moisturizer, Biceps, Crocodile, PlayStation, Bed, School, Total, Mirror, Golf.
Have you read every word? Can you repeat everything? Not really? It’s Impossible.
Memory Championship Lance Tschirhart would beg to differ. He is the winner of the 21st USA Memory Champion. He cleared the competition by recalling 150 words before the time expired.
So how do they do that?
Lance Tschirhart might be an extreme example. But you’ll manage the first 20 words under two minutes. You’ll even recite the list backward by the end of this exercise. It’s easy.
Let me tell you about the technique used for centuries. Ancient Romans called it the Loci Method. I’ll simplify the original a bit.
Your memory performs better in certain conditions. Our brains process and plant everything in our environment. It’s on you to dig out the stored information. It gets easier if you plant the cues together with the words we’re trying to recall.
How to plant cues?
First, add numbers to your list.
Then try to pair those words with unusual adjectives. The goal is to create imagery in your head. Number + unusual adjective + words = image. Image = easy recall.
Do something like this. I challenge you to make up your own sequence after reading this post.
- flying puppy
- shaved units
- headless men
- purple sea
- rusty tables
- drunk diamonds
- unwise prophets
- boiling frogs
- hairy tambourines
- honest governments
You’ve got the gist of it. Create your own list.
The last step, create the story.
1 flying puppy is searching for 2 shaved units but finds 3 headless men, they pass the 4 purple sea on 5 rusty tables and grab 6 drunk diamonds cursed by 7 unwise prophets with 8 boiling frog pets, they play 9 hairy tambourines to 10 honest governments.
You see, it’s easy to imagine this in your head.
Again: Number + unusual adjective + word = retainable story.
I challenge you to finish the list above. It’s fun. Involve your family or friends to quiz you afterward. Try to remember the words backward.
The lesson from this exercise also works with recalling bigger chunks of information. Paragraphs. Find one unusual word that invokes imagery in your mind. Associate those words to the paragraph. Create a mental map. Try to imagine it in a picture story. And viola, under a minute, you’ve got yourself another road to remembering stuff.
Triple Your Reading Speed
There are similar approaches to drag-a-pen exercise. I’ll simplify.
It all comes down to forcing yourself to read fast for a few minutes. After the initial 5minute exercise, your brain will load information faster. Your thoughts will have less space and time to intrude. And you’ll slip into a deep state of focus.
The only downside is that such reading is not fun. I wouldn’t recommend reading bedtime fiction this way.
It works well with nasty deadlines. Especially when you’re nowhere near scooping the research.
First, practice your periphery. Walk around the house and try to notice items that are not in your direct line of sight. Get comfortable with the idea. Name kitchen appliances while gazing at the cabinets. Then, find something to read. Try to absorb at least 3 words at the time. Don’t.Read.Word.By.Word.
For some reason, women tend to master this step easier than men.
Second, get a pen and a timer. Sit down. Position the paper or a screen in front of you. Now, slowly drag the pen under the text until your eyes get comfortable with following the pen. Then set the timer to 3minutes.
Drag the pen like a maniac, as fast as your fingers can pull. Don’t let anyone see you do this. It looks ridiculous. Don’t worry about not getting any of the text. Push that pen until 3minutes has come to an end.
You’ll notice that it’s impossible to verbalize words in your head while reading this fast. Don’t forget this feeling, and try to channel it every time you read. Push yourself not to verbalize. Bite your tongue if you have to.
Then start reading at your average pace. You’ll notice reading much faster.
Tim Ferris said, “It’s like dropping a car from 70mph to 50mph. Everything seems much slower.”
Do this exercise for 5minutes before every extensive research.
Using both methods guarantees to quadruple your reading speed. It also ensures you’ll recall way more than before.
Pair these techniques to become a memory machine.
And don’t forget, enjoy your fiction as slow as you want. There is no point in hurrying up the fun.