When you stop learning you stop being as useful. This is especially true in any tech-related fields, marketing, writing, filmmaking, content creation, health, and pretty much anything else.
I read to learn most of the time but I also read to enjoy a story. I’m reading The Stand by Stephen King right now. I highly suggest checking it out if you’re a Stephen King fan.
It doesn’t matter if you want to increase the information you take in to learn more or read more interesting stories. I do it for both and it works well for both.
Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary. — Jim Rohn
Reading faster with books is the most common way people like to increase their speed they take in information. “Speed reading” has been a thing for many years. Someone can go through a book and take in the majority of the information and actually retain it by essentially skimming through it.
This can be done with fiction or nonfiction and is something I’ve only recently begun working on. I’ve done all the other methods in this article for years though.
Speed reading isn’t always ideal for some people. For example, I wouldn’t speed read your contracts but I speed-read a lot of Medium articles now, and website blogs.
Here’s how it works
Skimming over words allows you to get the gist and with practice the majority of information you’re reading.
- Practice speed reading or skimming often
- It’s not every other word but rather important words in each sentence
- Great for dialogue & bad for action scenes
It’s all about getting practice in. If you work on this skill it will become useful in your daily life. When just starting out it will likely feel weird and you may feel like you’re missing a lot of information. You will pick it up the more your practice.
Just think, you’ve read the traditional way for X years. (replace X with however many years you’ve known how to read) It’s not easy to change something you’ve known for a long time. Practice, practice, practice!
Let me first mention you shouldn’t speed read essential writing. Things like contracts, proposals, and anything else that is legally binding, make you money or has you spend money.
Speed reading Medium articles, books, and blog posts is fine. Beyond that, I speed read a lot of signs, menus, billboards, and other quick forms of reading in the world.
As with nonfiction and really everything in this article, you will get better with practice so practice often!
With Audiobooks & Podcasts
Audible audiobooks and most podcast providers offer you the ability to speed them up.
Here’s the Audible player at 2.0x speed (it goes up to 3.0x)
Here’s the Apple Podcasts it goes up to 2.0x speed.
Audiobooks are professionally recorded and edited recordings. There is no background noise and there’s one voice talking at a time. This means audiobooks are a great way to start speeding up what you’re listening to before moving to podcasts. A lot of podcasts have multiple people talking at the same time sometime so it can be hard to follow if you’re not used to quicker audio.
With Audible you’re able to speed books up in intervals of .1 all the way to 3.0. That’s exactly what I’d suggest you start. Go from 1.0 to 1.1 then 1.2 and so on.
If you want to do bigger jumps then feel free, of course! I only did 1.0 to 1.5 to 2.0 then 2.5 and finally 3.0. While 2.5 and 3.0 are fine for me, they may be too fast for some people to enjoy and absorb the information or story. Just speed up to what you find comfortable and maybe try to push the speed up every few months and see what you think.
Remember, the goal is to optimize and improve the rate at which you take in information. If you’re uncomfortable with the speed or you’re having trouble retaining the info then maybe your optimal speed was a bit lower. Every mind is different and that’s more than okay.
Some podcasts are one person talking, some are two, and when it comes to Critical Role its 7 to 8 people talking at the same time playing D&D.
The main challenge with speeding up a podcast is that more than one person is usually talking. Not always at the same time but in quick succession. This can cause a lot of confusion or in some cases for you to totally miss what both people are saying if they talk at the same time.
Unlike Audible, Apple Podcasts only allows you to go from 1.0 to 1.5 to 2.0. I was able to just start out at 2.0 because I’d been listening to audiobooks at 3.0 for a while.
Give yourself some time to acclimate to the speed and number of people talking.
Video is a lot more situational. Any talking head video or pretty much podcast style videos with graphics can all be quickened with no issues up to 2.0 which is what YouTube supports.
Any David Dobrik video shouldn’t be watched at a quicker pace because they’re clips with a lot going on in quick succession.
I watch YouTube a lot during the day while I’m working. I’d say about 50% of the videos I watch are sped up to 2x and they make perfect sense while I can keep up with the graphics on screen while still working.
When I first started doing this productivity would be lost either watching and listening to the videos or my work but once I got used to it, it evened out pretty well.
If you’re watching videos only and it’s a good video to speed up then I always speed them up. I watch a lot of Think Media and Video Influencers since content creation is a lot of what I do for work. They’re great to watch sped up while doing something else (like cooking) or when focusing because they’re mostly just talking head videos.
Wrapping It Up
This may not be for everyone. I realize that. It’s something I’ve been practicing for a long time now and it’s helped me learn a lot in a short amount of time so I wanted to share it with you guys.
Do you guys already do some of these things? If not, do you think it’s something you could get into? Why or why not?
Happy Easter Sunday if you celebrate it! Much love to all of you.