Robyn Pearce is a time management expert, helping people turn time challenges into high productivity and the life balance you desire. Visitwww.gettingagrip.com
In any large major metropolitan weekend paper we receive more material in one issue than the majority of people living in the 1700’s would have had access to in their entire lifetime (apart from the rich and well-educated). So don’t be surprised that you constantly feel overwhelmed.
The rate of new information available is doubling faster and faster. In the 1970s it doubled every 10 years, in the early 1980s it doubled every five and a half years, in the later 1980s it was doubling every 20 months, and by the year 2000 much information was redundant, passé, or out of date within three to six months.
It doesn’t mean that all information is redundant within six months – that of course would be nonsense. We may not always like it, but we have no power to change this rapid and escalating state of affairs. However, we do have power over our own behaviour, how we respond and how we adapt.
How much do you read?
The first thing I’d strongly suggest you look at is exactly what you spend your time reading. Do you read as much as you’d like, or as many of the books you’re interested in as you’d like? I was fortunate enough to do a speed reading course recently with Dr John Demartini, a very brilliant man and author of Count Your Blessings. He had us do a most awakening exercise, and I’d suggest you try it too. You only need a minute, and it will profoundly affect the way you look at your reading choices.
How many books do you read on average a month? Multiply that figure by 12.
How many years of life would you like to think you have left? Multiply the number of years by the number of books you can read in a year.
That figure is the likely number of books you’ll read in the rest of your life. How do you feel about that? And faced with that knowledge, are you happy with the selections you’re currently making?
A different way of reading
My biggest recommendation is to attend a rapid reading course (sometimes called speed reading). During the years I’ve attended three quite different programmes, all good, and my experience is that the most important element is the on-going practice. There are many good courses out there. I’ve listed some key points below, and for those who want to go deeper and try a few techniques on your own-you’ll find an expanded version on my website. It’s only to whet your appetite. You really need to attend a course to be pushed to significantly higher levels of competency.
Some rapid-reading keys
1. Read with purpose.
2. Start with the end in mind.
3. Have an expectation of success.
4. Do an audit on your words, and eliminate any negatives.
5. Sit upright and hold the book at a comfortable position.
6. Have good overhead light, fresh air, plenty of water, and a comfortable temperature.
7. Read from the back of your head (your visual cortex) through your eyes, not from your eyes.
8. Preview and review.
9. Use your finger, or sometimes two fingers, as a visual guide. One of the key elements of rapid reading is to use our finger at a very fast rate, running it down the page. We don’t need to read every word in order to comprehend and retain the information. All we need is chunks of text, and the sense is gathered at lightening speed.
10. Do eye and hand speed training to stretch your eyes’ and mind’s abilities.
11. Set yourself a daily target.
12. Practice, practice, practice.
13. Comprehension will come – believe it.
If you want to find out more, join Robyn at her ‘Getting A Grip Breakfast Club’ seminar at the Russley Golf Club on September 28, or December 7. Visit www.gettingagrip.com/breakfastclub to register.