I’ve been doing a lot of downloading lately.
No no, not that kind of downloading. Everything is perfectly legal.
What I mean is, I’ve been consuming a lot of information – in podcasts, in books and in courses – and I’ve been doing my best to actually implement those things into my life.
Out of everything I’ve been taking in lately, there’s one focus, one new skill that has me the most excited.
Because it will have a dramatic effect on not only the success of my business, but many other aspects of my life too.
After only 3 days of practicing the methods and strategies taught to me, I can already see that this one new skill will:
1. Help me earn more time.
How much time?
I’m calculating approximately 200 hours per year, which is equivalent to five 40-hour work weeks. And there’s potential for more.
Imagine what you could do with an extra month of time in your calendar year.
2. Help me learn and execute faster.
In a very Neo-like fashion (that’s a reference from The Matrix in case you didn’t know), I’ll be able to more quickly consume information, understand it, and then put it to use.
3. Allow me to help others even more.
My audience, readers and subscribers, but also my family, friends and people all around the world.
So what’s this new skill?
Perhaps you’ve guessed it already, but if not, it’s speed reading.
Why Reading Faster is Important
In the past I’ve talked about the importance of becoming efficient and shaving time (even seconds) off of repetitive tasks because over time, those tiny tasks can add up.
For example, us bloggers – we type. We type a lot. I’m typing right now, and as soon as you begin your next blog post or even as you start writing a comment below, you’ll be typing too.
Slower typers have a disadvantage. We don’t think about this very often when we’re building our online business, but it’s true.
Two years ago, I took a typing test to see how fast I could type. I remember scoring 75 words per minute. Not too bad.
I haven’t tested in a while, but I just took a 2-minute break from writing this post to see what my score was, and I finished at 94 words per minute…a 25.3% improvement.
You can test yourself here, and just in case you need proof, here’s my badge!
Some of my blog posts are up to 5000 words in length. At my old rate (75 WPM), for a blog post of that length, that’s 66 minutes and 40 seconds of just typing. Of course, most of the time we don’t type a blog post straight through. We pause to think. We delete parts and start over. We structure. It’ll take much longer to craft a blog post, however for the purpose of this example, just think about your actual time spent tapping away on your keyboard.
At my new rate (94 WPM), I’ll spend only 53 minutes and 11 seconds tapping away.
Just typing faster saves me 13 minutes and 29 seconds. At one blog post per week, that’s 11 hours and 41 minutes saved in a year.
Again, you may not be writing 5000 words in a blog post per week – but that’s not the point. Think about the emails you write, the comments and other things that require you to type. You’re likely to type even more words each and every single day.
To save a ton of time, invest in a 47 minute course on typing fundamentals like this one, and you’ll get that time, plus a whole lot more back as you continue to type more efficiently.
Okay – back to speed reading.
Like with typing, we read every single day. You’re reading this right now, and there are countless other things to read in a single day: emails, news articles, books, instructions, paperwork, etc.
I recently stumbled upon an amazing person named Jim Kwik, who I actually heard for the first time as a guest on Shawn Stevenson’s podcast, The Model Health Show.
Note: Shawn was a recent guest of ours in SPI Podcast Session #125.
Jim Kwik is a learning expert. I stumbled upon one of his YouTube videos about learning to read faster, which I’ve embedded for you later in this post to watch.
Since then, I’ve watched most of his other videos and have become obsessed with the idea of reading faster.
In a Forbes article featuring Jim, he talks about how reading fast is an incredible superpower, and I agree.
Reading faster means learning faster, which means being able to make a difference faster.
The article even mentions that Warren Buffet once said, “I’ve probably wasted ten years reading slowly.”
Speed reading, however, isn’t a new concept to me. When I was younger, I remember seeing commercials on T.V. with these experts who said they could help us read faster in just a few minutes.
It was appealing to me at that age because I wanted to get through my textbooks faster and go play Quake 2 or Command and Conquer on my PC.
On the commercials I’d see a man who would demonstrate his speed reading abilities by flipping open a book, brushing his hand down a page for just a few seconds, and then flip to the next page and do the hand thing again.
After 30 seconds, he would claim that he was done with Chapter 1.
How was I supposed to believe this person?!
Maybe it was legit, but then, of course, came the pitch and the part of the commercial where I couldn’t do anything because I didn’t have a credit card.
Plus, no C.O.Ds.
Jim’s tutorial, however, was very easy to follow and understand. It’s well-produced and gave me everything I needed to know without asking me to pay for anything.
Plus, it gave me incredible motivation to actually give it a shot.
What really got me thinking (especially because my son just started pre-school and is learning how to read too), was when Jim asked: “When was the last time you took a course on reading?”
For most of us, it was probably in elementary or grade school. The school system teaches us these incredible things as we grow older, but they don’t teach us how to read and learn faster beyond elementary school level.
I found out that my crutch was that I was reading as fast as I could talk, because I was saying the words in my head as I went along. That’s how I learned, and it never changed.
After testing myself using Jim’s strategies (actually, it’s just one tactic that takes just moments to practice), I found myself reading 46% faster in just a few minutes.
He gave me a quick win (no pun intended) with incredible results, and now I’m hooked and stoked to practice to get even faster.
Skip the viral videos on YouTube this weekend, and spend your time watching this video instead.
Follow along and do the tests with him.
(Click Here to Watch it on YouTube)
Tip: On YouTube, you can watch it at 1.5x or 2x speed to get through it faster. 😉
Retention and Understanding
Okay, so faster is one thing, but what about retention and understanding?
It’s pointless to read faster if you can’t understand and recall what you’ve just read.
I tested this method again on a new book I’m reading called Conscious Capitalism, by John Mackey (the co-CEO of Whole Foods) and Raj Sisodia. [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]
I read the introduction the old way at a rate of about 25 lines per minute, which equates to 192 WPM.
After using the technique Jim teaches for Chapter 1 of my book, I read at a rate of about 35 lines per minute, which equates to 280 WPM.
That’s a 46% increase in WPM (and it’s getting faster and faster as I practice) and not only does that shave a ton of time off my reading, but I actually understood the content even more, and can remember more of it!
It’s weird to say, but I felt more “in tune” with the book, and there in the story too.
Jim explains why this happens in the video as well.
Jim is a great teacher and motivator, and I hope to watch him speak live in person someday, or maybe even get him on the podcast to teach us more of these underrated superpower skills that can make a huge and dramatic difference in our lives.
Watch the video, and let me know what you think in the comment section below.
When we read faster, we’ll be able to consume much more information and actually have the time (and understanding) to take action on them.
Don’t do this for you, do this for those you can help.
Update: Since drafting this post earlier this week, I’ve been able to clock in at just under 400 WPM, and I’m still able to retain all of that information. Jim Kwik, if you’re reading this, thank you!