By Patrick Allan
You’ve been putting off reading that book for weeks, and you’re supposed to have read it all by tomorrow. Whether you’re cramming for school, or trying to avoid looking like a lazy bum in your book club, don’t lose hope. You can power through that tome without forgetting everything and coming away with nothing.
Reading an entire book in a matter of hours may seem daunting, but it all comes down to simple math. The average adult reads around 200-400 words per minute. The average novel ranges between 60,000 and 100,000 words total. If your reading speed is right in the middle of the pack at 300 words per minute, and you’re reading a middle-of-the-pack novel at around 80,000 words, you’ll be able to knock it out in around five hours or less.
That might seem like a lot, but it’s totally possible. And you can do it without any skimming or speed reading trickery, which can be bad when it comes to truly absorbing information. For the most part, it’s possible to read at your usual pace, absorb information at your brain’s preferred rate, and all you have to do is buckle down, make the time, and get started as soon as possible.
Distraction is your enemy. Anything that can pull your attention away from your book is going to increase the amount of time you need to finish. The internet, sounds, screens, games, pets, toys, friends, and random people you don’t know are all trying to pull you away from those words. Even as I write this, sitting in the airport, I’m constantly catching myself people watching and losing focus.
Separate yourself from everything. Lock yourself in a room with a pair of earplugs, go to the most uninhabited spot in your library, throw down a blanket in a low-traffic section of the park. Heck, if you have no other place to go, hide away in your car (as long as it’s not too hot). Think of how much solitude you’ll need, then double it. If you can’t get away from distracting sounds, reach for a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, or do what Emerson Spartz, owner and operator of the Harry Potter fan siteMugglenet, suggests and listen to white noise. According to Spartz finds that listening to white noise helps him keep focused, and even helps him read a little faster.
Read the rest here.