If you’ve ever found yourself drooling onto the pages of a book after having read the same paragraph 20 times, you’ll need to learn to read in an effective, productive manner.
When reading non-fiction, the focus is on taking in information. Unlike fiction, where you want to immerse yourself in a story, non-fiction reading techniques are focused on getting the most out of such books. Simply put, you don’t read both kinds of books the same way.
Here are some tips to help you optimise and get the most out of your reading;
Get rid of distractions:
It sounds like common sense to eliminate as many distractions as possible when you’re trying to concentrate, especially if you’re sensitive to sensory inputs from all directions. To really be able to draw in everything you’re reading, go to a place where you know that you can focus well – a perfectly quiet room or the back of a cafe, as the white noise helps them focus and the human company keeps them from going mad. Find out what’s best for you, but ensure that your surroundings enhance the experience, instead of detracting from it.
Don’t read important materials when you’re tired:
This applies to school assignments, training manuals, invoices, receipts or legal drafts. If you’re tired and try to read something somewhat technical, you won’t absorb a thing. If you’re a morning person, then make a point of waking up 20-30 minutes early so you have some time to read before tackling the day. If you tend to be hyper-focused in the later afternoon or evening, set aside a block of time when you can be left alone so you can devote all your attention to the task at hand.
Underline, highlight, and annotate:
Some readers like to keep their books pristine. Be it a well-thumbed book, dog-eared, creased spines, or page markers of different colours littering the edge, it gives the feeling that the book has been read and cherished. That the reader intends to come back to the pages and go over those precious lines again.
Write a book review:
This might sound like a chore, but, hear me out: when you sit down to write a review immediately after you have finished reading the book, the emotions that ran through your head while reading will remain fresh in your memory. In the heat of the moment, you can accurately pen them down and save them for later.
Only read books you’re truly interested in:
This might not be the same for everyone, especially, if you have a very strict curriculum to adhere to, or if you absolutely have to read some work-related materials that are vital for your continued employment, but if you’re given a few different options to choose from, read the first chapter of each and see which one you’re most drawn to. You’ll be able to retain a lot more information if the subject matter has captured your attention, and if you actually care enough to find out how it all ends.
Books can be our best friends if you take them as such, so be sure to give them the attention they deserve. When you secure the knowledge, it will, in turn, give you a wealth of inspiration, knowledge, and growth.
Do you have any question or comment? Do share with us in the comment section.