How to read know more in less time?

I just don’t have the time to read is something we hear all the time. With our busy lives, it has become almost impossible to sit down with an informative book and read at a stretch. And yet, we live in the knowledge economy, where knowledge equals success, and reading has benefits that enrich your mind and empower your soul.

Here are some reading hacks that can help if you read to gain knowledge. Before we dive into the hacks, let’s nail the two biggest barriers to reading: time and attention. Time as a barrier to reading is best expressed in the oft-heard phrase, I love to read, but I just do not get the time. The second barrier to reading, declining attention span, is not articulated very often, but each one of us faces this reading barrier. Thanks to smartphones and their incessant alerts, we are losing our ability to pay attention or stay focused.

So, in the face of such formidable barriers to reading, how do you take the time out to read? Let’s look at some reading hacks.

  1. 1. Read short format content: Stop being over-ambitious about trying to finish a 350- page book. Instead start with 200- to 300-word articles that you can read in about 2 to 3 minutes. (The average reading speed of humans is 300 words per minute). No, reading Facebook posts on how the goat smoked a cigar does not count as ‘short format’; in fact, it does not count as reading at all.
  2. 2. Read for knowledge: Instead of focusing on how many books and in what time? ask yourself What life, success, or career insights can I gain from reading? If those insights come from a review or a summary, grab them. Use short format content aggregators like Curiosity, Flipboard, and book summary services.
  3. 3. Curated newsletters: There have been days when I have read high-quality short format content within my mailbox itself! Thanks to newsletters curated by experts and media houses. These newsletters are put together by experts who spend entire days reading interesting stuff, and they then share these using newsletters that give you a quick glimpse. And in most cases, these curated newsletters are free.
  4. 4. Audio books and podcasts: You listen to music often, right? Have you tried listening to audio books (paid) and podcasts (free)? After all, remember, you read to gain knowledge or relax your mind, rather than to flaunt the ‘number of books’.
  5. 5. Leverage idle time: Do not ‘plan’ your reading. If you think tonight is the night when you will snuggle into bed with Zero to One by Peter Thiel, then, in all likelihood, you will be asleep before you finish reading five pages! Instead, keep newsletter, podcasts, and other such short-format content accessible on your phone. Whenever you get idle time, waiting for the bus, or for a colleague, just take out your phone (that’s the easy part), ignore the Instagram app icon (that’s the difficult part) and start reading or listening to some great quality content -- content that will help you succeed in life.

Remember, you do not need to read more to know more.

Gaurav Gupta is a startup entrepreneur in the space of Attention Economy reading content