What If You Could Write Faster, Read Faster, Listen Faster, Watch Faster, and Think Faster?

Please don’t abuse the knowledge I’m about to bestow on you.

I don’t want to increase your stress levels.

I don’t want you to cram more in to your life just because you can.

Sometimes it’s important to slow down instead of speed up.

  • Slow down when you are spending time with your family.
  • Slow down when you’re enjoying a sunset or a sunrise.
  • Slow down when you are making an important decision, or pondering the meaning of life.

That said, the benefits of doing things faster are many.

For me, I’ve found that doing things faster is a real time saver.

  • I can put more of the things I enjoy into every day.
  • I can get the boring but necessary bits out of the way faster.
  • I can work through my to-do list faster to make more time for breaks and fun.

So here’s my list of 5 ways to do things faster.

1. Write faster

If you could write faster, would that improve your productivity and save you time?

I was lucky, I took touch typing in high school back when the typewriters had 30 characters on a tiny one-line screen.

I now comfortably type at 60-70 words per minute.

I used A4 journals for years that I used to hand-write notes from meetings with clients and ideas that came me. Now I have an iPad mini with a keyboard which is faster, easier to read later, and automatically stores those notes in the cloud.

Writing things down in a meeting shows that I’m paying attention, and that I value what the other people are saying.

Are you one of those people who pecks away at their keyboard with 1 or 2 fingers?

Do you find yourself hammering away and then glancing up at the screen after a few words to check for mistakes?

You are wasting your time. Typing software like Typing Master is free. With 10 minutes of training a day for a month or 2, you could get your typing speed up to 60 words per minute.

Now that is a return on investment.

2. Read faster

I enjoy reading fiction for entertainment (I’m a huge Jack Reacher fan), but business books are my thing.

I’ve read 140+ over the last 8 years. Perhaps you’ve already read some of my summaries of my favourite 80+ business books?

What got me started was an interest in doing an MBA.

I found PersonalMBA.com where, the author, Josh Kaufman said “don’t do an MBA, read my list of 99 business books instead”.

So I did.

The first book in the series was “10 days to faster reading” by Abby Marks Beale.

A good place to start when you’ve got millions of words to read!

To my shame it took me 14 days to read this book, not 10.

But it did increase my comprehension to 80-90% and my reading speed to 300-450 words per minute.

If you find yourself re-reading the same page or paragraph over and over, or never making a dent in your reading list, then why not double your reading speed by finding that book, or doing one of the online courses from her RevItUpReading.com website.

That’s another great return on investment.

3. Listen faster

What do you listen to when you drive between work and home everyday?

I went through a period where I listened to podcasts every day when I rode my bike to and from work, and now I listen to audiobooks.

To listen to podcasts all you need is a smartphone, some headphones and a search of iTunes to find a podcast to subscribe to.

Listening to audiobooks is a bit more complicated. You need a subscription to audible.com ($15/month), and you can’t make purchases inside the app, you have to go to the audible website, make the purchase and then it’ll appear in your Audible library on your smartphone (they avoid paying Apple a commission on every sale this way).

I started at 1.0x speed, and progressed to 1.25x speed, and then 1.5x speed and now 2.0x speed.

This means I can get through an 8 hour audiobook in 4 hours which is 12 x 20 minute bike rides = 6 days.

What I haven’t told you is that I listen to audiobooks twice.

Yes, that’s right, I listen audiobooks at 2.0x speed, twice.

That’s because, when I’m reading a book I make highlights and notes.

But I can’t do that when I’m listening to a book while I’m riding along at 20kph.

I find that for the knowledge to really sink in, I need to listen to it twice.

My advice: During your daily commute, turn off your radio or music, and listen to podcasts or audiobooks instead. Work your way up to 2.0x speed.

(You might be thinking “I listen to the radio for fun, to unwind, don’t take that away from me!”. Relax, just try it.)

4. Watch faster

I haven’t watched “TV” for a few years (I can’t stand the ads), but I watch a lot of video: Netflix for TV shows, movies and documentaries, lot’s of YouTube, and I’m a superfan of TED videos (I’ve watched 1600 of them and hold the licence for the annual TEDxTauranga).

Did you know that you can watch any video on YouTube or any TED video at 1.25x speed, 1.5x speed or 2.0x speed?

Click on the “cog” for the speed settings and try it out.

1.5x speed is quite comfortable and it means I can watch a 15 minute TED talk in 10 minutes (you can’t speed up TED videos when watching via a smartphone app yet though).

You can also speed up Netflix! But only if you watch via the Chrome browser on a desktop/laptop because you need to install a Chrome Plugin called Video Speed Controller which allows you to increment the speed in 0.1 increments via a keyboard shortcut (in fact it works for all videos viewed in the Chrome browser).

I’ve found that 1.3 speed is fine for TV shows and Movies. I audio is fine, and I only notice that it’s sped up when characters are walking down a street. They look like they are walking unnaturally fast.

My advice: If you watch a lot of video content, experiment with adjusting the speed to save you time.

5. Think faster

Thinking faster is really about making better decisions.

The path to making better decisions is:

  1. Getting clear on what your goals are
  2. Listing the actions you need to take to achieve those goals
  3. Prioritising that list on factors such as:
    • It’s likely impact
    • It’s likely financial cost
    • It’s likely time commitment
    • The resources it will consume and their availability
  4. Delegating the items on the to-do list to people you trust

This is precisely the process I take my clients through.

In my work as a Marketing Advisor for Small-Medium sized business, I actually only do these 5 things all day, every day:

  1. Asking questions
  2. Listening
  3. Reading
  4. Thinking
  5. Communicating (verbally and in writing)

That’s pretty much it.

That’s how I create value.

That’s how I solve problems for my clients, that’s how I generate ideas.

That’s why I’m always looking for ways to be better at those 5 things.

If you think I can help you with your business, find out more about how I can help.

I have capacity for 1 more client for a June 2017 start (I work with a maximum of 5 clients at a time), so if you know someone who needs my help, tell them to give me a call: 021 128 5046.

Your Thoughts?

Were these tips helpful? Which tips will you try? What are your skills? Have your say in the comments section.

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