The act of reading is widely considered one of the best ways to improve one’s professional and personal life. However, this can only be possible if you can recall insights from the books you read.
In other words, you are productive while reading when you can get the most out of each book, not when you read numerous books without remembering (unless you are reading solely for entertainment).
So, here are some tips to help you remember more of what you read.
1. Filter Your Reading
There are just too many books out there for you to read if you are not selective. The books you pick up to read need to stand out to improve your chances of remembering them.
You shouldn’t be tempted to:
- Select books because other people are raving about them
- Force yourself to finish every book you have started even though you don’t find them exciting or relevant
- Read all the best sellers or well-known classics, because it will only end up being an unproductive way of using your time.
You should instead filter your reading by favoring quality over quantity.
One effective way to accomplish this is skimming through the index, table of contents, chapter titles, and reading a few pages of the most interesting section. Within a few minutes, you should have a well-rounded idea of how good it is because high-quality books stick out.
2. Read Books That Can Be Helpful Now
Ask yourself, why do you want to read this particular book right now?
It is okay to read for entertainment or to learn more about general topics, but if you want to learn more from your books, you will have to determine the purpose of reading and how you can apply it.
You can achieve this by picking up books that can be useful now because putting new knowledge into practice is one of the best ways to remember more.
In addition, selecting a book relevant to your situation now will motivate you to focus while reading. By extension, it improves your chances of retaining core ideas.
For example, let’s say you are preparing a presentation and you want to improve your public speaking skills. Then picking up a book like “The Art of Public Speaking” by Dale Carnegie will provide a solid incentive to get the most out of it instead of reading a book on Quantum Physics.
While you might not be able to instantly practice all the insights from a relevant book, it will still improve your likelihood of remembering it.
3. Read During Your Peak Hours
To retain the most from the books you read, you should harness optimal productivity by reading during your peak hours.
When do you have the most amount of energy and concentration? Do you find it easier to accomplish your tasks early in the morning, or are you more focused when you burn the midnight candles? Using your chronotype to boost your reading productivity is a great way to boost your reading efficiency.
But if you want to improve your reading productivity, even more, you should try an effective time management method called the Pomodoro Technique.
If you are like most people, then you probably find it hard to maintain your focus while doing tasks for hours. The Pomodoro Technique entails working in short sprints of 25 minutes and taking 5-minute breaks in between.
You can use these 5-minute breaks to do any non-work-related activities like checking Facebook or calling a friend. To start using this technique, you can download Toggl Track on your smartphone or use the web-based version.
This time tracking app has a Pomodoro Technique setting with reminders and reporting tools that will help you to improve your focus while reading.
4. Listen to Your Books on the Go
Audiobooks provide you with some incredible benefits like convenience and accessibility; they allow you to enjoy your books while commuting or cleaning the house. But audiobooks can also help you remember more of your books through repetition because ideas need to be repeated to be remembered.
If you have ever picked up a really great book, chances are you have read it a couple of times, which has helped you retain more and make discoveries you had not noticed before.
With an App like Audible, you can conveniently listen and re-listen to your favorite books on the go and even focus on particular chapters you might need to remember. It also allows you to own all your audiobooks in your library even after canceling your subscription. Try Audible and make full use of your subscription with these insider tips.
5. Refresh Your Memory Using Book Summary Services
What if you only want to refresh your memory with the key ideas of the books you have read? Then you can rely on book summary services like Blinkist.
Even some of the best books out there are often filled with repetitive parts or entire pages with stories to provide context. While this might be helpful for your first read, you will save more time by reading or listening to condensed versions to refresh your mind.
In most cases, you only need to remember the core ideas of the books you read. Blinkist can help you cut to the chase by instantly gaining access to the vital insights of your books.
Gain More Insight From Each Book You Read
Actively reading to remember certainly requires a lot of effort, but the benefits will last a lifetime. Practicing these tips will help you to learn more from all your books.
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