9 Productive Reading Tips to Improve Your Skills

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Reading improves productivity, especially if done daily. However, how you read matters as well. Even if you only read one book per month but are productive in the act, you’re better off than someone else who reads many books every month just for the sake of reading. Just as we learned to read as kids, we can perfect it more using productive reading tips. As I desired to be more productive in my life, I learned how to become a more productive reader. And you can do it too using the following tips.

1. Be Conscious of Why You’re Reading

When you read, you should have a purpose. Broadly speaking, you can either read to learn or for leisure. This article won’t focus much on the leisure part but on the learning. Always, you have to acknowledge why you’re reading so you can ensure the right mindset for productive reading.

2. Think on Page

While reading, you need to keep absorbing the information by questioning it, interpreting it, and conceptualizing it. This may seem like a hard task, but it’s not – at least with time. You’ll likely remember the information more when evaluating and establishing perspectives of the main information the author coveys.

3. Create Notes with To-Dos

Productive Reader Create Notes With To Dos

To embrace a productive reader mindset, you need to not only create notes but also tasks to accomplish so you can understand the information further or apply the ideas stated in the material you read. This way, you don’t just regurgitate what the author has said. You intentionally choose to work on what you’ve read whether it has fully captured a topic or not. Discovering more information or working on what you’ve learned will boost your productivity.

4. Understand the Author’s Perspective

Productive reading isn’t blind to perspectives. Just like you should consider different perspectives when sourcing ideas in a meeting, you should get to understand why the author thinks in a certain manner. This will help you avoid confirmation bias – mindlessly believing information because it favors your beliefs. It’ll also enhance your critical thinking and emotional intelligence, both of which improve productivity.

5. Dig Deeper into Multifaceted Sources on the Same Topic

Productive Reader Dig Deeper

After understanding the author’s perspective, you need to check out other people’s perspectives as well. For instance, history has variations of some facts because it happened from different points of view. To become smarter because of reading, you shouldn’t just read one book on a topic. Find information in references, related material, and even contradicting perspectives. These help you understand a concept well enough to squeeze out valid conclusions of your own.

6. Apply the Feynman’s Technique

Feynman’s technique has not only helped me stay conscious of my levels of understanding of different concepts but also made me a more productive reader. This technique helps you understand a subject deeply by determining your understanding of a subject based on your ability to explain it simply and fluently to someone who doesn’t know a thing about the subject. If you practice it, you’ll realize not just a desire to skim information you want to learn but will also gain the willpower to do more and understand a concept clearly.

7. Journal About What You’ve Read

Productive Reader Journal

Journaling is a powerful productivity strategy. It helps retain information in your brain and also on your writing pad – both excellent sources of reference. If some of the most influential men and women in history didn’t journal their ideas, findings, and perspectives, we wouldn’t know much about the humanity that preceded us. Reading about how you felt about something you read in the past can provide you or someone else with creative solutions essential to living a productive life in the future.

8. Share Your Reading Experiences with Others

Getting someone to discuss what you’ve read can help you retain information more and stay accountable for lessons you’ve chosen to commit to. Therefore, get into bookclubs or exchange reading experiences with friends — whatever gets you to keep the conversation going and increase your productivity.

9. Keep a Commonplace Book

Productive Reader Commonplace Book

A commonplace book is a resource center where you can jot down all quotes, ideas, anecdotes, and other information worth keeping. This is for future use, whether you’re writing a book, preparing a presentation, strategizing a project, or other uses vital to you. Keep in mind that it’s different from a journal, so keeping both would be great.

Finally, read more and productively so. The above fundamental tips to becoming a more productive reader have helped me gain more out of my information pursuits, and they can do the same for you. Remember to practice these tips often so that they become a habit. I haven’t perfected some myself, but I’m on my way there.

Which tactic do you use to enhance reading productivity? Let’s talk in the comments section below! Also, before you go, check out How to Focus on Reading to ensure you’re really into what you’re reading – always.

Ade Kiseu

Ade is a health & wellness freelance writer for individuals as well as organizations mainly in the mental health industry. She loves exploring self-improvement, practicing smarter ways of working and living.