It’s fun to Photoread

Yesterday I spent almost all day trying to read up whatever I could on photoreading and then tried to practice it. I was never a quick reader as I have this obsessive need to read every single word in a book. While that was quite all right if I were to read fictions since it’s leisure reading, it doesn’t make any sense that I need to go through all the information from business related books when it’s not relevant.

That’s why I decided to learn photoreading to absorb as much as I could in the fastest time and also to take the stress out from reading. I literally have tons of books and magazines that I’ve bought over the years and never had the time to go through them all.

Photoreading is surprisingly simple to learn. It just that we need a little bit of patience and practice to master the skills. Besides, after taking NLP courses, I’ve learned to trust my unconscious mind more than ever to remember all the things that I’ve learned. I believe when I need to access the information stored in my brain, my unconscious mind will get it for me. How I wish I knew NLP and photoreading when I was in school doing my exams.

Anyway, here are the steps to follow if you want to learn photoreading:

<strong>1. Clarify your purpose: </strong>For you to capture the information you read effectively, you need to consciously state a clear sense of purpose or desired outcome. By doing this, your unconscious mind will remember that and it will focus on the information that you want to obtain from reading. Of course if it’s luxury reading, you don’t necessarily need to do photoreading but it helps you speed up your reading by chunking it.

<strong>2. Relax: </strong>Get yourself in a relaxed state of mind. Close your eyes and take a couple of deep breaths before you begin to read. This will heighten your alertness and focus.

<strong>3. Preview: </strong>This will take about 5-10 minutes depending on how thick the book is. You’re basically flipping through the pages of the book to get the sense of its structure, not so much of the content. Here, your mind will gather a list of key terms or trigger words relevant to the purpose of your reading. Feel free to jot the trigger words down on a piece of paper if you want to. Your mind will be alerted to explore more thoroughly on these core concepts later on.

Since I’m still new to this, I actually previewed the book twice before moving on to photoread.

<strong>4. Photoread: </strong>Here is where we need to soften our eyes to expand our peripheral vision. Imagine your eyes are the lens of a camera, looking at the pages as a whole rather than narrowing down to individual words. In NLP, I learned that when you expand your peripheral vision, you’re opening up your unconscious mind to allow direct exposure of visual stimuli to your brain. Start flipping through the pages. Consciously, it’s a blur but your unconscious mind have already picked up all the information ready to be accessed later when you need it. At this stage, you’re typically going one page per second.

As a beginner, I was going at 2-3 seconds per page and repeating this step twice. Just take your time.

<strong>5. Activate: </strong>At this stage, we need to ask the mind questions and revisit the parts of the text which we felt drawn to earlier. We can super read the important and relevant parts of the book by scanning quickly. If you prefer, you can go into more focused reading to comprehend the details. Mindmapping is another way to activate your mind of what you just photoread. During activation, you’re relating the texts with your conscious awareness.

This is the step that you can repeat each time you want to access the information you need from your reading. Once you have mastered the skill of photoreading, you can go as fast as 5 minutes per book. To me, cutting down half of my reading time is already an achievement.

I found this YouTube video where the British mentalist Derren Brown provides an astounding demonstration of what someone could achieve with photoreading. Well, we’ll give Derren the benefit of the doubt and assume this isn’t some sort of trick. IMpressive either way, though. It’s only about four minutes long and definitely worth a look, so check it out:

The No.1 Mistake Professionals Make That Can Ruin Their Health

It’s useless to talk about any of that if we don’t first talk about managing your time. And the first step towards managing time is learning to plan. Having a consistent time of the week and a regular system to plan your schedule is critical.

And it would seem that if you are good at time management, you ‘d be able to find the time for self-care. Why is it that so many people, even those with very good time management skills, struggle to consistently partake in the activities that lead to a healthier life?

If you feel that there are just not enough hours in the day, it will seem like a tall order to fit in exercise, cook healthy meals, get enough sleep, and manage your stress.

It may surprise you that one of the most common behavioral changes I work on with my clients concerns productivity and planning. As a wellness coach, the battle cry I hear most often is “I don’t have time to take care of myself.”

It’s because, energy management, not time management, is the key to extraordinary results in everything you do!

Sadly, the number one mistake even highly successful business professionals make is to shove these activities to the bottom of their daily to-do list; they only get to it if they can squeeze it into their already jammed-packed day. A steady diet of this habit, and you are on a path towards exhaustion, lack of focus, frustration and burn out.

I think you are getting what I mean. Look, it’s quite simple.

We get our energy from fueling ourselves with nutritious foods, exercising and moving our bodies consistently, and getting enough sleep. Taking time out to enjoy life refuels our tanks too! That is, spending time with family and friends, engaging in hobbies we love, and participating in spiritual practices such as church or temple-going, meditation, or even being out in nature.

Next, it’s time to fill in self-care: how many days a week do you want to exercise? Don’t forget to take into account travel time if you go off to a gym or exercise studio.

I know that once self-care is on your calendar, you will be feeling calmer, healthier, and more productive every day. You will be an expert in both energy management and time management.

When you sit down to plan and schedule your upcoming activities, the first things that should get blocked out are the non-negotiable standing appointments or time frames that you can not change.

Sometimes, even the best-planned schedule gets thrown off course by the unexpected. Move that appointment to another time, even if it’s your lunch break or workout.

If you learn to schedule self-care first, before filling up the other hours in your day, and stick to that plan, your energy and productivity will soar.

If you don’t have the energy to get through your day, it doesn’t matter how great you are at time management. You’ll burn out and won’t be able to apply those skills and follow through on your intentions.

Want to meditate a couple of times a week? Make those calls and get those appointments on your calendar right now. If you’ve been missing time with your best friend, text him or her saying you have an opening in your schedule for lunch on Monday or dinner on Tuesday night.

If you want to master energy management, self-care needs to be one of the very first things you schedule on your calendar each week.

For you, that might mean being at an office 9-5 Monday through Friday, driving the kids to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and attending soccer practice with your child on Saturday mornings. For me, it’s all my standing weekly coaching appointments, my once a month networking meeting, and Saturday date night with my husband. Those are the things that you are responsible for and are not willing to miss.

When is the best time to break for lunch? That might be a consistent daily time, or it may vary depending on your work and lifestyle. Taking a brief break and fueling your body and brain properly mid-day, will allow you to manage your energy and your time.

What doesn’t go on the calendar, doesn’t get done.