One of the biggest time wasters that many of us struggle with is reading. For myself, reading is a large part of my job and life. I read technical books and articles to find solutions to the problems I'm working on or to keep up with recent technologies and ideas. I read software code to find bugs, learn new and better ways of writing applications, or to familiarize myself with an application in order to add more code. I also read books and blogs to learn more about my interests, to better myself, and to keep up with the things going on in the world around me. Therefor, by increasing my reading speed, I take a great step to maximizing productivity and enjoyment. Does your situation sound similar?
Think about this. If you read an average of three hours per day, and you double your reading speed, how much extra time will you have each week? Over TEN extra hours per week! The average work day is only 8-9 hours. That is quite a gain. Now think about how much time you would save if you increased your reading speed MORE than double. Well, it is possible.
If you are truly interested in increasing your reading speed, whether it be for saving time or simply reading more books for enjoyment, Tim Ferris has recently released an article, Scientific Speed Reading: How to Read 300% Faster in 20 Minutes, where he explains the method he uses to help others achieve great gains in their reading speeds. Personally, I had to try it. C'mon, it's free! And the most you can lose is 20 minutes of your time.
I took 20 minutes and gave a good-faith effort to follow his instructions verbatim. My base rate was calculated at 210 words/minute, which I thought was surprisingly low. It's actually within the 200-300 WPM that he calls average for the US. After the hand full of practice exercises, which took me just under 20 minutes, I calculated my reading speed at 420 WPM, exactly double my original calculation. That's pretty impressive.
Understand, however, that you will only maintain your reading speed if you continue practicing your speed reading techniques and reading regularly. Eventually, it will become a habit.
Let me know your experience with speed reading.