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Step One: Prepare Your Materials

I would recommend that you batch your reading and put larger documents aside to read during a single sitting. Schedule an appointment with yourself to get through them. I like to use the time on airplanes to get through my reading pile.

Or, you could use any time that, for you, lends itself to good concentration. It’s hard to focus on reading when you should be sleeping. You’ll end up rereading the same paragraphs over and over, and it will take you an excessively long time if you don’t give up.

Now, when you reach the appointed time, gather your documents along with a pen, a highlighter, and some sticky notes.

Step Two: Prepare Your Mind

If you can, try to retreat to an empty area or conference room so that you’re interrupted as little as possible. I like to put on my Bose noise-canceling headset so that I can focus, don’t have to talk to the person next to me, and don’t hear the screaming baby.

Make the mental decision that you are going to attentively read your materials. Don’t anticipate how terrible it’s going to be, or groan inwardly. Think positively and set goals around what you plan to accomplish or learn by the end of your reading session.

Step Three: Situate Your Body

Sit down with your spine straight and your feet comfortably on the floor. Don’t hunch your shoulders. Take a few deep breaths to get oxygen to your brain. Try to relax your facial muscles, even turning up the corners of your mouth to match your positive attitude, of course.

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