You may feel that you never have enough time to invest, but I believe otherwise. By utilizing time better and eliminating unnecessary distractions, you could increase the amount of time you spend analyzing a company.
Warning: You will be at risk of being called a geek.
1. Learn to Speed Read
What I want is to greatly improve the speed of my reading while still comprehending everything that I’ve read.
You may want to be a faster runner, so you practice and work at it to increase efficiency, or since you are reading this blog, you want to be a better investor, so you try to improve your skills.
Reading is the same, but a majority of people never realize.
Currently I can read about 400 wpm (words per minute) with a comprehension of 80%. The average person is 250wpm at 85% accuracy. My ultimate goal would be to get to 1000wpm.
Why: Rip through annual reports, conference call transcripts, letters to shareholders, books and other lengthy material.
2. Clean Up Your Blog List
If you read blogs, I bet you have far too many on your list. You don’t read more than 30% of them anyways.
Most blogs don’t help you with what you are trying to achieve. This goes the same for many of the news sites.
Why: You will never be a better investor by reading blogs. You may make some money following people’s moves, but you won’t understand why and your investing skill will be based on searching for people to follow.
3. Eliminate Noise
Is CNBC really that important to your investment and analysis?
Why: You learn nothing. Why not spend the 30min reading some good investment books instead?
4. Take reading Material with You
You likely spend your day with frequent idle times where you do nothing.
Try reading something when you are waiting in line at the bank or the post office, waiting for your wife while she is clothes shopping, doing your business in the toilet, waiting for your car to warm up, on the bus, train or plane etc etc
Print out an annual report, proxy, financial statement or take a book around everywhere you go.
Another way is to convert the sec filings to a PDF and then read it off your phone, e-book reader or any other capable gadget.
Why: You may only get to read 1 page at a time but it all adds up. It also sticks with you throughout the day and by the end of the day you could have read 20 pages.
That’s 20 pages more than the next guy complaining that they don’t have time to read and learn.
5. Eliminate Finance Podcasts
Listening to the news or an entertainment program via podcast is fine, but finance related podcasts I find to be a waste of time. Podcasts are much like verbal blogs so there is no set topic or structure that flows from one to the next.
I can never remember what was mentioned and it’s literally in one ear, out the other.
Why: Just another example of how impatient and demanding human nature is. Learn to speed read and you’ll never need podcasts, except maybe while you’re driving.