How to Watch Videos Faster

September 11, 2014 // How To, Productivity

If you’re like me you’re watching plenty of videos online. I don’t mean funny cats clips or fail compilations. What I’m talking about are lengthy videos about game development, politics, self improvement or the like.

A while ago I was wondering how I could get faster in watching videos. You may be familiar with clicking through suggested videos on YouTube and hitting the Watch Later button (way too) often. Pushing videos to the queue is easy but consuming them takes time.

I’ve already boosted my reading speed as mentioned in my book Game Project Completed. Therefore I wanted to figure out how to do the same for videos.

So, how can you reduce the time for watching all of your videos?

Speed up Videos

YouTube allows you to increase playback speed. Just click the gear icon in the right bottom corner of the video player area and change the Speed setting. If your browser doesn’t use HTML5 for YouTube videos go to www.youtube.com/html5 and activate it. Check out this video for details.

I didn’t investigate other video portals like Vimeo regarding faster playback. Firstly because the majority of videos can be found on YouTube anyway. Secondly, speeding up playback is a minor trick for watching videos in shorter time. The following tricks are way more useful.

Prune by Description

Read the video’s description and decide upfront, if you really want to watch it. Not watching it is always the most effective shortcut.

Skimming

Go through the video by watching just any Nth minute. For example: watch minute 5, watch minute 10, minute 15, and so on. If these samples look interesting you may want to watch the whole thing. Skip it otherwise.

Listen to Videos While Working

Many videos (I “watch”) can be consumed just by listening to them. These can be interviews, talk shows or presentations (many slides just resemble notes anyway).

There are limits, though. It’s impossible for me, for instance, to listen to any speech while I’m writing a blog post or working on a book. The double-language input interferes in the language processing part of the brain. But it’s no problem to listen to interviews while checking my bank accounts.

Another trick is to rip the audio of videos to MP3 files and listen to them while driving, doing housework or going for a run. There are plenty of online services like www.convertmemp3.com you can use for this for free.

Long Tail Decay

Last but not least you may watch your queued videos in order of interest, not by appearance in the queue. In this case the most interesting videos get watched first and the least interesting videos get (left) behind. The videos you delay the most don’t seem to be that interesting, do they? Think about dropping them.

Cheers,
Thomas

P.S.: This blog post is part of my corner cutting experiment. It was written in half the usual time. Therefore, please forgive me for any bad english in this post. 🙂

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