For each supervision essay you should expect to spend in the region of 10-15 hours reading and noting and around 3-4 hours planning, writing, and rewriting (assuming that you are working at a rate of about one or one and a half essays per week). This really is not very long. If, for example, you have five books to look at, that means you have about two hours on each. If it takes you, say, around five minutes to read and note a page properly, that means you will be able to. make notes on around twenty-five pages per book. That is less than even a single chapter in most books. It is important, therefore, that you make efficient use of the limited amount of time you have, and choose carefully which chapters to devote your time to. The key to this is active reading.
I know from my own experience and from the experience of others that doing the reading for an essay can sometimes be a frustrating, unproductive and unbelievably slow process. The key to reading is to do it actively and selectively. Don't approach reading as a passive process in which you simply spectate as page after page of academic text passes before your weary eyes.
There are several techniques that can be developed to make your reading more active and selective, and hence more efficient.