It is MUCH MUCH easier to read your charts if you color-code the symbols! You will memorize the symbols and their meaning after just a few repeats. I do this color-coding on ALL of my charts...which I prefer hands down over word-for-word instructions!
See below...I color-coded the copy of a recent chart, and also color-coded the symbol KEY, too, and taped the KEY symbols on the sides of the chart. Also, i added some shorthand terms, more meaningful to me, about what the symbol is telling me to do.
Chart knitting goes much quicker than line-by-line, word-for-word knitting. Not that we are in a RACE to finish. That's not the point. But it is quicker.
Also PREPARATION is also a key component to finishing a project sooner than later. By preparing your chart, and preparing your notes, ahead of time...before casting on one stitch...you will have much less time spent with frogging, and tinking, and running around trying to figure out what went wrong. :??
People ask me "how do you get so much done?"...and part of my answer is PREPARATION. Know exactly what you're going to do, and when you're going to do it BEFORE casting on. Solve all mysteries before casting on.
There have been times when I've TANKED a project before casting on due to what I discovered about the pattern. There are just too many pattern/design choices out there to chose from. I don't need a poorly written pattern, full of errors, and mysterious directions. I just tank it and find another design, or work out a PLAN B for the design if I have my heart set on it.
[B]My advice: if a pattern offers a chart, learn to use it.
[/B]IMHO, a designer that doesn't produce a chart when she should (or could) is not on her "A Game".