You can use a nail file to file a groove into the seed coat. All you need to do is go until you see the whitish material that is just under the seed coat. This permits the water to get into the seed and speeds up the germination process.
After you've done it a few times it is not so scary. Lay the seed on the table, hold it with two fingers with one hand and file away on it until you just see the white material. Then you can soak the seed in water as you described.
I only do this for seeds that don't germinate after a period of time like 7 to 21 days, depending on my patience level.
You can also use an exacto knife, if you are brave to not cut yourself. Some folks use a fingernail clipper. You can grab the seed with needlenose pliers and grind it on sandpaper. Just to name other options.