Quick Productivity Hacks

There are a couple productivity tools and tricks I’ve picked up in the last few months that I thought I’d share. I picked the ones that are quick and easy to implement if it strikes your fancy. I’ll break it up in different categories, starting with:

Getting your information faster

I spend a lot of time trying to learn things. There’s so much to learn, but so little time! I wish it could be like in the Matrix. Just plug me in and download it straight into my brain.

Sadly, this tech isn’t yet available so we’ll have to make do with these…

Accelerated videos

A lot of instructional videos are narrated by someone who speak at a snail’s pace. Ain’t nobody got time for that! In the settings in the lower-right corner, you can crank up the speed of the video to your liking.

If you can’t find that option in the settings, it might be because you are using Internet Explorer.

Read faster with Spritz

I read a lot, but I don’t read fast. If you’re like me, then perhaps you should look into Spritz. It will feed you the text, word by word, at a higher speed than you would normally read them displayed the traditional way, and you will still understand what you are reading. It’s amazing, really. After a couple of minutes of practice you can noticeably increase your speed, and once you’re used to it you can practically double your speed.

Give it a try, at least for the fun of it. Personally I use a Chrome App: Readline. I just need to select the paragraph that I want to speed read and hit spacebar to launch the spritz.

Read less with Blinkist

My criterion to decide whether I choose to read a book used to simply be: Does it look interesting? There are thousands and thousands of “interesting” books out there. I need to be much more selective if I want to be productive at anything. I’ve added a few criteria, and one of them is that its content needs to serve me in something I’m currently dealing with, as I mentioned in my previous post Getting the Most Out of the Books You Read.

One way I can find out whether a book meets that criteria is that I read its summary on my Blinkist phone app. It provides 3 summaries: First, you’ll encounter a paragraph explaining what you’d get out of it. If it looks like it’d be for you, you scroll down to their outline, which lists the main insights that the book provides. From there you can choose to read the full summary which elaborates on each insight, or you can jump to the insight that caught your attention.

From left to right: A summarizing paragraph, a list of insights, an explanation of each insight.

It saved me a lot of time and directed me towards books that are better for me.

What are your tricks?

If you have hacks of your own which help you learn faster, do share!

Next post in the series: Ways to protect yourself from distractions.