Speedreading for More Time and Knowledge

January 26, 2010 at 6:41 PM (Productivity) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Speedreading is a skill than many seek, but few acquire.  The ability to consume large amounts of information very quickly is something I’ve striven for for years.  I have made some good progress too.  When I was about 14 I started researching speedreading and found my current speed was about 120 words per minute (wpm).  After now 8 years and a number of different programs and books I have made some good progress.  I’m no where near the 1000+wpm that many programs claim, but I have gone from 120 wpm, to about 300 wpm.  Now it takes me about 20-25 minutes to read 20 pages of a book, instead of an hour+.  I call that a win.

I recently downloaded another program for my iPhone that I believe is the most effective method I’ve tried to date.  It’s called Quickreader.  In the last week I’ve gone from about 300 wpm to 380 wpm.  For one week that’s pretty good.  It only cost me $4.99 and came with 28 complete books.  This is how I have made it most effective for me.

Compiling some of what I’ve read in other books on speed reading, I came up with a drills that takes ten minutes per day and is extremely effective.  After you’ve established your starting speed, subtract about 20-30 and that is the starting speed of your training.  So if you tested yourself and were clocked at 250 wpm, then you will start your training at about 220 wpm.  Use some sort of timer, and use the guided reading for one minute.  Once your minute is up, take one minute to rest your eyes, and increase your speed by 10% of your clocked speed, rounded down to the nearest 5, in this case 25 wpm.  So your second round speed will be 245 wpm.  Go through another reading session of one minute, starting at the same starting point as round one.  Starting at the same point and reading the same text over and over helps your body build confidence in reading faster.  You will repeat for a total of five, one minute sessions.  So if you start with 220 wpm, you will finish with 320 wpm.

What also makes this particular resource even better is the tracer that it uses to train your eyes.  It offers a variety of different options (see right), but the best option, in my humble opinion, is the short overline.  My reasoning is that it keeps your focus on the space above the text, which allows you to use your peripheral vision better, and ultimately absorb more text at one time.  The second reason is that when using three stops per line or less, it forces you to start reading a line two to three words in and finish two to three words before the end.  This helps minimize eye fixations, and maximize your words per minute.

By setting my QuickReader up this way, and using it for ten minutes per day I’ve added 80 wpm in less than a week.  I hope it helps you as it has helped me.  God Bless.

Additional Resources for Speedreading:

Quickreader Website

Teach Yourself Speedreading by Tina Konstant

Triple Your Reading Speed by Wade Cutler

Remember Everything You Read: The Evelyn Wood 7-Day Speed Reading & Learning Program

Scientific Speed Reading from the 4-Hour Workweek Blog

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Is Organic Really Better?

January 23, 2010 at 3:19 PM (Environment, Food Supply, Health and Fitness) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

There are many people on both sides of the debate about whether ‘organic’ really makes a difference when buying groceries.  Some say that there aren’t enough chemicals in the food to make a difference, some say that it makes a big difference.  The question is: what does the science show? Below are the facts as shown by their corresponding study.

1. Organic Diets have been shown to increase the health of rats.  Source

2. “Animal studies showed better growth and reproduction in animals fed organically grown feed compared with those fed conventionally grown feed” Source

3. Organically grown produce has better nutrition Source

4. In organically grown produce “the risk of diseases caused by contaminated food is significantly reduced” and “it can be concluded that organically produced plant derived food products have a higher nutritional value” Source

5. Organic Grass-Fed beef has higher levels of CLA (a beneficial fat) Source

6. Grass-Fed beef has lower risk of E. Coli Source

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to studies about organic produce, organic meats and dairy.  The fact is: God is smarter than us.  God didn’t make the food wrong, therefore we shouldn’t tamper with it.  When possible, eat organic.  My general rule for food is: given a choice, I pick the food that is more like how God made it, and less like what man has perverted it into.

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Freaking TACO BELL DIET!?!?!?!?!?

January 12, 2010 at 2:53 PM (Health and Fitness) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I just saw this advertisement the other day. THE TACO BELL DIET??? Are you kidding me? The first thing to consider is the source: Taco Bell. Fast food is fast food, no matter what. That is never going to change. There are some fast food places that are better than others, but whenever you exchange quality for convenience, you always lose. They even say on the website that the results are “not typical”. That is because most people who go on a diet but “don’t want to give up their fast food” DON’T LOSE WEIGHT. Gee, wonder why. I’ll tell you this, if you want to lose weight, you’re going to have to give up the convenience. Fast food makes you fat, simple as that. Do I eat fast food? Yes, occasionally, but I don’t expect to get healthy, sometimes convenience is the only option. But that still limits me to a couple times per month, and I always try to make the best decision I can.

My second problem is the approach. Apparently Taco Bell has a couple things on the menu that aren’t as fattening. The items are lower in calories and lower in fat. Here’s the problem: drop the calories, drop the fat, drop your metabolism, and get fatter in the long run. Low calorie diets only work for the short term, and after you stop (which we all do) you end up even bigger than before. On top of that the low fat craze has never worked, take a look around, we tried it. Your diet is supposed to fuel you, and that can’t work on a low calorie diet. You end up putting more stress on your body. The idea isn’t to eat less, but to eat more of the right things, and less of the wrong things. This often is an overall increase in caloric intake for my clients.

The best example I have of this is a client that I had last summer. She had stopped losing weight, and I asked her if she’d been eating. She told me that because of the heat she hadn’t been very hungry (we’d just gone through our first heat wave). I told her to make sure she ate more PROTEIN, and the very next week she lost 3 lb. That’s the way the body is supposed to work.

Lastly lets take a closer look at her results. Over 2 years she lost 54 lb, a good achievement. But that is only about half a pound per week. It is unlikely that Taco Bell was the cause of that. Most of my clients will lose at least 10 pounds in the first month with me. There are lots of other things that could have caused that 1/2 pound loss per week. Maybe she started walking, or exercising, or eating more protein, or something else. It is most likely the fact that Taco Bell is capitalizing on something that they weren’t the cause of.

The fact is the Taco Bell diet is as much a quack as the Cookie Diet, or the South Beach Diet. If you want to lose weight you need to learn how to properly fuel your body, not deprive it. God bless, and good luck on everyone’s New Years Resolutions.

Taco Bell Diet

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Thomas Pain is Encouraged About Americans

January 7, 2010 at 2:13 PM (Lessons From History) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Last April Thomas Pain was encouraged with how the Americans responded.  Let us not forget this year the strength we began the last year with.  We need to build on it and be certain that we get our country back.  Listen to our brother’s words, and wake up to see what our country has become.  Then once you see the tragedy that has become America, do something to help us get it back.  God bless.

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Automatic Text Message Reminders

January 6, 2010 at 12:57 PM (Productivity) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Back from a difficult few weeks.  My dad passed away on December 22.  Back on the productivity trip that I was on before.  The tool I’m talking about today is called Text Reminders.  Text reminders is a free service that enables you to have preplanned text messages sent to you.  You can remind yourself to do anything you want: check the mail, get on task, call so-and-so, etc.  You basically write your reminder, tell it when you want to receive it, and it shows up at the appointed time.  Great service in general.  I have the following message sent to me: “Are you being productive, or just active?”.  Four times per day I get that message and it helps me stay on task and keeps me from procrastinating or wasting time.  Hope it helps you.  Enjoy.

http://www.textreminders.net/

Tim Ferriss 4-Hour Workweek

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