Good Test Taking Strategy (Not Just for Exams)

February 17, 2010 at 9:00 AM (Productivity) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Total Reading Time: 1 min 30 seconds

Had a test today and stumbled onto a good test taking strategy.  No, this doesn’t just come from a one time occurrence, but from a realization of things I’d learned a couple years ago. This will work best with short answer questions, where the answer isn’t right in front of you, but you have to search your mind for it.

Obviously, you want to have studied well, but specifically you need to read through all the notes you have as thoroughly, but quickly as possible.  This is step one.  Just take as much time as you have, an hour or two tops, and get through the notes at least once, maybe twice.  This does not replace your general studying, but is for review, to keep the material is fresh.

Then, when you sit down to the test or get to the short answer portion go through it relatively quickly.  The first time through spend no more than 20-30 seconds thinking about the answer or trying to remember.  If you remember it, good, then write it down.  But if you are having difficulty, then after about 20-30 seconds skip it, and move on.  Go through the entire short answer portion or exam like this.  Once you have come to the end, go back to the beginning and go through it again.  What you will find is that for many of the questions you couldn’t remember before, you will more easily remember what the answer is, and quicker.

What happens is that while you are continuing with your test, your mind is still trying to find what you were looking for.  And by going through the exam, other questions may remind you of the answer.  So when you get back to the question, your mind has done the searching while you were working.

This applies to life in general as well.  If you are trying to remember something, go back to whatever you have from that situation, anything that was present, especially something significant to the situation.  Often when people forget what they were going to say, I start telling them what we were just talking about in the minutes leading up to it, and they remember.  If nothing seems to trigger the memory, then move on, and come back to it later.  Your mind will continue to search for what you were trying to remember.  For more on how your memory works and how to make it work better read Mega Memory by Kevin Trudeau.  Hope this helps people.  God Bless.


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Productivity Tool of the Week: The World’s Greatest Note-Taking Tool

February 15, 2010 at 6:00 AM (Productivity) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Total Read Time: About 1 Minute

I’m still a little on my productivity kick from going through the 4-Hour Workweek, so here’s my productivity tool of the week (don’t know how long this will last).

Evernote is a great tool that can help compile your thoughts and ideas in a safe and secure place.  Everyone should know that when you get an idea that you want to remember then you should write it down immediately.  But not everyone has a pen and paper available all the time.  Evernote is simple, and can be accessed from any computer with internet access, or almost any smartphone.  Simply log onto your account, open whatever notebook you want to add your note to, and write it out.

The benefits of using Evernote include being able to organize your notes into categories (called notebooks).  For example I have a notebook called American Resurgence Blogs where I write down anything I want to remember about blog posts and ideas.

You can also store images on Evernote, like things you see that you want to buy.  Simply take a picture on your smartphone, and send it to Evernote.

Evernote is also searchable.  After you’ve been using it for a while you will probably have quite a collection of notes.  It might end up being more difficult to find what you’re looking for.  In the top-right part of the screen you can enter into the search bar what you are looking for and it will search through your notes and bring any of them that contain what you’re looking for to the front of your screen.

This is just a sample of the benefits of using a program like Evernote.  It can be very organized, and can be accessed from any computer in the world with internet access.  It is a very useful tool for remembering idea that comes your way. 

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33 Rules to Boost Your Productivity

February 11, 2010 at 6:00 AM (Productivity) (, , , , , , , , )

Was doing some reading today and came across this post on a fellow blogger’s site.  It actually has three volumes to this post (for a total of 99 rules), many are very helpful, some are not practical but funny.  Worth the 5 minutes to look them over though.  Enjoy my friends. God Bless

33 Rules to Boost Your Productivity Volume 1

33 Rules to Boost Your Productivity Volume 2

33 Rules to Boost Your Productivity Volume 3

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The iPad, Stop Whining People

February 5, 2010 at 4:00 AM (Gadgets) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Many people know about Apple’s new product: the iPad.  There’s been a lot of buzz around this new product, including a lot of negative press about it.  Well, here’s my two cents about the problems people keep citing with the iPad.

1. Multitasking.  A lot of people are complaining that you can’t multitask with the iPad.  Here’s the problem: you’re not supposed too.  How many of us still don’t have enough RAM on our computer because we’re running 5 different programs and have 37 different websites open at one time?  The idea of limiting the multitasking capability is, in my humble opinion, a good thing: you will be better able to focus on what you’re doing, and won’t sacrifice the speed of the device.  “But I can’t listen to Pandora and write my essay at the same time,” some people whine.  Then use the iPod feature and load some music, not that hard, and that is what it’s designed for. For me, simplicity is a plus.

2. No Flash.  This is a good point.  This has been one of the biggest annoyances with my iPhone.  At least half my writing is done through websites that use Flash which means I can’t use my phone to write if I need to.  And there aren’t usually app’s for me to use instead.

3. Not light?  It only weigh’s about a pound and a half, and it’s far lighter than any other computer. How weak are you?  Go do some curls with your Barbi and Ken weights.

4. Not easy on the eyes.  This is also a valid point.  The screen is not meant to be looked at for too long, as your eyes may quickly fatigue.  Here’s the quick fix, don’t stare at it for too long.  Look away every couple of minutes at something farther away.

5. The keyboard gives no visual cue (I kid you not).  I actually read this one.  Someone was stating that they missed the visual cue that the iPhone/iTouch gives when you type a letter (it gets bigger above where you touch when you hit a letter).  Unlike a keyboard where you can feel the keys move, or the iPhone, the iPad doesn’t give you any cue that you typed a letter.  Here’s my quick fix, look at the space where you are typing, not at your fingers.  That is what you’re supposed to do anyways.  You don’t look at your fingers when you type on your computer do you?  I hope you’ve broken yourself of that habit.

6. No camera.  Seriously, do you really want a 10 inch camera?

7. No USB, or DVD drive.  This is something that Apple should have handled immediately.  I anticipate there will be external versions, but it should have been handled properly to begin with.

and last, but not least:

8. The name, another valid point.  It is obvious the kind of comedy that is going to come out of this name, Apple could have done better, but odds are we’d have made fun of whatever name they chose, that’s just how we are.

Overall I think it’s going to be a great product (I’m saving for mine right now).  The question you have to ask is: what do you want it to do?  If you want something to run your 25 different applications simultaneously, sorry.  But if you’re wanting something for internet, writing, a portable computer for taking to classes, etc. I think it’ll work for most people.  And here’s something to consider: if the people want it, then Apple will deliver.  When the people screamed for cut and paste on their iPhone, Apple delivered.  Apple has given us portable video on our iPods, the best phone on the market, great computers, and if there’s something that the people want, Apple will make it happen.

Is the iPad the perfect product?  No, course none of the Apple products are.  Will it be an effective new tool for our world?  In my opinion, yes.  God bless.

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What are you really afraid of?

February 2, 2010 at 6:05 PM (Lessons From History, Productivity) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

The above is a short lecture from Tim Ferriss called Practical Pessimism.  It gives you a couple practical tools to help you face your fears, and most often you realize that you’ve been making a mountain out of a mole-hill.  I would recommend that you watch the video, and attempt the tools that it puts forth.  The quality of your life can depend on it. 5 minutes of your time, what’s the worst that could happen?

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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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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.

Tim Ferriss 4-Hour Workweek

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Episode 3 of the Wellness Resurgence: A Definite Chief Aim: Focus and Goals

October 28, 2009 at 2:31 PM (Productivity) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

A new episode of the Wellness Resurgence is up.  Out of my little incident with laziness today I thought I would change the topic from prescription and nonprescription drugs to the idea of having clear cut goals and solid focus toward those goals.  Feel free to leave comments, and please rate the video and subscribe to the YouTube Channel.  Thanks friends.

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