A while back, my friend Stefan Knapen published a post called, “The Ultimate Guide to Speedreading“. This article is a fantastic introduction to speedreading and provides a lot of tips for getting better at it.
For those of you in the dark, speedreading is a technique for reading content faster than normal. It’s especially useful for reading content you need to learn in order to pass a class, such as a history textbook.
The goal with speedreading is to increase the amount of words you can read in a certain time while still retaining (or even increasing) comprehension and learning. To do this, you employ many techniques, including:
- “Chunking” words together – ignoring individual letters and words, and instead working to comprehend multiple words at a time
- Using a finger to quickly guide your eyes over the text
- Working to eliminate “inner vocalization” – that voice in your brain that “reads” the words aloud to you and slows you down
With practice, you can learn to read at 3-4 times your normal rate and still retain comprehension. Read More…
Classes are back, and they’re bringing with them a slew of information that you may be accustomed to keeping in the form of notes. You may even, if you’re generally awesome at things, be keeping these notes in Evernote, taking advantage of the many beauties of searchable data.
Perhaps, though, you’re not. Why is this? Maybe:
- You don’t have a laptop
- You’re not comfortable taking your precious laptop to class
- You’re already carrying around 5,000 books and don’t want to destroy your spine
I happen to fall under the last two. I use my laptop to record my music, and risking my ability to record music every day isn’t exactly enticing. It’s also extra weight I certainly don’t need on my back, with the amount of coursework I’m taking this semester.
Luckily, there is an easier solution for note-taking that adds almost no weight, is much more replaceable, and brings a few other benefits your laptop wouldn’t have.
Your smartphone. Read More…
Habits are something I think about a lot. One thing I know better than a lot of people is that we as humans have a set amount of willpower. It isn’t unlimited.
Because of this, it can sometimes be hard to get everything we want to get done, done. You may wake up in the morning and create a long list of awesome things you want to do during the day, but end up getting tired after a few of them and ditching the rest for a marathon of The Office. The willpower you used at lunch to avoid eating three cookies is now unavailable to help you get through the workout you promised yourself you’d do after class.
I’ve found that we can get over this willpower limit by forming good habits. Read More…
So, a while back I posted about how keeping your digital world organized is essential to maximizing productivity and focus, and I made the comparison of your hard-drive space to your room, I said:
“…a messy abode can be the bane of your studying.”
Now, about three-fourths of the way through the school year, I find that this piece of wisdom may merit a larger, more anecdotal recap. Read More…
Productivity-minded students know that distractions are the primary culprit of poor study habits. “Suggested friends,” fancy sidebars, and ads promising you multiple iPad 2’s all have a certain way of distracting students from a task at hand. Face it, how many times have you went online to read an article, only to find yourself browsing through five completely unrelated websites an hour later? Distractions can be pesky things indeed.
When’s the last time you heard one of your friends freaking out because they “like, totally blanked, man” on a term paper? Maybe you yourself have forgotten to do important things in the past, only to spend the next few days in a depressed state of utter despondency… Read More…
Back during the Evernote Developer Competition, I was pretty excited to see what people would come up with using my favorite software in the universe, Evernote. There were quite a few great ideas and projects, but the one that stood out to me the most was Zendone. According to their description on the contest entry, “Zendone is a personal productivity tool based on the Getting Things Done methodogy. It offers a powerful, well-designed interface for implementing the GTD workflow, using Evernote for collecting and archiving all of your projects and tasks.” Read More…
Office hours have been something of a little-known secret among successful college students. Sure, many students know about them, but few have taken the time to approach these “mystical times” of direct contact with professors. Whether out of fear, laziness, or ignorance, office hours continue to be under-utilized by the college population.
However, having studied study habits for the past two years, one of the most common themes I’ve seen among the most successful students has been their dedication to attending office hours.
Why such a disparity? Most college students struggle enough with going to class, so going to office hours is typically seen as a monumental struggle. “I have to take MORE time out of my schedule? Won’t it just serve me better to study by myself?”