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I Use These 7 Questions To Remember Everything I Read, Do You Have 5 Minutes?

I Use These 7 Questions To Remember Everything I Read, Do You Have 5 Minutes?

Reading is fascinating. But it can also be frustrating if you just cross off your book list without going into depth. Do you often forget what you have just read? Or have you ever spent a lot of time on finishing a book but in the end you couldn’t tell the main ideas of the book clearly?

It is not about your inability to memorize things. But you’re just not active enough in reading.

Reading ineffectively might be frustrating

Reading quickly just for the sake of completing a book is a mistake we easily make. We skim through paragraphs in the hope of absorbing as much information as possible within a short period of time. But then we only focus on the parts we understand and miss out the full picture presented in the book. It is unlikely that we will be able the recall the content after a day or so.

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A common question that we usually ask ourselves after reading is whether we like the book or not. While this is also important as reading is supposed to be fun, simply asking this kind of yes-no question cannot make reading meaningful and reflective. Worse still, if we only stick with the books we like, we will limit our exposure to different knowledge.

To practice active reading, generating a list of questions before digging into the content is a good approach. [1] But you might wonder what kinds of questions you should ask and here are some questions that you might want to take a look for reference:

1. If I can get only 3 things from the book, what are they? How will I apply them in daily life?

Some books consists of piles of information that we might feel overwhelmed. Sometimes it is better not to overestimate our abilities to memorise things because we can rarely get more than 3 messages from a book. Keep identifying what information is more useful to you when you read. After all, there’s no point of remembering or jotting down information that you can’t apply in daily life as it is very likely that you will forget it the next day.

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2. What are the arguments or suggestions made by the writer?

No one writes without any purposes. Even the book is a novel instead of the practical type, the authors have some purposes in their minds, either to convey messages or to persuade readers. Spending some time to figure out their key points makes us easier to digest the whole piece without missing any important insights.

3. What problems does the writer attempt to solve?

Nearly every book is about problem-solving. Even in a book about literature, there is always a climax in the plot and that’s what the writer attempt to solve. The problem indicated might not be explicit but if we can find it out, we can always learn from it to improve our problem-solving skills.

4. What strategies does the writer use to convey the key ideas in the book?

Reading is one of the good ways to improve our writing skills. We can pay extra attention to the writing style of the writers and how their ideas are presented, such as the diction, rhetorical devices and organisation used, to make our writings more appealing to readers.

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5. What do I know about the topic of the book covers? How what the book says is different from what I originally know?

We usually give up reading a book because we find no connection between what we know and what the book talks about. Before reading, it is better for us to do some brainstorming and to recall your previous knowledge related to the topic so that you are ready to explore more.

6. Are there any particular things I do not understand in the book?

It is quite impossible to be know-it-all so it is quite certain that we will encounter with something which seems unfamiliar, or something that we don’t agree on. Skipping those parts is not the best solution for it because this would limit our horizons. Instead, delving into the unfamiliar parts or opposite ideas is the best way to take ourselves to another level.

7. Which part of the book I like or dislike? And why?

Reading a book is not about reading the text only but also reading ourselves. Asking ourselves this question enables us to be reflective learners. Discovering more about our tastes allows us to choose a better reader that fits our preferences.

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It might take a longer time for us to read a book if we practice active reading using the above questions. But we can definitely gain a lot more because we wouldn’t rush just to finish a book without digesting the ideas.

Reference

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Sheba Leung

Translator. Sport lover. Traveler.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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