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30 Days With: Amazon Kindle 4

30 Days With: Amazon Kindle 4


    I’ve always loved reading but the thought of holding a book was a barrier to entry for some reason. Then when I would delve into a book I would always lose my place in the book constantly. I’m not sure why the act of reading a physical book was a challenge to me but it was.

    When Amazon released the Kindle I was very much uninterested at first. Why would I want a device that does one thing? The iPhone does almost everything I need it to do — and then some. Working at a library for nearly 5 years has made my passion for books much more intense. It is really easy to want to read when you’re surrounded by books all day. I found myself reading a little bit of a book and then returning it because the book as a form factor simply did not work for me.

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    What Kindle to Buy?

    First of all let me back up, the very first thing I had to do was decide that I want a Kindle. We’ve given you a guide in the past about what options you have for e-readers. I decided the Kindle had the best online store integration and the best reviews.

    When I started my hunt for a Kindle I had to decide which one I wanted to buy. There are quite a few different “flavors”, so I had to go through and decide what was important to me:

    •  I’m always near wifi, so I did not need the 3G version.
    • I did not really think I was going annotate anything so the keyboard was not an issue for me.
    • I did a little research to figure out if the special offers would bother me. Then I found out that if they did, I could buy my way out of them if they did end up bothering me. I decided to give special offers a go.
    • The Kindle Fire was a non -tarter for me, I want an e-reader, not a tablet.

    So, I finally settled on the Kindle 4 Wifi with Special Offers.

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    Setup

    Unboxing the Kindle gave me the same warm and cozy feeling that unboxing an Apple product does. Much like Apple, it was very clear that Amazon was thinking when they designed the packaging. Instructions for setup were clear and easy to understand. But I still couldn’t help but think that I would need to sync this to a computer.

    (I think I have to work on my “post-PC era” way of thinking.)

    Once I turned on the Kindle I ran into the “I really wish I would have bought the keyboard version” syndrome because typing my wifi password was a real hassle. Also, typing my Amazon account and password was about the five worst minutes I’ve had with my Kindle. After typing all the information in I decided that the buying of content would happen on my computer and not on the Kindle.

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    Uses

    Of course, buying and reading books was the main thing I bought the Kindle for. The day I bought the Kindle I went through the free public domain books that Amazon has created for the Kindle. I picked up a few Sherlock Holmes stories and started reading them right away. One thing the Kindle does well is allow you to save highlighted portions of text from books and then upload them to kindle.amazon.com. You can choose to make those portions public or private, and you can even share them on your social network of choice.

    Amazon has gotten the buying of books down to a “search and buy” process. To buy a book, I simply had to search for the book and “Buy and Send to Kindle”, and it would be there in a matter of seconds. There was no lead time waiting for a book to show up, no more tracking numbers, no more finding a more interesting book while I waited for the first one to arrive.

    Sample chapters are also a great way to figure out if you want to buy the book or not. When I delved into purchasing content on the Kindle, I decided to read the sample chapter(s) before actually buying the book. I have been burned by a really good sample chapter and a not-so-good book a few times, but for the most part I’ve done well finding books that are good for me.

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    Long-form internet articles have always been something that I would lose my concentration on when trying to read. Kindle It from Five Filters is a great tool to capture long-form articles to send to my Kindle for later reading.

    In Conclusion

    The Kindle 4 has reignited my love of reading. In just 30 days I’ve been able to read more than 4 books.  That is something that would have never happened before I got my Kindle.

    Photo credit: Roberto Ventre (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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    Last Updated on August 16, 2018

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system”.

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    The power of habit

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being six hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The wonderful thing about triggers (reminders)

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to make a reminder works for you

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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