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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 April 8, 2019

    22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    Unless you’re infinitely rich or prepared to rack up major debt, you need to budget your income. Setting limits on how much you are willing to spend helps control expenses. But what about your time? Do you budget your time or spend it carelessly?

    Deadlines are the chronological equivalent of a budget. By setting aside a portion of time to complete a task, goal or project in advance you avoid over-spending. Deadlines can be helpful but they can also be a source of frustration if set improperly. Here are some tips for making deadlines work:

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    1. Use Parkinson’s Law – Parkinson’s Law states that tasks expand to fill the time given to them. By setting a strict deadline in advance you can cut off this expansion and focus on what is most important.
    2. Timebox – Set small deadlines of 60-90 minutes to work on a specific task. After the time is up you finish. This cuts procrastinating and forces you to use your time wisely.
    3. 80/20 – The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of the value is contained in 20% of the input. Apply this rule to projects to focus on that critical 20% first and fill out the other 80% if you still have time.
    4. Project VS Deadline – The more flexible your project, the stricter your deadline. If a task has relatively little flexibility in completion a softer deadline will keep you sane. If the task can grow easily, keep a tight deadline to prevent waste.
    5. Break it Down – Any deadline over one day should be broken down into smaller units. Long deadlines fail to motivate if they aren’t applied to manageable units.
    6. Hofstadter’s Law – Basically this law states that it always takes longer than you think. A rule I’ve heard in software development is to double the time you think you need. Then add six months. Be patient and give yourself ample time for complex projects.
    7. Backwards Planning – Set the deadline first and then decide how you will achieve it. This approach is great when choices are abundant and projects could go on indefinitely.
    8. Prototype – If you are attempting something new, test out smaller versions of a project to help you decide on a final deadline. Write a 10 page e-book before your 300 page novel or try to increase your income by 10% before aiming to double it.
    9. Find the Weak Link – Figure out what could ruin your plans and accomplish it first. Knowing the unknown can help you format your deadlines.
    10. No Robot Deadlines – Robots can work without sleep, relaxation or distractions. You aren’t a robot. Don’t schedule your deadline with the expectation you can work sixteen hour days to complete it. Deathmarches aren’t healthy.
    11. Get Feedback – Get a realistic picture from people working with you. Giving impossible deadlines to contractors or employees will only build resentment.
    12. Continuous Planning – If you use a backwards planning model, you need to constantly be updating plans to fit your deadline. This means making cuts, additions or refinements so the project will fit into the expected timeframe.
    13. Mark Excess Baggage – Identify areas of a task or project that will be ignored if time grows short. What e-mails will you have to delete if it takes too long to empty your inbox? What features will your product lack if you need a rapid finish?
    14. Review – For deadlines over a month long take a weekly review to track your progress. This will help you identify methods you can use to speed up work and help you plan more efficiently for the future.
    15. Find Shortcuts – Almost any task or project has shortcuts you can use to save time. Is there a premade library you can use instead of building your own functions? An autoresponder to answer similar e-mails? An expert you can call to help solve a problem?
    16. Churn then Polish – Set a strict deadline for basic completion and then set a more comfortable deadline to enhance and polish afterwards. Often churning out the basics of a task quickly will require no more polishing afterwards than doing it slowly.
    17. Reminders – Post reminders of your deadlines everywhere. Creating a sense of urgency with your deadlines is necessary to keep them from getting pushed aside by distractions.
    18. Forward Planning – Not mutually exclusive with backwards planning, this involves planning the details of a project out before setting a deadline. Great for achieving clarity about what you are trying to accomplish before making arbitrary time limits.
    19. Set a Timer – Get one that beeps. Somehow the countdown of a timer appears more realistic for a ninety minute timebox than just glancing at your clock.
    20. Write them Down – Any deadline over a few hours needs to be written down. Otherwise it is an inclination not a goal. Having written deadlines makes them more tangible than internal decisions alone.
    21. Cheap/Fast/Good – Ben Casnocha in My Start Up Life mentions that you can have only have two of the three. Pick two of the cheap/fast/good dimensions before starting a project to help you prioritize.
    22. Be Patient – Using a deadline may seem to be the complete opposite of patience. But being patient with inflexible tasks is necessary to focus on their completion. The paradox is that the more patient you are, the more you can focus. The more you can focus the quicker the results will come!

    Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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