Advertising
Advertising

5 Useful Tools to Get You Speed-Reading Like a Pro

5 Useful Tools to Get You Speed-Reading Like a Pro

There are speed-reading believers and speed-reading doubters; methods from skimming, to chunking, to eliminating subvocalization; and, undoubtedly, a lot of curious readers. Whether you’re an annoyingly distractible reader or looking to push a decent reading speed into warp drive, the myriad of articles written on the subject suggest there’s plenty of interest in this technique.

Have you been interested in speed-reading and have yet to try it out? Here are five speed-reading apps and websites to get you started.

1. Squirt

Squirt is a web app for speed-reading that you install (by install, I mean drag a link) to your bookmarks bar. It’s also been recently updated to work with Gmail and HTTPS sites like Medium.com. Once you’re on the page you want to speed-read, just click the Squirt bookmarklet and it immediately launches, giving you a few second countdown before the software begins. Adjust the speed to suite your level, and voilà!

Advertising

2. Spritz

Spritz another web app that focuses your eyes on a single letter in each word as the app speeds them through the screen, keeping your eye movements to a minimum which is supposedly what allows you to read quickly as a result. Spritz’s website also states the tech can “be integrated into photos, maps, videos, and websites for more effective communication”, and speed can be adjusted to suit your level.

[Note: Squirt apparently has a bone to pick with Spritz (or maybe it’s the other way around) — check out the bottom of Squirt’s website]

Advertising

3. Spreeder

Spreeder is a free web application from eReflect, which, incidentally, sells full-fledged speed-reading education software to the tune of about $80. Skip the pricy bundle and use this tool to quickly read online content. You can copy and paste your text on the Spreeder site, or simply save the Spreeder bookmarklet and when you have something you want to speed-read, highlight the text, and click the “Spreed!” link on your browser, which opens Spreeder in a new tab/window with your text.

Advertising

4. Outread

This iOS app is a cool $2.99 (this stuff can cost up to $80 for no apparent reason) and is a great way to turn your iPhone or iPad into a speed-reading device. Speed-read not only webpages but documents, ebooks, and reading apps like Pocket or Instapaper on your Apple device. It’s highly customizable with multiple font sizes, highlighting sizes, and reading speed. Other super convenient features like offline mode, item filtering, and interface streamlining make this a whole lot of app for three bucks!

5. Eyercize

Eyercize is a free bookmark bar tool which, though realised in beta, never made it to a full paid product which was supposed to have other features in addition to the speed-reading tool. However, the speed-reading app itself still works perfectly well and is available for download.

This “reading pacer” bookmarklet works by bolding groups of three or four words at a time, which focuses your eyes so that you following the pace the software sets. A nice touch is the ability to control the speed of the pacer, and some of the other features, so you can start out slower or with fewer/more bolded words and work your way up as you get better at reading things quickly.

Advertising

Featured photo credit: Flippin’ through/Rahul Chhiber via flic.kr

More by this author

30 Most Inspirational Quotes of All Time 20 Motivational Quotes of the Week to Brighten You Up 8 Things People With Hidden Depression Do 5 Essential Illustrated Guides For the Kitchen 20 Easy DIY Art Projects for Your Walls

Trending in Productivity

1 The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness 2 How to Stop Being Passive and Start Getting What You Want 3 How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement 4 5 Less-Known Reasons Why Less is More 5 10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

Advertising

Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

Advertising

Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

Advertising

3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

Advertising

7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

Read Next