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Top 10 Greasemonkey scripts to improve your productivity

Top 10 Greasemonkey scripts to improve your productivity
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    Two weeks ago we covered the top 10 Firefox extensions to improve your productivity. Similarly, the powerful Greasemonkey extension (with the help of Stylish) can do wonders for your productivity, as well. You can accomplish many of the tasks that the Greasemonkey scripts below can do with various Firefox extensions. However, if you prefer to keep your list of extensions short (and to help conserve your computer memory) then give these scripts a try and watch your productivity soar! The following are 10 Greasemonkey scripts that are bound to improve your productivity and web browsing experience.

    If you’re unfamiliar with the Greasemonkey Firefox extension, here is the somewhat techy definition from Wikipedia:

    Greasemonkey is a Mozilla Firefox extension that allows users to install scripts that make on-the-fly changes to specific web pages. As the Greasemonkey scripts are persistent, the changes made to the web pages are executed every time the page is opened, making them effectively permanent for the user running the script.

    The first step is to install Greasemonkey like any other extension. For the purpose of this tutorial, also install Stylish exactly the same way you installed Greasemonkey. I have directly linked to the 10 Greasemonkey scripts below, so after you install Greasemonkey, all you need to do is click the links and the script will be installed.

    1. Gmail Conversation Preview

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      Gmail Conversation Preview lets you right click on your messages in Gmail and see a preview of the message. Furthermore, Gmail Conversation Preview allows you to mark your email message as unread, archive, or delete exactly as if you had the email message open. Using this script will reduce the amount of time it takes to get through your email tremendously.

      2. Stylish + Adblocking per Gozer
      This script was introduced two weeks ago in my list of Firefox extensions. Adblocker is extremely accurate and will block all Google Adsense and many other various advertisements on any site throughout the web. With the amount of distractions cut out, your can get some serious work done.

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      3. Google Reader + Gmail

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        If you use both the Gmail and the Google Reader suite of applications, you can integrate Google Reader into Gmail so that you can read your feeds right in your Gmail window. Google Reader + Gmail tucks your Google Reader feeds right into Gmail allowing you to read your favorite feeds without leaving your email.

        4. Invisibility cloak
        When you really need to hunker down and get some work done, the best alternative is to completely block those time wasting sites. To explain, you can create a list of the sites you find yourself sucked to, and schedule them to be blocked until after a certain time. For example if you keep getting sucked to Lifehack.org, or Digg.com, you can ban these sites until after 5pm. Lifehacker’s Gina Trapani wrote the Invisibility Cloak script and it blocks flickr.com and metafilter.com by default. If you want to add your own favorite time-sucking sites, right click the Greasemonkey logo in the bottom right corner of Firefox, choose “Manage User Scripts…” and add your Web sites to the list. The script is totally customizable and great for your productivity if you don’t mind going cold turkey on some of your favorite sites.

        5. Gmail Macros

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          “This excellent script extends the built-in Gmail keyboard shortcuts to let you mark an email as read, star it, move it, send it to the trash and a host of other added functionality” all with a couple quick key strokes. In order to see a list of all the keyboard shortcuts added by this script, open up Gmail and type ‘?’ and you will get an expanded view of the window I have shown.

          6. Google Image Relinker
          The Google Image relinking script redirects your Google Image search results directly to the full sized image so that you no longer have to click through the originating site to get to the full-sized image.

          7. Gmail Persistent Searches.

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            If you find that you are consistently searching Gmail for the same type of content, a persistent search would be for you. With this Greasemonkey script, you can create one-click searches of all of your email.

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            8. Add a second inbox to your Gmail account.
            If you’re sick and tired of fighting with your significant other about whose Gmail account is signed in, or if you manage more than one email account, rather than forwarding all your email to one account, with this Greasemonkey script you can add a second button to your Gmail account and quickly flip between two accounts. In order to use this script, you have to edit the .js file to include your second email account.

            9. RSS Quick Subscribe

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              If you use Google Reader, RSS Quick subscribe will show you links to the RSS feeds in the top right corner. Give the links a quick click and you will seamlessly be subcribed via Google Reader

              10. Gmail Attachment Reminder

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                Ever use the line “I have attached so and so” and then forget to actually attach the document? Of course you have, everybody has! However, with the attachment reminder, you will never forget again. If you use the words “attach” or “attached” and there is no attachment, the script will ask if you forgot the attachment. This script has come in handy for me tons of times!

                I know I must have missed tons of productivity-enhancing Greasemonkey scripts. Which of the above mentioned scripts can’t you live without? Please share your favorite Greasemonkey scripts in the comments.

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                Last Updated on February 13, 2020

                What Is Speed Reading and How to Successfully Learn It

                What Is Speed Reading and How to Successfully Learn It

                Too much to read, too little time! Don’t you wish you could read faster without compromising your knowledge intake? This is where a valuable learning technique comes to the rescue: speed reading.

                Speed reading is the top skill to learn in 2020. Read on to find out all about this amazing technique!

                What Is Speed Reading?

                On average, an adult can read somewhere between 200 to 300 words per minute. With speed reading, you can read around 1500 words per minute.[1] Yes, that sounds impossible, but it is true.

                In order to understand how this skill works, you first need to know how the reading process works inside a human’s brain.

                The Reading Process

                The first step is for the eyes to look at a word. This “fixation” on every word takes around 0.25 seconds.

                Next, the eye moves on to the following word. It takes 0.1 seconds for the brain to move from one word to the next. This is called “saccade.”

                Usually, a person reads 4 to 5 words or a sentence at once. After all the fixations and saccades, the brain goes over the entire phrase again in order to process the meaning. This takes around half a second.

                All in all, this allows the average person to read 200 to 300 words in a minute.

                Speeding up the Process

                The concept of speed reading is to speed up this process at least 5 times. Since the saccade period cannot be shortened any further, speed reading emphasizes quicker fixations.

                To accomplish this, scientists recommend that the reader skips the subvocalization: when the readers actually say the word in their mind, even when reading silently.

                Basically, speed reading is the technique of only seeing the words instead of speaking them silently.

                Do not confuse this with skimming. When a reader skims through a text, they skip the parts that their brain considers to be unnecessary.

                You may skip important information in this process. Moreover, skimming does not allow the brain to retain what has been read.

                Why Speed Read?

                Speed reading is not just quick, but also effective. This skill saves a lot of of time without sacrificing information.

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                Also, it has been proven to improve memory. The brain’s performance improves during speed reading, which allows the reader to remember more information than before.

                Since speed reading stabilizes the brain, the information is processed faster and more efficiently.

                Believe it or not, this technique leads to improved focus, too. As the brain receives a lot of information during speed reading, there is far less chance of distraction. The brain focuses solely on the job at hand.

                Since the brain is, after all, a muscle, the process of speed reading acts as an exercise. Just like the rest of your muscles, your brain needs exercise to grow stronger, too.

                A focused brain means improved logical thinking. As your brain gets used to receiving and organizing so much information so quickly, your thinking process will become faster.

                As soon as a problem is thrown at you, your brain will quickly put two and two together. You will be able to retrieve stored information, figure out correlations, and come up with new solutions, all within seconds!

                Still not convinced? Read 10 Reasons Why You Should Learn Speed Reading

                Greater Benefits

                With a healthier brain, you can expect better things in other parts of your life, too. A boost in self-esteem is just one of them.

                As you begin to understand information at a faster pace, you will also begin to figure out more opportunities all around you.

                With the ability to deeply understand information in a shorter period of time, your confidence levels will quickly grow higher.

                Moreover, all the aforementioned benefits will relieve you of stress. You will manage your readings in lesser time, your brain will be healthier, and you will feel so much better about yourself.

                With all these advantages, your emotional well-being will be healthier than ever. You’ll feel less stress since your brain will learn to tackle problems efficiently. Speed reading will lead to a relaxed, tension-free lifestyle!

                How to Learn to Speed Read

                Speed reading is a superpower. Fortunately, unlike other superpowers, this one can be learned!

                There are different techniques that can be used to master this skill. Opt for the one that best suits your learning style.

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                1. The Pointer Method

                The person who is credited for popularizing speed reading, Evelyn Wood, came up with the pointer method. It is a simple technique in which the reader uses their index finger to slide across the text that they’re reading.

                As the finger moves, the brain coherently moves along with it. It is an effective technique to keep the eyes focused where the finger goes without causing any distraction.

                Readers have a tendency to back-skip. The pointer method prevents this from happening, thereby saving at least half the reading time.

                2. The Scanning Method

                In this technique, the reader’s eyes move along one part of the page only. This can be the left or right side of the text but is usually the center since that is the most convenient.

                Instead of pacing through the entire text from left to right, the vision shifts from top to bottom.

                This method involves fixation on keywords such as names, figures, or other specific terms. By doing so, the saccade time is minimized.

                3. Perceptual Expansion

                Generally, a reader focuses on one word at a time. This technique, on the other hand, encourages the brain to read a chunk of words together. In doing so, this method increases the reader’s peripheral vision.

                Here’s the thing: even though the fixation time remains the same with perceptual expansion, the number of words that the eyes fixate on increases.

                So basically, the brain receives 5 times more information within the same amount of time.

                This technique is the hardest to master and takes the most time to learn. You’ll need help from speed reading tools in order to practice the perceptual expansion method.

                However, once you master it, this technique will offer you the fastest reading pace with the maximum knowledge intake.

                The Best Speed Reading Apps

                The easiest tool to aid any process in any part of life these days is your smartphone.

                You can use mobile applications to learn speed reading on the go. It has been proven that regularly practicing speed reading is the fastest way to learn this skill. [2]

                Here are a few great options to look into:

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                1. Reedy

                If you own an Android smartphone, you can download Reedy to your mobile. Otherwise, get the chrome extension on your laptop to enjoy speed reading with Reedy.

                This app trains readers to read faster by displaying words one by one on the screen. Instead of having to go through lines or long texts, Reedy prepares the user to focus on one word at a time.

                Although this isn’t an effective method to learn speed reading long texts, it is a great way to start.

                Once your brain gets used to the idea, you can shift to another app to train speed reading sentences or longer texts.

                2. ReadMe!

                Whether you’re an android or iOS user, you can take advantage of the ReadMe! application. This app even comes with some e-book options to practice speed reading on.

                Start by choosing your desired font size, color, layout, etc. Other than that, there are different reading modes for the user to choose from.

                If you want to practice reading sentence by sentence or in short paragraphs, you can choose the focused reading mode.

                The beeline reader mode changes the color of the text to guide the eye to read from the beginning to the end at a certain pace.

                Lastly, there is the spritz mode in which the app focuses on chunks of words at once. This controls the reader’s peripheral vision. However, this mode is not fully available in the free version of the app.

                3. Spreeder

                Spreeder is available on both iOS and Android. However, users may also gain benefits from Spreeder’s website. This application lets the reader paste in any text that they would like to speed read.

                Starting off at a rather low speed, the app flashes words one by one. Gradually, as the user becomes more comfortable, the speed increases.

                Slowly, the user is trained to speed read without having to skip any words.

                This app is different from the rest because it tracks the user’s reading improvements, recording the overall reading time and speed.

                The progress and improvement are tracked in order to motivate the user to perform even better.

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                Adjustable settings, such as the speed of the text, background color, etc. are in the control of the user.

                The Controversy Surrounding Speed Reading

                Truthfully, speed reading does sound too good to be true. It’s hard to believe that it is humanly possible to attain such a fast pace in reading without compromising the quality of information you receive.

                Perhaps as a result, there are people who do not trust the process of speed reading. They believe that when you read through a text at such a high speed, you cannot comprehend the information successfully.

                According to these people, your brain is unable to process information at the speed that you’re reading, and so, they regard speed reading as problematic.

                It is true that speed reading will be of no use if you do not understand the text you’re reading, no matter how quickly you did it.

                Similarly, if you were to read slowly and still not retain or understand the information you read, that would be useless, too.

                However, there a few factors to consider here. When reading at a normal pace, there is enough time in between every step of the process for the brain to get distracted.

                Conversely, speed reading leaves behind no time for the brain to focus on something else. It is unlike skimming. No part of the text is skipped, which means that the brain receives every single bit of information.

                Conclusion

                Keeping all of this in mind, speed reading cannot be labeled a hoax or a failure. Science has backed up this technique, and numerous readers have been using this skill to improve their learning ability.

                At the end of the day, it is your decision whether or not you want to trust this process.

                However, if you decide to take advantage of the opportunities speed reading provides, you will find a world of possibilities opening up to you.

                We live in a fast-paced world. Consuming information faster will help you keep up with that pace and find further success.

                Speed Read Like a Pro!

                Featured photo credit: Blaz Photo via unsplash.com

                Reference

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