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Category: Speed Reading

7 Ways To Develop A Reading Habit

You know reading is good for you, but you can’t seem to concentrate on reading the book you’ve picked up from the library. You get a few pages in and then get distracted, and turn to the computer or your television. You end up dragging the book around for months, moving it from the coffee table to your bedside table to your briefcase, but you never seem to get around to actually reading it.

If you’re tired of this routine, there’s hope: reading is a habit you can develop and there are many ways you can turn into a bibliophile.

Make time for it

Unless you schedule reading time in your busy day, you may not be able to squeeze it anywhere between all of the other commitments and projects and tasks already crowding the calendar.

Even if you can only devote 15 minutes for reading— the time it takes you to commute to work— do put it in your schedule. By doing so you assign a sense of importance to it, and this will ensure that you treat reading with respect rather than ignoring it.

Book bags everywhere!

Add an extra item in your doorstep checklist; keys, phone, wallet, book. Carrying a book with you at all times is a great trick to start reading more habitually.

You will find that there are a lot of times where you can read a chapter or two, such as instead of staring at your computer screen or checking your email for the 15th time.

Make a reading list

Do a bit of research if you don’t know where to start or if your previous choices of authors have been uninspiring. Create a list with exciting books and stories – just don’t overdo it. Anything beyond 20 books for an entire year could be too overwhelming if you’re just getting started as a dedicated reader.

Know when to give up a book

Reading is meant to be an enjoyable, eye-opening experience. If you find yourself stressing out (or yawning!) over a difficult or boring book, do give it a try for a few more pages but give up if it ends up frustrating you.

Get excited about the book

To get into the habit of reading more you need to be excited about it in the first place. Read a review or two online to see what people are saying and raving about. If reviews are not your thing, try reading the first few pages of the content and the back-cover blurb to get an idea of the narrative.

This will make you look forward to reading the book by sparking your curiosity about “what happens next.” Just stay away from spoilers if you’re reading fiction!

Read to someone

A great way to get into reading more is to read to someone else: an elderly person or a shut-in, a friend’s child or your own son or daughter.  Reading to others is a fascinating way to spread the bookworm craze. It will make the listener feel flattered and inspired, and as for you, you will have a reading assignment that helps you stick to your reading habit!

10 Useful Websites For A Smarter You

Do you think you know everything? If you answered “yes,” then you can stop reading! But if like most people you answered “no,” here are 10 websites you should bookmark.

These websites are brimming with fascinating facts, motivating articles to improve your skills, and lots of ideas on how to channel your creativity and innovative thinking into your work and personal life. Yes, it’s high time you stopped looking at cat videos all day long.

Freerice

How often do you get a chance to improve upon a crucial life skill and at the same time contribute to society as a whole? Freerice lets you have your cake and eat it too. Freerice lets you improve your vocabulary, and for each correct answer you get, the company donates 10 rice grains through the World Food Programme. Cool, right?

Gibbon

Forget YouTube hits playlists. Gibbon is the self-learning playlist many people swear by. With Gibbon you can collect various articles, videos, and other types of content under a particular theme or category. Think of it as the Pinterest for self-improvement. You can learn virtually anything under the sun, from how to code to getting into the basics of 3D printing.

Lumosity

Ever think your memory could use a boost? Lumosity is the site you want to head to. It’s a science-based game website that exercises your brain. From memory and verbal fluency to spatial skills and attention performance, Lumosity ensures you don’t lose your edge.

Khan Academy

This is your chance to master a subject you were too sleepy to wake up in college in order to attend. Khan Academy offers a multitude of courses, including Math, Science, Computing and Microeconomics, just to name a few.

Nerd’s Fitness

A CrossFit junkie goes to the gym, but where does a nerd go to? Nerd’s Fitness. This website is for the geek in every one of us. There’s no such thing as being too devoted about your body and your health,  and that’s why Nerd’s Fitness exists. It gives you informative articles and how-to’s on getting fitter and stronger – and always from a nerdy viewpoint. Their number one rule: We don’t care where you’re coming from, only where you’re going.

Information is Beautiful

This website uses the magic of visuals to represent interesting information. We must agree, information never looked so appealing before. You can get data visualized on everything, from who rules the world,to figuring out the potential tax revenue if drugs were legally sold.

Elite Daily

Self-proclaimed as “The Voice of Generation Y,” Elite Daily should be your browser home page. You can read anything about and for Generation Y, or find great tips on how to improve your skills and master new qualifications. Plenty of cute, inspirational content is always available too.

TED

Attending star-studded seminars doesn’t need to cost you a fortune. TED brings them all to you for free. TED shares  the best stories and ventures right on your screen; you can watch inspiring videos on initiatives that seek to change our thinking, our world, and our future.

Unplug the TV

This website lets you shun the urge to sit on your couch passively watching whatever’s on TV. “Unplug the TV” recommends interesting videos you can seek out and watch on your computer or device. Once you start using these links, we can confidently say there will be no more NCIS reruns for you!

The World FactBook

Get mind-blowing facts about your own and other countries, and you will have ample conversation starters for the next office cocktail party!

The Art Of Success: Read, Retain, Relate… Read

What makes someone a success? What’s the secret of the world’s top leaders? Why do some people seem so charismatic and influential?

The art of success in leadership and society, as well as in other areas, is due to reading. What seems to be a fairly simple activity is in fact the alpha and the omega when it comes to success.

Reading presupposes a passion for being ahead of the pack and it exhibits an undying wish to be knowledgeable and relevant at any given time. Successful people are aware of how crucial reading is for success, and that’s why they are more often than not voracious readers.

While easy in theory, in practice reading can be a time-consuming process, depending on your reading speed. It’s not enough to be an avid reader, you need to also be time-efficient. If it takes you more than 5 hours to read a typical 250-word book then your reading speed is below average. It’s simple: the faster you read, the more you learn, and the better equipped for success you’ll be.

So what’s the best formula in becoming successful? In a few words, follow the 4 Rs approach: Read, Retain, Relate, and Read.

Read

The first step is the most crucial. Read a book in a distraction-free environment so as to make it possible for the next two steps to work. The more focused you are, the better the results will be, and the more you will get out of every book.

Retain

This step is not really a separate process from the first step, once you’ve trained yourself in the concept.

When you read you need to understand what you’re reading. That’s why reading is a complex cognitive process. It requires a great deal of concentration to be able to read, understand the information you read, and put that new information in a new context.

Retaining what you read essentially means being able to explain what you’ve learned to another person.

Relate

For knowledge to stick, you need to relate what you’ve learned to previous knowledge. If you keep each body of knowledge distinct from one another, you’re losing a lot of valuable insights.

This process is a creative and prolific habit you should get into. If you’re reading a book on emotional intelligence, for example, see how the new information relates to what you knew about it already. See how emotional intelligence contradicts or compliments your knowledge of other types of knowledge, and so on.

The “Relate” step is crucial because it solidifies what you know as merely information into usable knowledge. What you’ve learned is no longer stand-alone information; once processed, it becomes knowledge you can retrieve at a moment’s notice and which can help you deal with an unexpected scenario or new circumstances.

Read

The fourth step is to read again. But it’s a bit different than the first step, this time. Here, “read” means to continue building knowledge upon knowledge, a key component of success.

Becoming successful is not a one-time event, it’s a life-long pursuit that calls for determination and a great deal of drive to achieve. Unless reading becomes part and parcel of your life, you won’t be able to achieve your full potential. Turn your screen off and read, retain, relate and then read some more!


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Speed Read Books – And See How It Affects Your Life

Do you ever wonder how different your life would be if you could speed read? Speed reading is a modern-day superpower. Flying is overrated and there’s not much use in spider webbing on any ordinary day. However, speed reading will help you every day. It’s a skill that you’ll use forever once you learn it, and the more you use it the more you’ll understand its importance. Speed reading gives you the power of knowledge.

No one can deny the importance of reading in general, but speed reading offers a whole new level of benefits: it gives you what conventional reading does, only in larger doses.

Speed reading has the power to:

  1. Give you information and facts that can guide your future actions and inform them with wisdom and intuitiveness. The experiences you live through the characters in the books you read provide you with insights that you may not get in your daily life.

  2. Nurture your empathy like no other hobby can.  The silent, listening aspect reading calls for makes it possible for you  to practice your ability to connect with someone, to hear them out, and to have a rational conversation with them, even if you disagree.

  3. Improve your self-discipline by helping you focus. Speed reading requires focus to be effective so by speed reading not only do you learn interesting things, but you also become more self-disciplined. It takes a lot of practice to be able to completely focus on speed reading, shutting off any distraction no matter how irresistible it might be.

  4. Change your life through the books you read. A book is capable of changing your mindset, helping you revise your values and priorities and even offering clarity and solutions when you need them.

  5. Be your one true companion. A good book is always patiently waiting for you to revisit it, to explore new aspects previously gone unnoticed, to fall in love with a misunderstood underdog, or discover a radically outstanding world of new creatures, rules and beliefs. Speed reading gives you all these in larger doses!

  6. Give you a sense of belonging. In a way, reading a book allows you to create a virtual identity as a member of the author’s world. You connect with the author, the protagonist, the era, and the people that make up the community of characters in a book. That’s an experience that nurtures and strengthens your imagination as well as your empathy.

  7. Empower you more quickly than you imagined. You know that knowledge is power and the more you read, the stronger and more influential you become – in your family, your work place, the world.  Speed reading ensures you have all facts to get your point of view across with determination and conviction.

  8. Strengthen your cognitive muscles and improve your overall mental functioning. Speed reading is a demanding cognitive task, and when you practice it your memory becomes more agile, your learning capacity improves, and you prepare the ground for more cognitive stimuli to be accumulated.

Still not convinced why you should speed read more books?

Cross-posted on the Speed Reading blog.


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Seven Strategic Practices To Stop Procrastination And Be Productive

Most of us struggle with procrastination. Our unwillingness to deal with an unpleasant, fear-inducing, or challenging task means our productivity is severely compromised. However, if we stopped putting off things for later, not only would we feel more accomplished, but we’d actually accomplish more, becoming more successful and productive.

There are many methods of “de-procrastinating” your life that will allow you to boost your productivity in a way that doesn’t feel forced and stressful. We share the 7 most important in this article. Read them now, not later!

Acknowledge your accountability

To make ourselves feel justified in our procrastination we often blame it in external factors: the weather is too nice to stay inside, my other projects are more pressing right now, I will deal with this when I feel more creative or confident. These excuses remove personal accountability out of the picture.

By becoming aware of your responsibility to stop procrastinating, you instantly take the matter into your hands. If you say, “I’m in control, I should deal with that call now,” this is you taking personal responsibility. When you zero in on your accountability, you are making it harder to procrastinate because you know there’s no one else to blame for it.

Accountability might make you feel a bit anxious in the beginning, but in the end it works in your favor, because you will be taking credit for your productivity and the end result!

Work now, play later

It’s easy to put off something because play is always much more fun than work.

The next time you find yourself procrastinating, say this out loud: “If I work now I get to play later on – YAY!”

This seemingly childish negotiation tactic with yourself gives you motivation to complete the task at hand and the liberty to have fun later on. A win-win approach!

Just dive into it already

The truth is, the longer you hesitate before starting a task, the more your mind will fret and twist an easy task into a monstrously big one. In order to prove this point, think about the last time you started a project and found that once you got your hands on it wasn’t as frightening as you thought it would be.

Instead of putting off hard projects, deal with them first, before any others. This will take a lot of pressure off your shoulders and you will feel much better about yourself once you cross the hardest projects off of your list! Stop paying heed to whatever your inner critic tells you.

Focus on the result, find inspiration by looking at your role models, defy all your fears and delve into your projects without over-analyzing them. Remember that the more you listen to your inner critic the worse at procrastinating you’ll get.

Self-talk needs to be positive, uplifting and optimistic. Inspire yourself with some pep talk and see how easy it is to confidently tackle your tasks one after the other.

Adjust your work environment

It’s very likely that your environment nurtures procrastination. You can create a productivity-boosting desk in a few easy steps:

  • Place a green plant or flower on top of it.

  • Put your phone away or in silent mode so that it doesn’t disturb your workflow

  • Block access to the websites you know you visit  when you’re procrastinating

  • Have a personal, uplifting item in view to keep you motivated (a photo, a keepsake, the tickets to the concert you’ve promised yourself as a reward for finishing)

  • Have an inspirational quote to keep you focused.

Tell others about your procrastination issues — be in the fight together

A struggle shared is a struggled halved. Sharing your concerns with fellow procrastinators will help you keep each other motivated and inspired to get your task lists under control.

Have regular talks where you give pep talks to each other and brainstorm new ideas on how to eliminate procrastination and boost productivity.

Stop making up excuses

Finally, stop yourself from making up excuses. As we’ve said before, we tend to over-complicate things by over-thinking them, when in reality they’re very easy to tackle.

All you need is to have a clear, intuitive hierarchy of your priorities and check upon them often. It’s possible that new circumstances call for goal revision so be open to redefining your goals and keep your productivity levels soaring.

Different Speed Reading Software Reviewed, Find Out Who Ranks #1

Do you ever wish you knew how to read two, three, or even more books in a matter of hours? People who’ve mastered the art and science of speed reading have done so, thanks to one speed reading program.

Several software reviewers have evaluated a range of speed reading software systems that help students learn how to speed read, and the decision is unanimous: 7 Speed Reading™ by eReflect is by far the most comprehensive and effective speed reading software on the market.

TopTenReviews names 7 Speed Reading™ its Gold Award Winner

One of the most thorough appraisals 7 Speed Reading™ has ever received comes from the TopTenReviews editors, who gave the software an overall rating of 9.95. The editors concluded that this software is a feature-rich and user-friendly speed reading program.

The TopTenReviews editors highlight other advantages of 7 Speed Reading™, such as its progress monitoring tool and its multiple user account capacity.

For 2014, Top TenReviews finds 7 Speed Reading™ the most effective and comprehensive program available. Compared with the features, tools, and technologies of other speed reading improvement programs, 7 Speed Reading™ seems to defy every one of its competitors. Its suitability for people of all ages and reading levels is another hard to miss benefit of the program, say the reviewers.

As the TopTenReviews editors point out, 7 Speed Reading™ offers a targeted yet balanced learning solution for people who wish to speed read, ensuring learners improve both their reading speed and reading comprehension.

Spreeder praises 7 Speed Reading™ for offering a personalized learning experience

In a detailed review of 7 Speed Reading™, Spreeder analyses the software’s progress tracking tool, revealing the ways in which it’s more than just progress monitoring. Its ultimate goal is to offer each learner a premium, customized learning experience designed to boost their reading speed. More specifically, as the Spreeder editor reveals, “In testing their product, eReflect discovered that this customized learning approach increased results by over 163%, and reduced the required effort of students by over 221%.”

Typing Lounge confirms 7 Speed Reading™’s premium quality

Typing Lounge is a typing skills authority, but the editors are concerned with all aspects of language improvement, including reading. The site has released a series of speed reading software reviews in which the top position is reserved for 7 Speed Reading™, eReflect’s reading and comprehension improvement program.

The review by Typing Lounge is objective and thorough; the editors pick apart all its features, sorting them into pros and cons for their readers’ convenience.
The software’s user-friendly interface, its wide variety of games and activities, and finally its ebook library that numbers more than 600 ebooks are the main highlights Typing Lounge emphasizes in their review.

After an evaluation of the program’s features such as its training modules, the touch typing video tutorials, and its progress tracking technology —all of which contribute to an accelerated reading speed — Typing Lounge remarks, “7 Speed Reading™ software is perfect in every way.”

The overall rating 7 Speed Reading™ received from Typing Lounge is 9/10.

So far, 2014 has been a star-studded year for 7 Speed Reading™, and it has been receiving appraising and approving reviews by many respectable organizations and review sites. The combination of features, the latest technologies, and the developers’ passion for educational technology all contributed to 7 Speed Reading™ becoming a top ranking speed reading program.

 

Cross-posted on the 7 Speed Reading blog.


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Time Management Skills – The Pomodoro Way

Are you a master of time management, or do you find your to-do lists overwhelmingly unrealistic?

If you’re honestly trying to be more productive and time-efficient, but you find that distractions are hard to resist to and you cannot seem to focus for more than 15 minutes straight, no matter the task, you’re probably frustrated and overwhelmed.

Does this sound familiar? If so, then you should try the Pomodoro technique. It’s a unique time management technique that boosts your productivity and makes task completion fun and rewarding.

Pomodoro is a straightforward time management technique that’s free and doesn’t require any fancy equipment or investment. In fact, you can start practicing the Pomodoro technique right now.

But first, let’s see what it entails.

Essentially, you need a kitchen timer set to 25 minutes. You’ll use the timer to create a time period – a “Pomodoro” – during which you focus your entire attention to the task designated. It’s that simple!

However, six parameters need to be in place for you to become a true Pomodoro technique master. These six objectives need to be mastered one by one. You shouldn’t jump onto the next without fully mastering the previous, to ensure best results.

  • Pomodoro Task

Decide on the task you’re going to Pomodoro. How many 25-minute chunks do you need? Plan this according to the effort it will take, the complexity of the task, and your own productivity on any given day. These will help you make a good estimation of the time involved.

  • Protect your Pomodoro

Know your enemies. Is it Facebook? Your parents calling for the 7th time this morning? Protect your Pomodoro from these distractions!

  • Pomodorize your activity

How many Pomodoros are needed for a specific task? 2 Pomodoros? Half a Pomodoro? Examine your task and estimate the time it will take to complete it. The more specific you can be, the better.

  • Recapitulate and Review

Ensure you don’t spend your Pomodoro(s) all on doing the task itself. It’s also important to allow time for recapitulation of the task and reviewing what you’ve done to make sure each goal is met and each project completed in its entirety.

  • Create your to-do timetable

Plan a timetable according to your to-do list, or whatever other method you find most useful (for example, an hourly schedule). Just remember that when you’re making a chart or list, you need to make it a Pomodoro-based timetable with the exact Pomodoro number for each task. If you’ve made sure to allot enough Pomodoros to each task, you will be fine.

  • Set a personal goal

What’s your ultimate goal with any given task? Preparing a top-notch report? Finishing your dissertation before June 25th? It doesn’t matter what your objective is as long as it’s a personal one aiming at helping you become a better, more efficient or skillful person.

The Pomodoro technique was developed back in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo as a way to achieve better time management. The defining characteristic of the Pomodoro technique is the many brain breaks you take between tasks.

Breaks

For each Pomodoro completed, you need to take a 5-minute break. For every 4 Pomodoros (100 mins) you need to take a 15- to 20-minute break.

The idea is that the more brain breaks you take, the more motivated and focused you will be at a given task.

A break triggers your mind to rest and come back more resilient and effective.

The brief focus on a task completely unrelated to a project (you can wash the dishes for your five-minute break, for example) and this change in focus helps you return to a project with a clear mind and a can-do attitude.

How does it improve time management?

The Pomodoro technique keeps you focused and ensures you don’t linger on unrelated distractions. It allows you to work at the most efficient pace possible.

Having a timer next to you provides a subconscious sense of urgency, encouraging you to get focused.

In addition, you become accountable. Since every task is quantified according to how many Pomodoros it takes, you are forced to stick to your schedule, something that also boosts your productivity and efficiency.

By learning to respect work flow you’ll manage to accomplish more in less time without necessarily damaging the outcome. Try it!

Summer Speed Reading: Ease Your Boredom & Become More Knowledgeable

What are you reading this summer? Or don’t you plan to read at all? After all there are many other pleasurable distractions in summer, like beach parties, barbeque parties, vacations, and mouthwatering cocktails.

But even with these pleasurable activities, there are instances when summertime can get a bit dull and repetitive. For example, what do you do while you’re sitting fishing on the dock, or killing time while in the plane boarding lounge? These hours can be filled with a great book. Besides, not every summer day is vacation day, and you need to do your best to ease your boredom and stay knowledgeable so that when autumn arrives you won’t have lost any of your edge.

Here are our top 10 books you can speed read this summer.

Think Like a Freak: How to Think Smarter about Almost Everything

Levitt and Dubner follow up their success with the book “Freakonomics” to show you how to adopt a new way of thinking — which sometimes mean thinking and acting like a child would!

Buck

A book inspired by a true story, “Buck” tells the story of a kid going against all odds in life and succeeding. This coming-of-age memoir by M. K. Asante perfectly illustrates the key role played by education and literature to inspire, heal, and move us closer to personal fulfillment.

Tomboy

A graphic memoir by Liz Prince, this is an excellent demonstration of how many girls and boys struggle with gender ambiguity in their first years of development and later in social settings, caught between the standard “girly” and “boyish” predilections on play, dressing and being.

Liz Prince gives us a glimpse into her psyche and how we live in a paradox of rejecting gender roles and at the same time fully embracing and championing them. Suzy X from Rookie Mag comments, “It’s not very often you read a goofy coming-of-age comic written with an astutely critical lens… and then there’s Liz Prince’s ‘Tomboy.’”

American Afterlife

Before you declare this book too creepy for the beach, hear me out. It’s a testament of how Americans are commemorating their dead, what rituals they follow, and what this eventually means for how people mourn, move on, and become more resilient. By Kate Sweeney.

Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do.

This book by Wallace J. Nichols explores the ubiquitous but often overlooked role that water plays in our physical wellbeing and sanity. A great tribute to how water influences our mood, mindset, and health. Wallace is a marine biologist infatuated with water’s magnificent power.

The Working Memory Advantage: Train Your Brain to Function Stronger, Smarter, Faster

Tracy and Ross Alloway give us this masterpiece on memory improvement and how we can make the most out of this unique human capacity we all share. A must-read if you never seem to remember to return your mom’s calls.

Eating Wildly

This book by Ava Chin takes you by the hand and shows you what foraging for food in New York looks like. This memoir expresses our universal need to be connected to and in harmony with nature, our most natural habitat.

Naked Imperfection: A Memoir

A heartfelt, inspiring memoir by breast-cancer survivor Gill Deacon. With brutal honesty she shares with readers her struggle and ultimate victory. A bit heavy for summer perhaps, but a great read nonetheless that puts life into perspective.

This One Summer

This book will certainly make your summer unforgettable. If you expect the protagonist’s summer to be just like every other one, you couldn’t be more wrong. A heart-throbbing story of a girl’s coming of age by Mariko Tamaki.

The Chimp Paradox: The Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness

Chris Peter is a consulting psychiatrist for many organizations and firms, including the national English Football team. With this book on mind programming, he shares the Chimp Paradox model, and explains how he helps individuals take full control of their mind and unlock their true potential.

Cross-posted on the 7 Speed Reading blog.


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Slow Down For Better Productivity

Sometimes, fast-paced lifestyles don’t cut it. You’d think that reading, eating and working faster would catapult your productivity into a new level of efficiency, but the truth is  that such an energy-depleting way of living can lead to burnout instead.

There’s only so much stress and pressure one person can handle. While power drinks and coffee might offer you that desperately needed push, sometimes to be productive you must slow down. Yes, I said slow down.

Before you dismiss my proposal as impossible, hear me out. It might sound ironic but it’s true; we’ve been trained to think that the faster we engage with tasks the better our results. But this is only partially true. If what we’re after is long-term, sustainable productivity then the key is to slow down a bit. With less stress burdening your shoulders you boost your clarity and efficiency, ultimately allowing yourself to be more productive.

Thanks, but no thanks

It’s important to turn down extra projects, overtime work, and anything else that puts extra strain on your already packed schedule. If people come to know you as the “yes, of course I will” person, then you will soon find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of tasks and responsibilities constantly deluging you, and you’ll find it increasingly harder to say “no.”

Saying “sorry, no” reminds people of your own humanity and limitations, and its nurtures others’ respect for you. Fewer responsibilities mean less workload, which then equals better productivity. Simple math here.

It’s all in the present moment

To manage to be productive even at a slowed-down pace requires that you practice mindfulness. Stop worrying over others’ future expectations and opinions of you. Rather, focus on what you need and should accomplish right now.

You can do this by focusing in the present moment. Forget the bigger picture and just be at peace with what you didn’t manage to do (your past) and what you should do (your future). This way you are mindful of what you’re capable of achieving right this moment.

This realization is what will boost your productivity, even if you are working in what it seems to be ridiculously slow-motion.

Sleep, what’s that?

It shouldn’t be optional, period. Sleep has been found to be more important than exercise and its essential role in your well-being is unquestionable. Sleep helps you better control your diet and food intake, while sleep deprivation makes you prone to mistakes and less resistant to fatty and sugary snacks.

With more sleep, you will achieve a consistent and enhanced brain functionality, increase your alertness, and overall perform better with less effort. No project, event or circumstance is more important than sleep.

Our society fosters fast-paced lifestyles; we’re expected to speed read, touch type at 150 wpm, and constantly multi-task so that we can fit everything we need to do into a tight 24 hour time frame. While this increased speed can improve our productivity in the short term, slowing down is important for both our well-being and work performance.  Having overwhelming schedules is not obligatory. It’s an option, and a choice we make each day.

You can change this by being more mindful of your daily routines, focusing more on your health and well-being by resting, turning down more responsibilities, getting enough sleep, and just slowing down from time to time, to recuperate.

If You Want to Learn Something New, You Need To Experience It

Experience fosters learning. No matter how much you may wish you could download skills and knowledge into your brain, the only foolproof way of mastering anything in life is through experience. And by experience, we mean “trial and error.”

Virtually any skill – speed reading, touch typing, walking, speaking a foreign language – requires substantial amounts of time invested in practicing. During a 1957 press conference, William Faulkner was asked for his advice to young, aspiring writers. This was his reply:

At one time I thought the most important thing was talent. I think now that — the young man or the young woman must possess or teach himself, train himself, in infinite patience, which is to try and to try and to try until it comes right. He must train himself in ruthless intolerance.

On a similar vein, Aristotle asserted the same principle of experiential learning, hundreds of years before Faulkner:

For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.

This is the basic premise that underlines experiential learning (learning from experience). We don’t first learn something and then do it, rather we learn it by doing it. In other words, practice precedes learning and experience is a prerequisite for mastery. You cannot expect to speed read just by reading a book about speed reading, but the moment you experience and practice that skill you become a speed reader.

Experiential education is what allows a person to fully immerse themselves in the learning of a skill or capacity, and it’s what produces the most impressive learning results. According to psychologist David Kolb, knowledge is the product of experience. When a person is having a concrete experience, for example when they’re learning touch typing, this physical experience is what will allow the beginning typist to mentally reflect on their performance and produce their own interpretation of the process. With these abstract interpretations of the learning experience the typist is then back in the physical realm, actively testing out their assertions; this cycle is what ultimately results in learning to touch type. We repeat this process of practice, reflection, concept formation, and re-testing until learning takes place.

This approach to learning, like all others, of course has its flaws. Many people point out this theory’s inability to explain how people also learn without reflecting on the learning process. A common example is the fact that a person can learn how to tie their shoelaces through repetition, rather than reflecting on the process.

Nonetheless, the reflective aspect of experiential learning has a wide range of benefits and functions. With experiential learning, for example, we increase our self-esteem because we succeed in teaching ourselves something new by actively applying the new knowledge. This process is rewarding and gives a big boost to self-confidence because it has tangible results the learner can immediately recognize.

Theory turns into knowledge when we’re allowed to participate in our learning in a mindful, receptive, and attentive manner. What’s more, experiential learning is what will offer us the confirmation that learning indeed took place, that we’ve mastered a new skill and we’re ready to advance it even further. Whenever you have the chance, choose to learn through experience and practice rather than in the abstract. The results will astonish you.