Displaying All Posts by Ana da Silva

5 Great Links for Speed Reading and Concentration

In an earlier article, I discussed the merits of teaching speed reading in schools.  While it doesn’t appear to be something on the immediate horizon, the web has a few options worth considering if you want to upgrade your speed reading skills:

Speed Reading Techniques

This is a quick guide from Indiana Wesleyan University.

How To Speed Read

BBC.com’s guide to students who want to learn speed reading.

Developing Better Concentration

Athletes have to concentrate if they’re to improve.  Here is a guide from a fitness professional that includes concentration techniques.

A Guide to Meditation for the Rest of Us

Concentration is key not only to speed reading but also to achieving goals.  Here’s a guide with suggested timers and music.

Building One Big Brain

New York Times columnist Robert Wright comments on author Nicholas Carr’s suspicion that the internet ‘is chipping away [his] capacity for concentration and contemplation.’

Do you have a particular method or tool at your disposal that helps you improve your speed reading skills?  Let us know in the comments. Click Here to Read Article …

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Do You Have an Intern from Hell?

Ah, summertime in the northern hemisphere!

If your company takes on interns this is the time of year where you’ve got your share of college kids walking around the office in their only pair of crumpled slacks and inappropriate shoes.

By the average office standards, my “intern shoes” weren’t exactly inappropriate. But by the standards of my employer, a Madison Avenue boutique public relations firm, my shoes and the rest of my wardrobe were offensively unfashionable. But this was the least of their worries. I officially became the intern from hell on the day I unintentionally mixed up the press clippings from 2 brands that had very similar names – let’s call them Soda and Soda A. There were hundreds of clippings! I realized this soon after I ended my contract (as opposed to my contract being ended for me);it must have taken my supervisors quite a while to sort out everything.

How about you, have you been an intern from hell or have you had one in your office? Click Here to Read Article …

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Should Speed Reading Techniques Be Taught in School?

I picked up a teach yourself book at a friend’s today about speed reading.  It states that with speed reading one can maximize their time and improve their reading efficiency.  I’ve never met people who speed read but it seems like such a good idea. If we all could speed read we would be able to go through all of the information we go through every day much more quickly, allowing more time for our work.  It leaves me wondering why speed reading isn’t taught in school as a skill – along with algebra shortcuts and writing short hand.

Do you think speed reading techniques should be taught in school?  Do you think or know if it really helps? Click Here to Read Article …

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How Relative Is “Being on Time”?

In some cultures it is acceptable to be late, meaning arriving after the agreed upon time. This makes the definition of “being on time” subjective as some take it as meaning being 5 minutes before the agreed upon time, for others 15 minutes after.

I’ve asked this of many people and some swear there’s no such thing as cultural differences when it comes to being on time. Others argued that everyone knows that everyone else will be 15 minutes late so, in fact, everyone is on time.  In today’s increasingly diverse workplaces these differences can create some tension – and make some team members feel they’re being taken advantage of.

Do you deal with this cultural difference in your workplace? What approach do you take? Click Here to Read Article …

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How Much Vacation Time Is Necessary?

When I was living in the United States, we had 2 weeks off per year as standard vacation time – although I did work somewhere where we only had 1 week off.  Not so in Europe.

Many countries there give employees 5 or 6 weeks off per year.  The argument for more time off is usually supported by the fact that everyone needs time to:

  1. Rest
  2. Be with family
  3. Enjoy a hobby (or whatever activity makes one happy – skiing, surfing, etc.)

Those who support less time off have argued that with too much time off, people cannot concentrate once they’re back in the office.

So, are you for more or less time off for vacation?  How much time do you need to recharge your batteries?
Click Here to Read Article …

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Do You Get More Done Working Alone or Around Others?

The idea of working all alone seems pretty tempting: nothing to distract your thinking process, no stress from the jerk on the cell phone.  Just quiet.

Too quiet.

Sometimes my mind gets distracted by the silence – I find myself wondering where everyone is.  So, like some other people who work from home I put on the television.  Sometimes that does the trick, but at other times I just really wish there were some people around.  Not co-workers, not people I know, but just (quiet) people as background noise.  I worked from a café the other day and I got so many things done, so many ideas just popped up in my mind.  The ambient noise was a catalyst of sorts.

What about you? Are you more productive at home, working alone, or when you’re around others? Click Here to Read Article …

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Do You Have an Email Routine?

You open your inbox for the first time in the day and there are 98 new messages; they’re from mom and dad, clients, that friend from high school who just found you on Facebook, a few stray spam messages and so on. Even if you spend an average of just 1 minute per message that’ll add up to more than an hour and a half. You just don’t have that much time to spare right now. So what do you do?

  • Look for important messages now and leave the rest for later?
  • Employ The Two Minute Rule; taking care of the ones that matter right now and defer the ones that don’t?
  • Read them all now and reply to them all later?

What’s your routine for checking email? Click Here to Read Article …

Social Bookmarking: The New Search Engine?

Search engines seem to be increasingly useless in producing relevant results when users search for something specific. Even Google – which used to solve all query problems – often produces mediocre results, giving users paid search results that aren’t quite what they’re looking for.

Social bookmarking often produces not only relevant but also better results, wasting much less of a user’s time. Searching on StumbleUpon for example, saves a user from going through pages of irrelevant Google results.  Other popular examples of social bookmarking websites are:

  • Reddit
  • Digg
  • Delicious
  • Metafilter
  • Squidoo
  • Slashdot

…but there are a lot more out there for you to use.  Each one has its own feature set that enhances the user experience, but ultimately it just boils down to user preference when it comes to picking a favorite.

What’s your experience with social bookmarking?  Do you use it? Click Here to Read Article …