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Why I Renewed My Library Card

I am a huge fan of e-readers, it’s so much easier to pack one lightweight tablet then a dozen big heavy books. If I’m not reading a book on my Kindle, then I’m probably listening to it on Audible – which is even more portable. Thanks to these two things combined I haven’t read a physical book in I can’t even tell you how long.

But the other day all that changed.

I met a woman who was telling me all about the book club she was part of. As she’s telling me about their current book she pulls it out of her handbag. I couldn’t believe it. Not only was she reading an actual hard copy book, but it was a book she had loaned from the library! Gasp!

It’s been a long time since I last stepped foot in a library.

The more I thought about it though, I realized this woman was totally on to something. If I’m being honest with you it’s not often these days that I finish a book. Having a e-reader allows me to read a few pages while I’m on the subway or waiting at the dentist, which means I don’t make as much time to sit down and just read! Read more

Don’t Drop That Hobby — It Could Make You More Productive

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 4.34.16 PMHobbies can be a double-edged sword. You’re always trying to carve out more time for them but then when you actually do them — you feel like you should be doing something else to stay productive. What’s the fun in that?

Well here’s some good news. Did you know that your favorite distraction could actually be boosting your productivity? It’s true – here’s a list of some popular hobbies that will build up your mind and muscles to help you get things done!

List-making: Yes! List making is a hobby. Organizing everything into lists is a great way to get all of your thoughts out. This will also prepare you for things you want to get done. As I mentioned in my book, “Listful Thinking” many celebrities reached their level of success by making lists. A few of these people include Richard Branson, Octavia Spencer, Bobby Flay, Heidi Klum, and Sandra Bullock!

Exercising: There are countless ways to get your body moving. Recently, a friend of mine was talking about how she wanted to start being healthy, but she didn’t know where to start. Starting small is the way to go, before you can move onto anything else.

If you live in a big city like I do, you’re already getting a ton of walking in! Some of my other personal favorites include hiking, swimming, and dancing. Physical activity releases endorphins in your brain which gives you that feel-good sensation.

Writing: Write, type, record– anything! Get your thoughts out of your head and express yourself for at least 10 minutes a day. Turn it into a book or just throw it away. Writing in your spare time is a perfect place to channel your energy. This will get your creative juices flowing. I’ve found that once you make a habit of something – even just writing an idea down once a day- it will become so much easier to do on demand.

Art: Whether it’s painting a picture, doodling on your notebook or sculpting some play-doh, creating something is one of the best ways to calm your mind. This is one of those hobbies that are great for thinking outside of the box and getting in touch with your creative side. *

Listening to music: Music can increase your productivity in two different ways. If you’re trying to clear your head, put together a relaxing playlist. If you’re trying to get motivated, knock out your to-do’s with an inspirational playlist.

Puzzles: Challenge your mind with a puzzle. This will put your brain to work and help you improve your problem solving skills. People who solve puzzles are more likely to creatively assess problems in their lives.

Meditation/Yoga: This is perfect for you if you are overstressed and desperately need a release. Practicing meditation and yoga will put your focus back in check, calm your nerves and clear your mind. It’s also important to pay attention when you’re doing one pose at a time. This is great practice for when you’re working on only one task at a time.

Reading: Reading is a great pastime to open yourself to new ideas and take you to new places. So pick up a new book or listen to a podcast! Read something you wouldn’t typically read and try out authors you’ve never heard of. This is the best way to sharpen your mind and learn new things. This will help you think quicker on your feet. Something we could all do when trying to be more efficient.

How does your hobby make you more productive?

Read Faster with the Blinkist App

Blinkist app (Photo Credit: allmyfaves.com)

Blinkist app (Photo Credit: www.allmyfaves.com)

There are so many books on my reading list, that are sadly still waiting to be read. I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction lately like “How to Make Every Man Want You” by Marie Forleo and “Less Doing, More Living: Make Everything in Life Easier” by Ari Meisel. But between work and my day to day schedule, it’s hard to find the time to sit down and enjoy a book in it’s entirety.

However, I recently discovered a new solution to my problem– the app Blinkist!

Blinkist works the same way as sites like Cliff Notes by providing a quick and short synopsis of a book—this time on your iPhone or iPad! The app takes the full text of a non-fiction book and turns it into quick snippets of information. Rather than scrolling through pages and pages of text, Blinkist gives you the most important information from a text in just fifteen minutes! Here are some of the perks Blinkist has to offer:

1.     The books are put into categories, helping you to find what book you’re searching for easily. There’s even a productivity and self-help category! Read more

Get More Done By Speed Reading

Speed Reading Class

Photo credit: iBjorn)

With only 24 hours in a day, finding time to get everything done in our hectic lives is really a challenge. Each day I find new articles, books, or little tidbits that I am dying to read but they just end up collecting dust in a pile on my counter or get lost in one of my cyber folders – what a waste!  I’ve started using a new system to capture some of the tweets and articles I want to read later but it’s not enough. It’s hard enough to read what I need to (especially now that I am attending B-School) and it’s frustrating that I have no time to read for fun.  But recently, I thought… “What if I could speed read?” that would solve this problem, right?

Speed reading is a technique that allows you to obtain the material you are reading in half the time as normal by reading groups of words at once. It may seem strange and it’s a little intimidating at first, but it really works !

Here are two tools that I found for quick and easy speed reading:

ReadQuickApp: This app displays an article (no books) of your choice one word at a time at the pace you are comfortable with. You can start at the slowest speed and gradually move on to get used to the technique! It will also tell you how long an article will take you to read based on your words per minute. (Cost $9.99 and is available for the iPhone)

Spritz: Want to read a whole novel in 90 minutes or less? Well now you can with Spritz. This app works by displaying one word at a time with a “fixation point.” One letter of the word is a different color and that is where you focus your eye. This allows you to focus on the word individually and obtain it, rather then moving your eyes side to side – this leads to distraction. This app can train you to read up to 1,000 words a minute – that is some serious speed reading! (Comes out around March 21st for Android, Javascript for web, and iOS. Test it out on their site here.)

If you can’t get into the speed reading that’s okay- it’s not for everyone! There are other ways to cut down reading time by using some old fashioned skimming techniques:

Yahoo News Digest (formerly Summly): No time to read lengthy news articles? This app will summarize them for you. Each story is created from multiple news sources that way you are consuming the essential information. You get all the important stuff without wasting your time! And it’s free!

Need 2 Know: This awesome free newsletter gives you “Need 2 Know” news coverage! It’s one of the first things I read in the morning.  They consider themselves the CliffsNotes for news. In each news category they sum up everything you need in 1-2 sentences. Want to know more details later – no worries, they provide the links for the full coverage.

How do you get all your reading done? Let me know which reading techniques you like best – I’m always looking for new ideas.

“Netflix for Books” Can Save You Money!

English: A Picture of a eBook Español: Foto de...It’s been so cold here in New York and I’m looking forward this weekend when I can stay inside and cozy up with a good book to relax! I really love biographies, historical fiction, and any book that’s about to be made into a movie. As a kid – I loved going to the library and would often pick the same books over and over (usually Curious George or Paul’s Christmas Birthday.) But with libraries becoming virtually a thing of the past, reading can actually be a pretty costly hobby (not to mention costly for the environment if you’re still buying hard copies.)  And think about all the clutter those beloved books create.

Recently, I discovered Oyster – it’s the app CNN calls “Netflix for Books” because, for a monthly subscription, you can read an unlimited number of titles available in their library. I was completely into the app until I realized that their library had a lot of interesting titles, but very few that were already on my reading list.

But fear not — Oyster isn’t the only app that lets you subscribe and read all you want – BookSwim and BookLending.com offer similar services, but they each have their own pros and cons.

Read more