How To Read A Book Once & Never Have To Read It Again Ever

Summary – The 10 Points Everytime Technique

This Is Me A Few Years Ago

My name is Banji and I am an information addict. (This is the part where you say – “Hi Banji!”)

I used to read every words in the book and tried to get as much wisdom from it as possible. I would then take notes and sometime try my best to memorize what I just read.

In the past, I even took note from watching the Discovery Channel so I can quote them later.

Why Doing Everything Twice Can Be A Problem

Clearly this is NOT the way to go. If I continue taking note from the books I read, I will spend half of my life rewriting all the books I read. It is very likely that I will never even read the notes. It’s just like buying a DVD with the intention of rewatching it when you have free time, in the end, the DVD is just collecting dust somewhere in your room.

In short, some people (myself included) really like to do everything twice or thrice. If we read a book, we will reread it a couple more time to make sure we don’t miss anything. If we like a movie, we will rewatch it again and again just to enjoy it. However this is not a very productive habit.

You may now ask “So what’s the problem?”.

If you think about it, there shouldn’t be any problem. You will be able to memorize a whole novel or an encyclopaedia (Who reads encyclopaedia anyway?) or you will be able to enjoy your favorite movies instead of all the rubbish on other channels,

The truth is, you are actually depleting your most valuable resource pointlessly – Time.

An average human is estimated to live up to 70 years. Just imagine spending 70 years rereading the same 10 books or watching the same 10 movies Don’t you think it is a waste of your time? In that 70 years you should be able to finish at least 1200 books (if you read 2 books monthly since age 20).

Why can’t we do everything just one time and still get the benefit of people redoing it a thousand times?

The following tips may help you to do just that.

1) Remember the 10

When you read a book, make it a point to list down 10 lessons you can extract from it. For example, if you read this article, just try to remember the 3 points listed here. After you finish reading it, repeat that 3 points in your mind and you don’t need to reread this article ever again.

Of course if you are reading a motivational book, try to memorize 10 points from what you have just read. If you found your 10 points but you are still on page 20, stop reading for the day. Continue reading tomorrow for another 10 points.

Another example is when you are reading a novel. Try to visualize all the key events in the story. Once you reached that 10 points, you can stop reading for the day. Repeat the story in your mind based on the 10 key events and continue reading the novel tomorrow.

You get the picture.

2) Forbid yourself from redoing what’s done

This is usually the hardest part. It’s very hard to keep your hand off from rereading what you have read yesterday. Just remember that you don’t have the time to redo everything in your life. Be slightly firm with this.

Even if you forget the story or the 10 points from yesterday, just continue reading. Believe me, the memory will resurface and when it does, it will be even harder to forget it later.

3) Have faith in your mind

Do you know that our brain is one of the most amazing things in the world. Studies have been done on the mind for thousands of years and we still barely scratch the surface of its true potential.

There’s a case featured on Discovery Channel not long ago about a woman who fall down a cliff and broke her knee. She was alone in the forest and she should not be able to survive without any help. Somehow, her subconcious mind realized that if she was in pain, there’s no way she would be able to get help, so the brain had stopped the pain neural system from sending pain messages to the brain. She didn’t feel any pain at all. In the end, she manage to walk for miles and get help even with her broken knee. Amazing!

I’m sorry I can’t put a reference link to the story, but it really is a true story.

In short, what ever you want, your mind will make it happen. Never underestimate what it capable of doing. Once you have memorize the 10 points, it will be stored permanently in your brain. Believe in this. You just need to know how to retrieve it effectively. I will elaborate on this in the future.

– I wonder –
How many of us reread a book more than twice?

———— Personal Note ————
I have in my collection about 100 VCDs and DVDs of movies. My real intention when I first bought them is to rewatch the movies whenever I have nothing to do. It has been a few years after I bought my first VCD – “Hollow Man”, and I can safely say that I rewatch only about 1% of them.

When I think about it, I have bought a lot of things based on the intention to reuse it over and over but I usually will only use it once.

Photo Credit – Demi Brooke


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7 Tricks To Spice Up Your To Do List

Summary – To-Do List equals Prioritize & Results
I’m sure everyone can agree that one of the best tools for productivity is the To-Do list. All productivity gurus recommend it. In fact, it is considered as the foundation of productivity by some. Generally, a To-Do list is a system in which you will list down all the tasks needed to be done. Once a task is completed, it will be written off from the list. It’s as simple as that.

However do you know that To-Do list can be further improved to maximize productivity? Here are 7 tricks I personally implement that you might find useful.

1) Write this sentence at the top of your To-Do list

“It is never about how many left, it is about how many accomplished”

How many times have you been so happy that you have completed a lot of the tasks listed, but by the time you are about to celebrate, another set of tasks occupy the list. If your focus everyday is to clear that list, you will be frustrated everyday.

That is why it is always better to focus on the number of tasks completed instead of number of tasks left on the list. Believe me, it will make a lot of difference in our motivation level once our perception on the concept of a To-Do list changed.

2) Keep a record (The Done List)

Based on the same philosophy, I would recommend you to keep a record of the tasks completed. Make another list if you can – The Done list. Any tasks you have written off from your To-Do list, put them in this list. This list will serve as a reminder to you that you can be productive if you want. It will also help boost that declining motivation almost immediately.

If motivation is not a problem to you, at least take pride in your work. You deserve it.

3) Set points and its corresponding rewards

This tip is actually one of my favorites. I put points to all my tasks on the To-Do list. The most urgent tasks will be given 10 points, while the less important ones will be given 5 points. The tasks which are not important are given 0 points. Yes, Zero. I will tell you why shortly.

I will then set a target and its corresponding rewards. For example, if I ever reached 5000 points, I will treat myself with a one day leave. Of course you can make this more interesting by allowing further accumulation of the points. It’s your rule.

The reason I give the least important task a zero is because I have experimented before by giving it 1 points. I end up avoiding doing all the urgent tasks and just focus on these trivia tasks. That itself is an example of a To-Do list went wrong.

4) Make it ugly

I have a friend who actually decorate her To-Do list. She actually writes with such beautiful handwriting on a beautiful piece of paper. If I’m not mistaken, it’s the kind of paper I used to write love letter on. But that’s another story. In the end, her To-Do list is not getting any shorter and she is more stressful than ever.

I have nothing against beautifully written work. But for a To-Do list, I would recommend you to write with your worst handwriting ever (Of course it must be readable too). The whole purpose of a To-Do list is to cross the items off. By making it ugly, you are subconciously pushing yourself to finish the tasks as soon as possible. Who would want to have an ugly written list unchanged for a year?

5) Use paper with lines

I once used a whiteboard as my To-Do list. It was a bad idea. Since there was no lines to separate the tasks, I often just squeezed the new task in between the existing tasks. By the end of the day, the whiteboard was filled with incomprehensible words.

Use paper with lines for your To-Do list. Nothing is more frustrating that a board full of tasks but you can’t read it.

6) Make the list short

Now that you are using paper with lines, why not limit your To-Do list further by having only 10 tasks on each paper. It is very tempting to have a very long list. But the truth is, a short list is better in term of efficiency and simplicity. Here are a few additional reasons why a short list is always better.

  • Easy to scan through anytime.
  • Highlight the most important task immediately.
  • More satisfying when you write off a task.
  • Having completed one paper of tasks will give you an extra boost of motivation.
  • You are always eager to free up some space on your paper by completing the task.

A suggestion, go through your To-Do list and find tasks that can be delegated. Write that off. Now find other tasks that can just be eliminated. You should by now have reduced the length of your To-Do list by half. Congratulation!

7) Take three tasks out (Literally)

Remember your To-Do list with ten tasks? Now tear the top three tasks and immediately complete the tasks. Instead of crossing off tasks after you complete it, you are now doing it the other way around. If three tasks is too much, you can always choose just the one. It will help if the tasks torn are your most important tasks of the day.

There is only one rule to this technique. You must complete the task by all means. Once you allow yourself to procrastinate or rewrite the tasks again tomorrow, it will immediately become a habit. You don’t want that.

/end list

Conclusion

There are so many ways you can improve your To-Do list, but it will not work if you don’t understand the fundamental of a To-Do list. A To-Do list is meant to help you prioritize which tasks are more important. The list will also be useless if you avoid completing all the tasks.

– I Wonder –
Any other tricks you might want to share with the rest of the readers?

———– Personal Note ————-
My first computer got infected by virus almost monthly. I could put up with a virus that shows funny message once in a while, but this virus slowed my computer to a near halt. As a result, I formatted my computer every month. Fortunately, I had prepared a To-Do list on the steps to be taken immediately after a computer format. The list contained what softwares to install, what were the settings etc. Ah the good times.

Photo Credit – Purpleslog


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Summary – The 3 Elements of Personal Development

I’ve actually known someone who doesn’t believe in personal development. According to him, we should just live and enjoy our life as it is. I obviously don’t agree with him. If not, this blog will not even exist.

Personal development for me is one of the most important thing in life. If not, we might as well spend our days lying naked and crying all day long to be fed. However, I must admit that the word “personal development” itself is a heavy word. It is considered one of the many serious and difficult topics throughout literature.

Personal Development Is Actually Simple

The truth is, we are practising personal development almost every second of our life without even knowing it. Yes, it’s true. Take being thirsty for an example. We will immediately know that we need water. The whole process of recognizing the need of water, the walk to the fridge and the drinking is personal development. We are now no longer thirsty and that is the goal.

Just look around you. Everything you do will consist of the 3 elements of personal development. You identify what you want, you figure out how to get it and you go get it. Don’t you think the word “personal development” now feels a lot lighter a topic?

Just like a man lost in the jungle. He will be just fine if he has a destination in mind, a map to guide him and the will to walk. These are the 3 basic elements of personal development:

1) Goals – Know what you want to achieve.
2) Methodology – Know exactly how to achieve it.
3) Do it – The action without which everything else is just daydreaming.

Just memorize these 3 elements and nothing will be impossible to you. Listed below are the top 4 of my favorite techniques to help your personal development quest. Good luck!

1) Goals

  • Die next year – This is one of my favorite techniques when it comes to sorting out priorities. Just imagine that you will die next year. List down all the things you want to achieve. Now look over your list, and decide which items if achieved will make your life complete.
  • Other people’s success – Some will argue that this is a bad advice, but I truly think that other’s success in life can be a very good goal in our life. If you define success as having a million dollars, research your local millionaire and find out how exactly he succeeded.
  • 5 years plan – Just answer the following question as detailed as possible. What will you achieve in 5 years time? This is actually a cool tool since you will know whether you are on the right track towards your goals.
  • SMART Goals – SMART is an abbreviation of the key characteristics of a goal. A goal should always be:
    Specific

    • “I want to be successful” – No
    • “I want to become a doctor” – Yes

    Measurable

    • “I want to be rich” – No
    • “I want to have a million dollars” – Yes

    Attainable

    • “I want to be forever young” – No
    • “I want to be healthy” – Yes

    Realistic

    • “I want to be a superman” – No
    • “I want to run a marathon” – Yes

    Time-framed

    • “I want to save $10000” – No
    • “I want to save $10000 by the end of this year” – Yes

2) Methodology

  • Know your current status – Before you even start anything, you should really know where you are now in term of your goals. For example, if you want to run for marathon, you should check your current health first. You might not be healthy enough to pursue this goal.
  • Detail your steps – If you want to become a doctor, you must first enroll yourself in a medical school. It will be a step further from your goals if you enroll in an engineering school.
  • One habit at a time – This idea is made popular by a friend of mine, Leo Babauta of ZenHabits.net. Just by sticking to one habit at a time, Leo had managed to quit smoking, ran for marathon, wrote a book, become a problogger etc. Truly inspirational.
  • Read – Unfortunately, there’s no other way to achieving your goals if not via knowledge. You will need to read a lot of books or personal development blogs to learn from the best. As a start, you can go through these 80 How-To Sites enlisted by Lifehack.

3) Do It

  • Motivation – Yes, my friend. This is where it need to start and usually where it will end. You will need motivation for you to do anything. You can read all the internet’s article on motivation but to tell you the truth, it really boils down to you. Find your own way to motivate yourself. That’s it.
  • X Mark – Create your own special calendar. It should be as big as possible. Everytime you miss working on your goals, mark the calendar with a big red X. Convince yourself that a big red X is something you don’t want to see on your beautiful calendar. Simple but it really works.
  • Report to a person – If you are a blogger, make the announcement in your blog. Tell your visitors what your next goal is. If you want to learn a new language, make a special post everyday about what you have learnt that day. When you feel obligated to report to someone, you will usually get the job done.
  • Carrot & Stick – This term is used to describe the process of rewarding and punishing yourself if you succeed or fail respectively. If you succeed, give yourself a mini rewards like buying a new camera. But if you fail your task, you should punish yourself like avoiding television for a week. It may sound harsh, but it will help you push through your quest.

Conclusion

These 3 elements are the basis of all personal development. As long as you incorporate this in your life, you will achieve anything you wish for. It’s just that easy.

– I Wonder –
Any other advices for a beginner in personal development?

————- Personal Note ————
There’s nothing wrong with waking up to a better you. It should be the only reason to wake up in the morning.

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Keep Your Motivation High With This Simple Technique

Summary – E & E Via 25% Technique

I once heard a saying, that staying committed to something is harder that holding a burning rock. You will most likely to let it go all the time.

Take exercising for example, one day you were watching a documentary on how overweight people exercise their way to fitness and suddenly you got that extra boost of motivation to start exercising. You ran for 1 hour immediately after work. This went on for about a week until one day you started skipping the routine. It is now thrice a week. In a month or so you find yourself not exercising at all. You are then frustrated and blame it all on your weak willpower.

Does this look very familiar to you? No worry, every person on this planet has experienced the same thing. Like I said, staying committed to something is always difficult.

I however have learnt a technique to keep the motivation high everyday. Trust me this technique is very effective and if you practise it today, you will be seeing the effect of your continuously high level of motivation tomorrow.

This is what I do.

Excitement & Embarassment via 25% Technique

Instead of running for 1 hour daily, I run for 15 minutes. Yes, only 15 minutes. Even though I know that my body can withstand running for 1 hour, I stop running after 15 minutes. I will usually end up enjoying every seconds of that 15 minutes and getting excited for the next 15 minutes session tomorrow.

One of the most reliable way to stay motivated is to keep the excitement level high. This is what I do when I run at about 25% of what I am capable of. I know deep down that I can always do more, so everyday I will challenge myself by saying “If I can’t even run for 15 minutes, I will be very embarassed with myself.”

I don’t know about you, but it works for me.

Why This Technique Works?

1) You know you can do it anytime anywhere. It is only about 25% of your limit.

2) You will feel embarassed if you cannot finish it.

3) If for some reason you skip a day, you can redo the two day exercise by exercising at 50% your limit the next day.

4) After a while your body will begin to adapt to the 25% limit you set. You will notice that running for 15 minutes is not making you sweat anymore. This is a sign that you need to change your limit. Maybe start running for 30 minutes.

In other words, you are actually seeing yourself getting stronger. Who wouldn’t want that?

Other application

  • Cleaning the house – Even if you can clean the whole house, try only vacuuming the floor every day.
  • Blogging – Instead of posting one entry everyday, why not make it once every 4 days. Even if you already prepared 2 entries, publish it only after 4 days.
  • Finishing an assignment – You can choose to work on your assignment all day long or you can set 2 hours everyday and finish it within a week.

Important Note

If you were to run only 15 minutes everyday your entire life, it will contradict with the whole idea of self improvement since you are not improving. This technique is meant only to help keep the motivation high every day. Once you are able to turn the exercise into a habit (action that comes naturally to you), you are free to stretch the limits accordingly.

– I Wonder –
How do you sustain your motivation? Any tips?

———- Personal Note ————
It is one of my resolution this year to reduce my weight to about 65 kg. Now that I have made this public, I will have to work even harder to achieve it. :)

Photo Credit – Eneas


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