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The Definitive Guide to Reading Faster With Text to Speech in 2018

By | Dyslexia, productivity, reading | No Comments
Girl reading a book on a bed with a cat. Speechify app is using text to speech to read the book

What is text to speech?

Two years ago this article would have covered many different text to speech software products, most of which were inadequate and expensive. However, now I can honestly recommend one great new app that I entirely depend on for all my text to speech on my phone and computer.  Speechify, is hands down the best free (or paid) text to speech app on the market.  

You might ask: So what is this text to speech thing anyway?

Text to Speech (TTS) is software that reads aloud digital text (i.e. words) on your computer, phone or tablet.

Speechify combines this with OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software, which takes documents like pictures, scans, and pdf, and converts them into searchable, editable data, also known as text. Speechify combines these to allow you to convert just about anything on your phone or computer into speech or make it into an audiobook!

Skip ahead to learn about Speechify’s Features

A bit about me and Dyslexia

I am dyslexic (more on what that means in the next paragraph).  I struggled through much of elementary school. Until eighth grade, I only read books if they were assigned. Then I discovered Audible, which I love. From that point on I devoured books, but since not everything is available on Audible, I had to read my homework, rather than listen to it.

This worked until high school when I could not finish all my homework by reading it. I came to the sad realization that I would have to buckle down and get used to the monotonous computer voices and clunky software that characterized text to speech at the time. I would also have to learn how to be a better auditory processor. Systematically by listening to harder and harder books I have become an excellent auditory processor. There came a point when I could finish my assignments by listening faster than my classmates could finish by reading them. You have to be dyslexic to understand just how thrilling that moment is. I now listen to everything — articles, emails, every book I read, my homework, textbooks, messages, and my own writing (to proofread). Now computer voices sound basically human to me.

In the early years, I tried every text to speech, OCR, dictation, and speed reading software I could get my hands on. No one piece of software met my needs. Then I discovered Speechify. That was a year and a half ago.  It was just a beta version, but I came to use it dozens of times a day. Speechify has changed my life!

As promised, dyslexia, for those who don’t know, is a learning difference that makes reading, spelling, and other language-related tasks significantly more difficult. It can also affect basic math, fine motor skills, and general speed and accuracy. It affects about 10% of the population and is unrelated to a person’s intelligence. While dyslexia creates challenging handicaps, dyslexic brains also have many strengths. Dyslexics tend to excel at seeing the big picture, finding patterns, making connections, creativity, spatial reasoning, and entrepreneurship. Speechify helps dyslexics to be successful by making learning and information easily accessible.  Dyslexia is not the only learning difference that Speechify can help with. I also happen to be ADHD and love being able to move around as I listen to my books.

Speechify has recently made a series of updates to the iPhone app that have vastly improved it. They are working on further significant interface improvements. That means that it is time to review everything that Speechify does, and yes, does not yet do. Speechify is a simple, easy to use app, which has the perfect combination of features for most of my needs. In this article, I will talk about both the pros and the cons.

Speechify is your next productivity boost

Speechify was originally made by a dyslexic to help other dyslexics. However, today it is used by a wide range of people. The number one user group is busy professionals who want to read quickly and hands-free. Other avid users include college students, professors, and lawyers. Commuters use Speechify to listen to articles and books. Actors use it to memorize their lines. Athletes recovering from concussions even use it to do their reading before they can focus on a screen again.

I have come to realize that Speechify transforms the lives of all kinds of people, not just those who have trouble reading. Most non-dyslexics can benefit from text to speech technology because of productivity gains. But they don’t use it because they have been put off by the monotonous computer voices. Now the voices are very natural, making text to speech ready for the non-dyslexics.

In a world where you can never consume all the information that interests you, and where media of every type vies for your attention, increasing your reading speed just a little bit adds up pretty quickly to hours of saved time or dozens of additional articles, books, homework assignments, and emails read. As this article on Medium explains in greater detail, the average reading speed of an American is 200 wpm. When users start out on Speechify they tend to immediately accelerate to 300-400 wpm, and, as I can attest, with a week or two of practice, even high reading speeds can start to sound almost like normal speech. If you regularly listen at 2 to 3 times the speed you can read, regularly paced audio books and speech starts to sound irritatingly sluggish. Of course with higher reading speeds comprehension can become a little harder, but sometimes skimming is all you need. The problem with text to speech is that you can’t skim. Speechify tried a skim feature that picked out key sentences and words, it was imperfect, but it gave me the gist of things when I was running late. I hope they improve this feature and bring it back.

As Simeon, a Speechify team member, explained it, text to speech is a new behavior for most non-dyslexic or visually impaired people. Most people are not used to taking in the world by listening to it, in the same way, that most people were not used to the new behaviors the iPhone introduced to people’s lives in 2007. Through good design, the Speechify app tries to make that behavior more intuitive. I hope that this article similarly helps you to relate the behavior of using text to speech to yourself and your life.

So before I tell you all about the app here is a little bit about Cliff Weitzman:

The backstory with Cliff Weitzman

Like many other great technologies, Speechify started with one college student trying to fix a personal problem. Cliff was born in Israel; he moved to the US when he was 12 and learned English by listening to a Harry Potter Book 22 times. He is severely dyslexic. Cliff made it through high school by working hard and not reading much. When he got to Brown University, there was just too much reading to struggle with doing the best that he could with the insufficient existing text to speech apps. So he wrote himself a program to read everything on his computer and phone to him. That software is Speechify.

Since making Speechify, Cliff has been named one of Forbes 30 under 30 for education, graduated from Brown, and turned Speechify into a startup company. He currently runs Speechify full time with about five other people in an apartment in Palo Alto. Creating value that improves people’s lives, helping fellow dyslexics, and entrepreneurship continue to be his primary passions, but he also finds time to do parkour, freestyle rap, and write music. Cliff is also one of the nicest people you will ever meet.

Audiobook Anything – Speechify Features:

Speechify offers a mac app, chrome extension, and iPhone app. Many of the features are similar, so I will go over the common ones first.

Pros

  • Free: Speechify is completely free! It does not even spam you with ads!
  • Great voices: It uses deep learning for natural voices the utilize AI to sound almost human. On the phone app, they have added new voices called “Cliff” and “Simeon” that honestly sounds like a person. A new female voice, “Anna,” is up on the Website and will soon be added to the phone app. Across all platforms, you can choose between 6 HD voices and 10 standard voices which include a range of different languages which read English text in say, a French accent, or French text in French. This includes some fun one ones like “child HD.” (check it out, it really sounds like a child!).
  • Speed: Speechify goes up to 800 words per minute, more than any other text to speech app I have yet come across. I have never met a person who can take in the world at 800 words per minute, but with a few weeks of listening you can easily work up to speeds that previously sounded like jibberish. I don’t go much above 400 wpm, but Cliff, the founder listens at 600 wpm.
  • Basic but a lifesaver: Speechify tells you how long it will take to finish a reading, and adjusts it when you adjust the reading speed. This means that if you have 10 min before class starts you can crank up the reading speed until you know you can finish the reading in time. It also allows you to budget time for readings effectively. I can’t remember any other app that does this.
  • Offline Use: Offline editing is available both on the Mac and iPhone, but there is a trick to figuring out how to do it.  On the Mac, you can use Speechify offline for non-HD voices. You can switch to regular voices after you go offline.  If you don’t change the voice, the window will just show the processing spiral endlessly.  On the phone, the speechify app automatically downloads books in non-HD voices to listen to offline.  If you turn off connectivity on your phone, the voices automatically switch to a lower quality voice.

Speechify has a great chrome extension and app, so I am going to break down how easy it is to listen to text in each separately.

Mac app and chrome extension:

The Mac App lives in your menu bar. If you click on it the little Speechify window pops up. You can play, pause, change speeds, change settings, change voices, etc. in this window. When it starts reading it flashes the text one word at a time, centered on the word so that you can read along at super high speeds.

The Speechify mac app menu bar window reading the word

On the mac you listen to text by selecting it and hitting play in your menu bar, double tapping “option” (for new users), or with “option” + “A” for those used to earlier versions. Speechify uses a whole range of useful key commands, which are all customizable. You can go up to your menu bar and hit the camera icon to take a screenshot of any text you want read aloud, or you can simply hit “option” + “X”. “Option +D” and Options” speed up or slow down the reading respectively. “Option +E” and “Option +W” skip forward and backward respectively. In addition to reading any article you want with the chrome extension, listening to any text you select, or listening by taking a screenshot, you can also simply drag a file on to the Speechify controller in your menu bar and do something even niffitier still: turn it into an audiobook on your phone to read on the go. You can actually send any text you are listening to on your computer to your phone. The Speechify app is so simple and easy to use, that I use it every time I read something on my computer. Mac’s come with a built in text to speech, but they don’t go very fast, tell you how long a reading will take, and if you want to change the speed or voice you have to go deep into system preferences. The only way you can use it is with selected text. Trust me, you want Speechify!

The chrome extension is very similar to the mac app but it makes web browsing even easier.

iPhone App

You have access to all the same voices and flexibility with your listening experience available on the computer, in addition to the new Beta “Cliff” voice, mentioned earlier, which sounds just like a human.

From the phone everything is organized around making audiobooks. There are several easy ways to do this: 

The

You upload a PDF file from your phone, turn text on your clipboard into an audiobook, select any number of photos to be processed into a book (and decide the page number by clicking on the images in the order you want them), and you can take pictures of the text you want read aloud using your camera. Here is what that camera experience looks like:

You upload a PDF file from your phone, turn text on your clipboard into an audiobook, select any number of photos to be processed into a book (and decide the page number by clicking on the images in the order you want them), and you can take pictures of the text you want to be read aloud using your camera. Here is what that camera experience looks like:

Web browsing

One of the really cool, but less recognized features of Speechify, is web browsing. This allows you to hit the apple export button while reading an article, click on the Speechify icon, and have it immediately make the article into an audiobook. This is how you do it:

  1. Open the thing you want to read aloud
  2. Press the export button
  3. Follow the more graphically interesting directions below:

iPhone Reading Experience

In addition to giving you the option to have the text flashed to word by word, like the computer app, it can also select the text it is reading so that you can read along. Reading along to audio has been shown to significantly improve reading comprehension and is a great tool when you are using Speechify for educational purposes. Speechify will save your place if you want to come pack to a reading later, and tell you how much time you have left until you finish, adjusted for the reading speed. You can also copy the text of your Audiobooks or translate them into other languages. Sadly the translate feature is pretty slow. As a dyslexic, languages are very challenging, and I don’t speak any foreign language well enough to tell you weather or not it is accurate.

One of the nice things about Speechify audiobooks is that they don’t take up a ton of space on your phone. This is because they are stored as text rather than as an audio file. Unforchunetly this means that in order to read the text your phone needs internet connectivity, which leads to one of my least favorite things about the Speechify app: no offline use:( Happily I hear this feature may become available in the near future.

Here are some other con’s:

Cons

  • It does not have a full mac app which allows you to edit text made from OCR, search text, annotate text, and edit audiobooks. There is some software that allows you to do this. In the past, I have used Kurzweil but that is extremely expensive and out of date. Since I don’t need this feature that often I have not found the new best software to do this. I am working on exploring some other apps and hope to make a separate blog post covering this important feature.
  • It’s hard to find files and to organize your library once you make the audiobook on the phone
  • You can’t read something short that you don’t need to be saved without making it into an audiobook on the phone. There is no post-it note version of reading.
  • You can’t see your audiobooks on your computer even though the computer and phone apps sync.
  • It’s hard to use with super long documents. In the iPhone app long documents have no organizational system (how would they?) to make them easier to navigate, and on the computer, you can only see one word of them at a time.
  • Scanning text by taking a picture of each page, even though the Speechify interface is great here, is still really tedious when you have a many hundred page book. Very often you can find PDFs of text online and can figure out if they exist using WorldCat, however for dyslexics and those with vision-related disabilities, there are some other options which I plan to share in a future blog post.
  • (and as mentioned above, no downloading for offline use:(

However . . .  

Speechify is a startup, which means it’s software is not perfect or comprehensive, but the team at Speechify makes up for this with the best customer service. There are no call centers in India, or even dedicated customer service person, just 6 guys in an apartment, and you can text Cliff, the founder, and 2 other key Speechify people through the app. At the bottom of the app, you can access your library, the create screen, and the message screen. The message screen is dedicated to messaging the founders with feedback, questions, and problems. They usually respond promptly, helpfully, and gratefully. When I notice something wrong in the app or have an idea for how it could be better, I simply text Cliff, and so can you. Across the app, app store, and website, Speechify sets a friendly, familiar tone. The developers do not exist in a black box, they narrate every paragraph, and when you text them, they stay up late to fix whatever problem you are having. Because Speechify is a startup, working at a dizzying pace, what features you wish were on the app today, very likely will be in a month. It’s exciting to be a user, you feel like a part of something bigger than a database, or balance sheet. I hope you try Speechify and let it make your world more accessible and productive with text to speech!

How to download the Speechify Mac App, Chrome Extension, or Mobile App

On the mac… go to https://www.getSpeechify.com/ and hit the download button.

For chrome … go to the Chrome Web Store – Speechify and click “Add to Chrome”

One the phonego to the app store and search “Speechify” or “Text to speech” and it should come up because it is the #1 rated text to speech app on the app store!! Then simply download the app and when you open it there is a well-done intro sequence showing you how to use it!

I Used a TTS App for a Week – You Won’t Believe the Results

By | Audiobooks, education, productivity, reading, Software | No Comments

I Used a TTS App Called Speechify for an Entire Week and You Won't Believe the Results

If you’ve been on the internet anytime in the last 6 months, then you’ve maybe heard of an app called Speechify. It’s a new, trendy, TTS app (text to speech) that has everyone from students to working professionals raving about the wonders of having your tedious readings read to you.

This was enticing to me. I’m a pretty busy guy. I play college basketball, work part-time, and try to keep a solid GPA. I’m not exactly what you would call a ‘slow reader’. Still, that doesn’t mean I like to read. I come back pretty tired after practice and I usually just find myself thinking: “Do I actually have to complete all these readings?

Founded by Forbes 30 under 30, Cliff Weitzman, Speechify started after years of coping with dyslexia coupled with frustrating experiences of trying out un-inspiring TTS apps.

“It started after I pulled my fourth all-nighter,” Weitzman told us. “I was pretty fed up of how hard it was to manage my dyslexia alongside all the coursework. I wasn’t satisfied with the expensive options on the market, so I drafted up the first “Speechify” concept!”

So — could a Brown student coping with dyslexia and a love of audiobooks really design a software that could help rid the world of painful readings? Over this past week, I used Speechify to find out if this really is the solution for me.

Here’s how it went …

My Seven day Free Trial Begins!

Everyone loves a free trial. And what’s even more loveable is, Speechify won’t charge you after the free trial expires without your permission. Whether that be a password, a fingerprint, or facial recognition — I’ve got to admit, not trying to be scammed out of my money, feels good.

The free version of the app gives me full access to the mobile app. Which, is pretty useful for obvious reasons, but Speechify Pro lets me transform PDFs into audiobooks and send them to my iPhone. So, I can listen to them pretty much anywhere.

You can create entire libraries and collections for your favorite articles, unread emails, and pending coursework to be read to you any time of the day.

For a college student, this feature is extremely useful.

There are three ways you can use Speechify.

  1. Chrome Extension
  2. iOS
  3. Mobile App

I’m personally pretty excited about the PDF to iPhone feature since I get so many readings assigned via PDF and can just directly send them to my phone to be listened to while I heat up some dinner after a long day of work.

As I opened the downloaded the Ios feature, I could tell that Speechify had done a great job of developing a pleasant on-boarding experience. They gave me a quiz to see what my main intention of using the app and walked me through the entire process step by step.

Oh, and not to mention the first thing speechify read out loud to me was a Wikipedia article on giraffes… I liked it.

Figuring out the app

Like most people, I don’t read directions. I skimmed the instructional emails and was good to go. They walk you through it pretty well, so it’s easy to figure out.

Time to fire it up and give Speechify a go

The first thing I use Speechify for is a reading assigned by my Politics Professor about late capitalism in the mid-twentieth century. Kind of a snooze.

I typically skip over words when I’m finishing up last minute readings (and sometimes I do it even when I’m not last minute reading). And with larger, longer readings, I skip entire paragraphs in hopes to save a few minutes and pray I’ve gotten the“gist” of the material.

Speechify doesn’t make this silly mistake. It makes sure I’m taking in everything the text has to offer. I can just toggle the speed to 5x the speed to get the reading done a little faster than usual and digest all the information without skipping over anything.

As I was listening, I realized I’ve never really understood how fascinating the topic my teacher assigned was. It’s always just been a mundane chore… but, the text was actually pretty interesting…and having it read aloud by Speechify helped me realize that.

I know people say we should read thirty minutes a day. But that can feel like forever. Speechify encourages their users to read more often, by giving them the option to listen to their extraneous texts whilst on the go. As you can imagine, it was a fun surprise.

Speechify is giving listening to a new name…

To be honest, the primary reasons I’m skeptical of most text-to-speech apps because:

  • The voices sound too unnatural
  • They’re too hard to figure out
  • You can’t get the voice to match your desired speed

Fortunately, Speechify solves these pain points. The app has a variety of natural voices to chose from, a range of speeds for you to listen, and a user experience to die for.

But what was the most noticeable difference between Speechify and other TTS apps I’ve used? Speechify made getting work done a whole lot more interesting.

In conclusion…

One week was all that was required to make a solid judgment on Speechify.

Here are the 4 things I love most about Speechify:

1. Design & Functionality — For the first time in my life, I can call a text-to-speech app “attractive” The design uses effective minimalism to heighten user experience. More important than its design, is its functionality. Speechify works. I can literally use it anywhere. I have it effectively read to me, and enjoy how it looks while doing it.

2. Versatility — There are no limits to when and where you can use this thing. You can switch from Ipad to a computer, to phone in seconds. Speechifying everything from emails to books to articles.

3.  Hours Saved — There’s something about creating products that can save you hours of time. It’s as if they make me want to use them more. This was the case the Speechify. It helped me save time, and made me feel more productive. What more could I want?

4. Less is more — A username and a password and you’re good to go. The app was stupidly simple to figure out.

 

Overall, Speechify kills it — they make it easy to maintain good reading habits by providing me with all that I need, and none of what I don’t. The cost/benefit ratio of their pro version is off the charts, and a subscription plan means I don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on audiobooks for assigned readings.

Most importantly, Speechify has made reading an enjoyable process again.

 

For a more detailed and up to date, tutorial of Speechify features see our blog post: The Definitive Guide to Reading Faster With Text to Speech in 2018

5 Inspirational Books to Read in 2018

By | education, productivity, reading, students | No Comments
Also, read them all faster with Speechify!

1. ‘When to Jump’ by Mike Lewis (Jan. 9)

At age 24 Mike Lewis had a prestigious finance job and an even more prestigious income. He was living (more than) a little comfort.

But, life is short. And unlike his colleagues, Lewis wanted to play squash professionally. So, what do you do when your job pays your rent but doesn’t let you follow your dream?

In his new book, Mike Lewis provides four practical steps to help you take the plunge towards your dreams all whilst incorporating the more realistic aspects of risk-taking. He advises his readers to:

-Listen to the little voice

-Make a plan

-Let yourself be lucky

-Don’t look back

Including a forward by Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, stories from other “jumpers” like the author of The Big Short, Arianna Huffington, and others: When to Jump is an inspirational, fast, and easy read.

2. ‘We the Corporations’ by Adam Winkler (Feb. 27)

How did corporations come to have rights under the Constitution?

Professor Winkler makes one thing clear, it definitely was not easy.

Looking to undo the injustice of Citizens United, We the Corporations analyzes the slow, steady, 200 year long fight to allow corporations become ‘people’ entitled to constitutional rights and used those rights to impede efforts to regulate them in the interests of real people — until, that is, you try to sue them.

5 Inspirational Books to Read in 2018

Look out for this groundbreaking book expected in the coming month.

3. Rise and Grind: Outperform, Outwork, and Out-hustle Your Way to a More Successful and Rewarding Life by Daymond John and Daniel Paisner (Jan 23).

The star from ABC’s Shark Tank offers his personal story and how his grit, killer work ethic, and persistence fueled his success.

Daymond John started his career sewing hats, and working shifts at Red Lobster. Today, his brand FUBU has over $6 billion in sales.

For anyone who’s feeling a little down, or looking for a nudge: Daymond John’s new book bluntly states the importance of out-thinking, out-hustling, and out-performing everyone around you to make it big.

 

4. The Harvard Business Review Entrepreneur’s Handbook: Everything You Need to Launch and Grow Your New Business by Harvard Business Review (Feb 13, 2018).

Perhaps one of the most anticipated Business books of 2018, the new and updated Harvard Business Review will teach you everything you need to know about starting the next big thing.

 

Taking a look at the potential challenges, from the entrepreneurial process to legal practices — The Harvard Business Review will give you the tools you need to get your practice up and going.

Lost and Founder: by Rand Fishkin (March 27, 2018)

When I say “tech start-up,” you think — young, brilliant, groundbreaking, college drop-out, defier of doubters, overcomer off odds, billionaire.

If only it were that simple.

Rand Fishkin, one of the world’s leading SEOs, shares the more realistic, sometimes difficult, and often amazing aspects of starting your own company from the ground up. Fishkin pulls back the curtain on tech startup mythology, exposing the ups and downs of startup life that most CEOs would rather keep secret. A must read.

 

What are you planning to read this year? 

Let’s Talk About An App Called Speechify

By | Dyslexia, education, productivity, reading, students | No Comments

Let's talk about an App Called Speechify

Hi friends! My name’s Cliff Weitzman, and I’m the founder of a new text to speech app that’s helping thousands of people read twice as fast.

During my time at Brown University I was a big fan of text to speech technology. But most text to speech applications had major limitations. Some weren’t fast enough, others were too difficult to navigate, and for many the voices just sounded too unnatural.

So, I did what any normal person would do — I built a software that had a solution to all these problems — Speechify.

How can you use Speechify?

  • Turn a book into an audiobook by simply taking a picture
  • Listen to any article online by sending it to our app
  • Transform your PDFs into an audiobook
  • Choose the voice you want
  • Get text read to you at 1.5x to 4x your normal reading speed
  • Finish all your readings faster than ever
  • And listen to them no matter where you are going

From the first chapter of your class readings, to a long email, to an article you’ve been meaning to finish, Speechify is here to help you learn and the pace right for you. And the best part of it is, you can keep listening while completing other tasks – that’s the magic of text to speech.

All you have to do is:

  1. Press the scan button
  2. Click the checkmark next to the scan button
  3. Watch the text appear as an audiobook

And that’s it! Pretty unbelievable right?

So start listening at twice the speed by downloading Speechify at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/speechify-text-to-audiobook/id1209815023?mt=8

Or download directly from our Website: getspeechify.com

For an up to date run down of Speechify’s feature see our new blog post article: The Definitive Guide to Reading Faster With Text to Speech in 2018

And remember, reading is hard. Listening is easy.

 

 

Working From Home : Tips And Tools

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Tips And Tools To Improve Working From HomeAh yes, working from home. Many have done it: responding to emails in a fuzzy robe, rolling out of bed to take a call, finishing up a presentation while boiling some pasta. Google chat, Trello, Slack, Basecamp — all at the convenience of your own home.

And yet, while working from home can save you loads of money, it has its drawbacks. Research has found working from home can leave employees feeling lonely, unhealthy, and unproductive. So, here are a few tips and tools to get you back in the zone:

Don’t work where you sleep

Like church and state, separate the bedroom and the office. This could mean heading out to a coffee shop, library, or setting up a personal work space in your home.

Services like ShareDeskWeWork or Croissant help you rent an office space and sit among freelancers and other professionals, giving you a chance to meet new people will working under a more conventional work space.

Put on some pants

No, you don’t have to wear a suit.

However, getting dressed to prepare for the day can optimize your potential for the day. This means taking the time out of your morning to shower, eat breakfast, and get dressed. This can help set the tempo for the day, and give the you the stability of a morning routine.

Make to-do lists

Understand what you want to accomplish each day to stop yourself from burning out. Make sure your to-do list for the day includes goals that are clear, precise, obtainable, feasible and time-bound.

Those who work from home have lauded Pomodoro productivity technique as an effective way to tackle both big and small projects, by helping you stay focused for 25-minute intervals with 5-minute breaks in between. Or, try The TomatoTimer as an alternative trick. This simpler and cheaper option that can help you get started and stay focused.

“Go home” at the end of the day

Most people get to go home after a long day of work. You’re already home.

Maintaining a work-life balance is crucial to keeping a healthy mind, and increasing productivity during “office” hours. So, at the end of the day log off, and say goodbye to your “office,” and enter home mode.

Tools like Timesheet, and Inboxwhenready, can help you set boundaries between your work and personal life.

More than 10 percent of U.S. employees now regularly work from home. As the number of people working from increases, make sure you are implementing the right tools and strategies to stay productive and healthy.

 

Take a look at 5 Productivity Tools To Help You Get Stuff Done!

5 Tricks To Help You Read Faster

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Even when we aren’t reading for pleasure, we’re still perpetually reading. This Article. An unanswered email. Another document. We are constantly consuming obligatory information. So, regardless of how fast you do it, here are five tricks that will help you read more efficiently without compromising on comprehension:

1. Choose each text like it’s your last

It is impossible to read everything out there; be picky.

Glance through the text before deciding to dedicate a whole thirty minutes to it in order to save time and effort. Go through the headings, key points, and phrases of a text to obtain a more comprehensive and holistic summary of what the material is about and then decide whether it’s worth your time to read the text with more precision.

2. To re-read or to not re-read?

That is the question. Unless you’re on vacation or retired, you probably don’t have time to go back and re-read a whole chapter.

Unnecessarily re-reading passages, also known as regression, can increase reading time and decrease interpretation. Instead, developing questions like “what is this chapter about” or “how is this knowledge going to be beneficial to me” is a more efficient way to read rather than revisiting old sections of the text. Asking these questions for simple texts can save you a plethora of time by preventing you from having to go back and to some passages.

3. Don’t sweat the small stuff

As with most things in life, don’t sweat the small print.

On average we tend to linger over each word we read for approximately .25 seconds. Those of us who are slower can fixate on a single word for up to a whole .6 seconds. This is because of subvocalization.

Often referred to as auditory reassurance, subvocalization involves saying words in your head while reading. It is one of the main proven reasons why people read slowly. The fact is, you don’t have to say every word in your head to understand what the text is saying. One of the best ways to minimize subvocalization is to practice being conscious of it when you read. Minimizing subvocalization can increase your productivity when trying to cram out last minute documents, emails, or essays.

4. Get your head out of the clouds

Rumor has it libraries can lead to a chronic case of daydreaming and boredom. Sometimes you are able to focus the best outside whilst sitting on a bench, or after a long hot shower. Take the time to find the perfect environment, free of distractions, where you can get through long emails and chapter readings.

5. Start listening — with Speechify

One of the most productive ways to read faster, is to have someone read to you at a convenient pace for you, while you do other things. The app Speechify does just that. This doesn’t just apply to English majors who have yet to finish Ulysses or Middlemarch but also to working professionals who have articles to read before a big presentation.

Reading can be an appallingly all-consuming process.

So be strategic by monitoring what, how and why you’re reading.

 

To know more about how Speechify can improve your reading, you might be interest by this article.

5 Productivity Tools To Help You Get Stuff Done

By | productivity | One Comment

Five Productivity Tools To Help You Get Stuff Done

We all want to be more productive, but sometimes it seems as if there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do all we want. Fortunately, there are more useful tools than ever before that can increase your productivity to levels you didn’t think possible. Here are five of the top tools to help you be more productive:

Give your brain a break by installing BreakTime 

Famous author Louisa May Alcott once advised, “Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well.” Breaks are important, but if we’re being honest, most of us would admit that we take too many breaks and/or take them too often. Some of us have the problem of forgetting to take breaks at all.

The simple tool BreakTime helps us monitor these breaks better. You pick the amount of time you want to work uninterrupted, as well as how long of a break you want between work sessions. BreakTime runs in the background of your computer and tells you when it’s time to take a break. A countdown timer lets you know when to resume work. Rather than unproductively checking your phone or favorite websites intermittently during your workflow, wait until your break. You’ll be surprised how much more work you accomplish.

 Organize anything, anytime, by getting Any.do

It’s difficult to be productive if you’re disorganized. Any.do keeps you organized with to-do lists (which you can share with others), reminders, notes, and calendars. All of this can be synced between your phone, computer, or tablet. It’s allowing you to always have your information at hand. Need your hands free? You can simply speak to the app and tell it to add something to one of your lists. The app is designed to be easy to learn and simple to use. You can even customize your theme to match your taste.

Reclaim your time with RescueTime

Not sure where all your time is going? RescueTime can tell you. It runs in the background of your computer and/or phone and monitors how much time is spent on different websites and applications. Looking through the data, you can see how much time you spend on productive activities and how much of it is wasted on distractions. If you notice particular websites are draining your productivity, you can block them during time frames of your choice. Distractions gone, you can focus on important tasks easier.

 Blend all your work apps using Notion 

According to a study conducted at Carleton University, people spend a third of their time at the office reading and responding to emails. They additionally spend half of the time they work from home on emails. The creators of Notion have all personally struggled with overflowing inboxes. Now, they strive to make your inbox more efficient. Using artificial intelligence, the app
highlights which emails are most important and likely to need a speedy response. You no longer have to worry about forgetting to reply to an email or responding to an important one too late. Also, you can connect to Alexa and listen to important messages or use your voice to organize emails.

 Audiobook ANYTHING, with Speechify

Warren Buffet, the second wealthiest person in the United States (and fourth richest person in the entire world), is famously quoted saying, “Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”. How often do you read 500 pages a day? For most of you, not often, if
ever. Why? We know reading is valuable, but it can also be very time-consuming and challenging. That’s where Speechify can help you.

This app can greatly improve your speed reading, helping you absorb more information faster. It allows you to listen to books, with the power to pause, skip, and control the speed. This can be done from a computer or you can take your readings with you on your phone to listen to anywhere. While useful for anyone, Speechify is especially valuable for those with reading disabilities. In fact, according to founder Cliff Weitzman, “We’ve seen middle school students with dyslexia go from reading 120 words per minute to listening at 540 words per minute over the course of two weeks.”

Saving that much time reading creates a huge productivity boost. Rather than monotone computer voices, Speechify lets you listen to actual human voices. Whether you’re a busy college student with endless readings to get through, or a professional trying to stay up-to- date on the latest news in your field, this app is a real game changer.

We could talk endlessly about Speechify because we personally know how beneficial it has been for others and all the hard work that has gone into it. To learn more about how Speechify helps you take control of your readings, check out our personal blog.

 

What are your favorite tools for jumpstarting productivity?

 

How Speechify Can Improve Your Reading

By | productivity, reading, students | 2 Comments

How Speechify Can Improve Your Reading

 

Talking is easy; reading isn’t. Coping with dyslexia in college, Cliff Weitzman created an app that can scan any text and read it to you at your comfortable paceHere are just a few ways that Speechify can help you improve your productivity :

Get the most out of your morning routine

Make your ten minute walk to Econ 101 a constructive part of your day. Make cooking your morning breakfast a productive thing. Don’t miss the latest article from your favorite New York Times sections just because you simply “didn’t have the time”. Let a little technology make life a lot easier. With Speechify, learning isn’t limited by mundane chores; rather, continue to learn or study while you mop the floors.

Cut your reading time in half

Back in the stone age people would have to allot tens of hours to finish a book. With Speechify you can accelerate your reading by toggling your reading speed to 800 words per minute. If you’re a fast reader, you can listen to an article at 2x the speed. If you’re a slow reader you can listen at a regular pace that allows you to coherently digest the information without interruptions. Either way your reading time is sped up tremendously.

Improve your own reading, by listening

Speechify isn’t just an easy shortcut, because it’s actually helping you improve your writing and reading skills. By listening to a text uninterrupted, you improve your own ability to do so yourself. Listening to your text has the potential to improve your vocabulary, grammar, and focus. Kill two birds with one stone: improve your own reading, by letting your phone do the hard work.

Save (more than) a few bucks

As if receiving a good education isn’t expensive enough, those of us who struggle with reading often spend twice the money just trying to keep up. Audiobooks, tutors, and other resources are pricey. Any avid tape listener will tell you books on tape can cost up to hundreds of dollars a month.With Speechify anything can be your audiobook. Save yourself money and time by choosing what you want read, and in the voice you want it read in.

For over 40 million American adults, writing is still a drag, reading is a burden, and winning the school spelling bee never seemed like a possibility. Speechify lets you take advantage of all the written material out there by letting you listen to it in half the time.

 

Interested in learning other tools to increase your productivity? Read Five Productivity Tools To Help You Get Stuff Done.