Four Speed Reading Tips

Initially, I was thrilled with the prospect of heading back to school to earn my Master’s Degree. It has been a few years now since I’ve been in school and I have missed the joy of learning a new concept or passionately debating with fellow colleagues about current events and topics. But one of the things I enjoyed the most about school was the reading. I earned my degree in English Literature and so most every book I read was a great read!

But as I returned to school studying a much different topic, I have forgotten how reading certain text books and other study materials can be extremely cumbersome. My brain was out of reading shape and it left me tired and exhausted. Furthermore, I know of many in the corporate world who wade through reports and articles in order to be on the ‘cutting edge’ of their field. Being able to ‘speed read’ then, can be imperative in maximizing your study time, whether you are in business, or school, or both. So here are a few tips to try next time you come to an article or text book that might take you hours to read word for word:

1. Know what you’re looking for: Have an idea of the type of information you are looking for before you start reading the text. Take a look at the title or subtitles of a chapter or the study questions at the end of a text book so you know in your mind what you’re looking for when you engage the text.

2. Start at the beginning, finish at the end: Spend more attention on the beginning and end of each paragraph, rather than the detailed content of the middle of the paragraph. The initial sentence will tell you what the paragraph is about and the last sentence should summarize the paragraph and transition to the next.

3. Expand your block reading segments: Mind Tools has a great article on expanding your block reading segments. Try taking a look at a group of words in a larger section and jump from section to section faster. Your brain is able to process words faster than your eyes can bring them in, so there is no limit to how fast you can maximize your block reading segments.

4. Practice often and actively: Use speed reading in every area of your life (except poetry) and be active in expanding and enhancing your speed reading ability. Check out this Speed Reading video and learn the process by which your brain can read at a faster rate.

Ideas or comments on speed reading can be posted below.

Humanely Hunting Mr. Mole

My father is a great man. He is kind and considerate, supportive and a role model. But I’ve never seen my Dad more angry than when he would head out to mow our front lawn Saturday mornings and in the middle of his nice, deep green, nutrient rich lawn was a giant volcanoe of dirt and sod from a new mole that had decided to raise his blood pressure a few hundred points. They have been the bane of his landscaping, gardening experienced and have at times, in his own words, ‘vexed my spirit’.

I remember vividly our wedding reception a few years back out on the front lawn of my parent’s home. They had spent weeks preparing the lawn so that it would look immaculate and it did. As we were sitting, eating dinner, having a great time, my Aunt started to feel something moving under her feet. Realizing that a mole was starting to burrow its way to the surface, she went into the house to grab a bowl to scoop up the mole and put him over the fence. As she came back out of the house with the bowl and the mole surfaced, screaming around the corner came my dad with our shovel and, sparing the gruesome details, he proceeded to send the mole to the gates of St. Peter. My aunt was shocked, my Dad triumphant, and the guests amazed at the Presbyterian Pastor they just say eliminate one of God’s creatures from the Earth.

But my father isn’t the only one who can sometimes struggle with loving these furry creatures that can ruin beautiful green spaces. So is there a way that humans and moles can exist together in a peaceful state, attempting to resolve all out war between the two species?

In an article from Garden Control we are left “with two effective methods of mole control, mole traps and sonic control.

Moles eat between 60-200 earthworms a day and therefore, search out areas that are rich in nutrients and water, where earthworms most likely will reside. This describes the general front lawn population, creating a difficult situation for moles and humans. How do we keep our lawns green and beautiful without making it inviting for moles and earthworms?

As mentioned above, sonic control could be the most effective and humane way to deal with moles in your lawn. Moles are blind and are very sensitive to vibrations, which they use to track and eat earthworms. Sending sonic vibrations into your ground, therefore, can deter a mole from entering the area where those vibrations confuse them, without harming the mole in any way. Mole Control sells a Sonic Mole and Gopher Repeller that has 1/4 acre coverage for $34.99. The Repeller can be buried underground and is 100% waterproof and safe for your pets. It creates an electronic signal and the desired effect of the mole and gopher control will take 10 days to 2 weeks, and you will notice a lot more activity just before the moles and gophers evacuate the area.

This option could effectively and humanely moles from the areas of your property which you want to keep free of mole hills. If you don’t want to spend the $34.99, try taking to bamboo sticks and run duct tape or plastic between them in the wind, causing the vibrations from the plastic and wind to be sent down the bamboo sticks and into the ground.

More ideas on humanely eliminating moles from your lawn area? Leave comments below.

5 Tips to Help You Stay Sane at Work

Is your job making you crazy? Are your co-workers like those off of The Drew Carey Show? Do you feel like everytime you turn around someone else has added another task to your list? Spending 40+ hours a week in a stressful environment can take a serious toll on both your mental and physical health. Anxiety, depression, obesity, ulcers and high blood pressure are just a few of the common conditions linked to stress at work. How do you make it better, how can you stay sane at work?

1.) Plan a vacation – Its been proven that workers who take regular vacations have lower stress levels and are less likely to experience burnout. A vacation is a way to get your battery recharged so you can work to your full potential when you return to work.

2.) Take a walk – This is more of a mental health break than exercise. If you only have 15 minutes, get away from your desk and take a walk around the block. Combine this with the deep breathing and you’ll be relaxed and ready to get back to work in no time.

3.) Make time for activities that energize you – If you’re not getting the fulfillment you need at work, you have to make time for your passions after hours. Without a regular dose of joy in your life, burnout is inevitable.

4.) Take a mental health day – A day away from the insanity can be a great way to get some perspective. This is the same concept as taking a vacation, you will perform better when you have had time away to refresh.

5.) Take time to breath – Deep breathing can amazingly calm you in just minutes. We tend to breath more shallow when we get stressed, causing less oxygen to flow to your brain cells, making it difficult to think clearly or calmly.

How to Cheat at Wii Fit

In an amusing article from WIRED magazine, I read about How to Cheat at Wii Fit. If you are one of those people that enjoy Wii Fit but are tired of how much exercise goes along with it, here are some ways to enjoy and not exercise too much.

Run: Jogging in place with a Wiimote in your back pocket isn’t really going to buff you up anyway, so why not lie on the couch while you “work out”? When prompted to run, bounce the pointer end of the Wiimote against your leg at a steady clip.

The Jackknife Crunch: This move involves lifting your shoulders and legs off the ground — great for the abs. For a workout you can stomach more easily, sit on the couch with the Wii balance board beneath your soles. Lift up your feet when prompted. Bask in the AI’s praise.

Skiing: Zigging and zagging through this slalom course requires great physical agility. But if you had that, you wouldn’t be inside playing Wii, would you? So sit on the balance board and tilt forward until your skier digs in. Lean left and right to hit the gates. Your lower center of gravity will help you slice through the powder.

911 – How to Put Out a Grease Fire

Your frying up your families favorite dinner and whoosh – the pan erupts into flames known as a grease fire. Grease fires happen when collections of oil or grease on a stove, oven or fryer get hot enough to ignite. What do you do?

Try these step by step instructions for putting out grease fires.

1. Using an oven mitt, slide a tight-fitting lid over the pan. Don’t just plop it on, you risk spreading the fire. If a tight fitting lid isn’t handy, use a large baking sheet.

2. Turn off the heat source.

3. Move the pan to a cooler burner. Never put a grease fire in the sink.

4. Cover with a large wet cloth.

5. Throw salt or baking soda on the flames or use a fire extinguisher.

Grease fires spread very quickly so should the fire escape the pan, don’t try to put it out. Get out of the house and call the fire department.

If you don’t have a set of instructions on the inside of a kitchen cabinet, I would suggest you print these or others from your site of choice and tape them inside a cabinet for quick reference.

Fire-Extinguisher101 has some great fire prevention tips for the kitchen.

5 Everyday Tricks and Tips for Everyday Life

So many of the items we toss in the garbage bin everyday could be used in ways in which they were not intended. Check out these tips and tricks to using household items in new way.

1. When you are done with a tube of mascara, wash the wand with some soap and warm water and it turns into a cleaning tool. Spray it with a little all-purpose cleaner, unplug your keyboard and run the wand between the keys. It lifts dirt and crumbs easily.

2. Did you know that newspaper is an odor eater? Use newspaper to absorb odors as well as germs. Hang a page of newspaper in your closet, refrigerator, and under your stinky shoes and everything will smell fresher.

3. When you cant seem to find the match to a sock, don’t toss it, use those lonesome socks to protect furniture legs when moving furniture.

4. Don’t throw out a perfectly good shirt because it has ring-around-the-collar, mark ring-around-the-collar stains heavily with chalk before washing. The dust helps absorb the oils, making the stain easier to clean.

5. When the soap gets down to a small sliver, you usually throw it away, but try this, put it in your toolbox and use the slivers to lubricate screws or drawers that are sticking.

Check out Lifehack for a bunch more Tips and Tricks on cleaning.