/ Productivity

Spam Reading

I am receiving around 25 emails in my personal inbox and 30 spam emails every single day, and probably more than a hundred in my work email - half of them I only read the subject. It's pretty easy to get lost in vast amounts of spam messages each day, yet we usually don't.

This is the side effect of easy access to data and information, where email servers usually take care of the biggest part of the problem behind the scenes, without us even noticing, by developing filtering algorithms.

However, this is something we face outside of the internet zone as well: books, magazines, newspapers - simply all published material. We only have a limited time to read stuff, and I believe this is one of the areas where we should be exercising time-management skills.

I am spending roughly 70 minutes commuting to work in total and I do not have any time to read during business hours (except for short blogs/articles I usually come up on Hacker News). I usually spend an extra 30 to 60 minutes each day for reading. This makes me spend more time on filtering books and categories I should focus on, hence, I need a working algorithm for prioritization.

Here are some steps that could be useful:

1. Goodreads

I have created an account on GoodReads to track my progress and create a to-read list. Whenever I see a title that can be interesting - either on Amazon or in a bookstore - I add it to my list.

2. No newspapers

I really do not need to follow any newspapers, TV or radio shows to stay up to date with the latest news. Instead, I read Economist Espresso every morning on my way to Tube and the magazine when commuting. This gives a brief dosage of the information I need, without unnecessary details.

3. Speed-reading

I recently read an article about speed reading, which literally changed my life. This increased my speed at least threefold, and it's pretty amazing that you can still understand the context - sometimes even better than when reading with half-speed. I will write a more detailed entry about this.

I am now more selective on the things I read, be it books or news, so I am focusing on maximizing the amount of useful information I get within the limited timeframe.

Koray Alkan

Koray Alkan

Software Developer @Bloomberg. Love classical music, reading and playing the trumpet. Opinions are my own.

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