My productivity Life Hacks

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Avi Barel's productivity hacks


Productivity Lifehacks?

So why we need Productivity Lifehacks anyway? Well, we are living in interesting times, there is so much “Noise” around us 24/7, especially when it comes to the Internet and particularly the social media. But it doesn’t end there, because we have to deal with the notifications from Instant messaging apps, emails, calendar events, news, tech news, work related tasks, and of course personal life tasks as well…  so how you can stay productive and still being able to keep up to date with everything?

We are always bombarded with huge amount of data and information that captures our attention for short moments and we never have the time to focus on one particular thing at the time, for example reading long articles… we always want TL;DR content or short videos that are getting straight to the point, because we are always on the go with our mobile devices…

I mean, think about it, how you deal with your reading list? Do you really find the time to read all of the articles and web content you collect? No? fine, here is what you can do…

So there are many ways you can be productive and read articles without actually spending time in reading… Yes! I’m serious! It doesn’t matter if you are using pocket, google keep, OneNote, or any other solution, in fact I use neither of them, because I’m one of these people who are opening many tabs to read them later…


My Productivity Lifehacks at work

One of my favorite method is the “Text To Speech” that is built into the macOS (formerly known as OS X), you can highlight a paragraph or the entire article and simply hit the Option (Alt) key combined with Esc key and wallah, your mac is reading for you! I use this method for years, and it helps me to save huge amount of time, that way I can keep up to date with everything I’m interested in, and still do my work while I’m at my office, or working from home. Just make sure you use headphones at your office, especially if you are sharing your office with your colleagues.

Firefox Read view
Click on this icon to enable Firefox Read View


Bonus – if you are using Firefox, you can even switch to “Reader view” and you will get a dedicated Text To Speech reading capabilities, this is even more powerful because you will be able to control the reading speed, just like you can watch long lectures on YouTube in 1.5X / 2X speed and save some valuable time while you can still enjoy the lecture and understand everything. If that’s not enough, there are so many other languages in Firefox’s read view that you can choose from and let your Mac read you articles in other languages (In my case, Hebrew works fine, but English is a way better).

By the way, on my Windows PC I’m using the same method, thanks to Narrator (ext To Speech) that does the same thing! And there is even an app for Linux users called Gespeaker (I tried it on Ubuntu), it’s not perfect, but does the job…

Firefox Read view speed and languages
Customize Firefox reader speed and languages




My Productivity Lifehacks on the go

So few years ago I had this idea to develop my own app that does exactly that on mobile devices. An application that reads you saved articles (and even more stuff and features I wanted to built in), but I discovered that there are already apps for that, not same as the one I wanted to develop, but it does the job and makes me productive!

As you know, I like multitasking, so instead of listening to the boring radio while I’m driving, my smartphone is the one who reads from my saved articles, that’s a great solution even if you are not driving, you can use this Productivity Lifehacks when you are using public transportation, for example, I like it when my phone reads for me while I’m sitting in a coffee shop checking my Facebook feed and going through my emails, or even when I’m running outside (on the go!). So when I’m driving to work, instead of podcasts, I’m listening to my saved articles and that’s so cool when your smartphone reads to you when some interesting article and saves you so much reading time, it feels like “To kill two birds with one stone” especially when you are in the middle of a traffic jam!
So how do I do that? Well, on my smartphone I’m using @Voice Aloud Reader, which is not perfect, but it does the work! It even lets you create “Playlist” of articles you want to listen later… There are some alternatives that you can find for your iPhone too.

By the way, if your Android device is Rooted, you can Install YouTube Background Playback (Available in Xposed Installer) and listen to YouTube lectures and even TED Talks while YouTube is running in the background, so even if you are using Waze or Google Maps to navigate, you can still enjoy listening and learning new things any time you want!

It feels like magic when your phone reads your saved articles
It feels like magic when your phone reads from your saved articles




What about TL;DR Video?

Well, if you don’t like reading articles, there are video alternatives! for example, my feed is always full with short videos summarizing valuable information into a short and informative video clips. You can follow the popular content providers on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, my favorites are: TechCrunch, Tech Insider, The Verge VOX , Gizmodo , Seeker Daily and Big Think.

And as I mentioned before, you can always watch great content on YouTube on 1.5X or even 2X speed. And if that’s not enough, there is an Israeli startup called Wibbitz with a brilliant solution that automatically creates premium videos from text content within seconds.

So how do you keep up to date with the things you are interested in? comment below and let me know, you are more than welcome to share your Productivity Lifehacks with me…

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