Productivity tools for reading, writing and research.

Do you have to read a lot and take notes? Maybe you’re writing a book, e-book or article. Maybe you’re a student. Maybe you’re a lawyer or some other professional doing research. Whatever the reason, I have a quick system and some productivity tools for you that will make the process easier, faster and more pleasant. They might even make it fun.

In this post, I’m going to tell you about the system and give you some free tools to download and implement it.

Instead of highlighting, writing in margins and using ersatz bookmarks to tag important pages and passages in books, reports, white-papers, journals and other publications, you can use my Book Noters™ and Page Noters.™

They’ll not only bookmark the reference, they’ll also give you a place to jot notes, ideas, summaries, analyses and more. While they’re in the book or other publication, they look just like tabs; which helps you find your references faster.

And when you’ve finished reading the publication, you’ll have a pack of structured notes. Or you can make copies and leave the originals in the book for future reference.

You can use them for writing books, articles, reviews, reports, research papers and so forth. You can use them to study for exams. You can use them to give a speech. You can use them to develop slide presentations or videos. You can use them to develop your own version of “Cliff Notes.™”

When I was in college, I did — for a while — what most students and others who research do. I highlighted important passages, wrote in the margins and stuck torn-paper bookmarks in pages that were important. Then I could go back later and review, or write notes and references for term papers. Or copy ideas and passages into my notebooks to study for exams. The process was less than efficient.

So I developed a better book, article and journal noting system. I made up some special notepapers from divided 8½ x 11 paper. I called them Book Noters™ and Page Noters.™ I used them in place of bookmarks and eliminated any need to write in margins or take notes in notebooks. I just stuck them in the important pages and took notes directly on them. I noted the name of the book or article, the date and the page number. I still highlighted the important passages in books I owned, but my notes were now portable and well-organized. By the time I finished the book, I had a pack of notes I could clip together to study for an exam, write a review, write a term paper or whatever else I needed to do with the information.

I didn’t realize then what a great tool I’d made for use in research and writing for professional uses of all sorts. But later, I not only used them for myself, I made copies for my students, when I was teaching, and for colleagues as well.

After all, which would you rather have?

A meaningless jumble of bookmark breadcrumbs —

or —









An organized note taking system that can be structured and customized by topic.









Recently, some friends talked me into introducing my little inventions as a product. So, soon I’ll be selling them as printable pdf’s. But first, I thought I’d I give my readers complimentary copies of the plain-jane basic versions. I’m still designing fancier ones and structured ones. (By structured, I mean that they will have hints that will help you do things like analyze literature or identify math formulas you want to memorize or write a book review.)

You can download them here.

Can you really double your reading speed?

""I realized a bit after my post yesterday that I had talked all about the “get stuff done” part of making the video I presented to you — and almost no word about the video itself.

Let me remedy that.

The title, “Double Your Reading Speed Now,” tells part of the story up front. I give you two basic techniques I invented and that I’ve been using myself since about 1975, when I was in school, and started teaching to others a few years later. It’s based on one of the first articles I published on, with the same name.

The techniques are a take-off of the old pacing hand method, but with a twist. They don’t merely help focus the eyes on the material and speed the pace; they prevent the biggest obstacle to fast reading: the tendency to re-read. You really can double your reading speed — or better — with the techniques I demonstrate. And it’s just a start. There may be a lot of “speed reading” scams out there, but there are also real people reading at speeds around 1000 words per minute. (Of course, that takes practice. It doesn’t happen overnight.)

I also show how you can make yourself see word groups, rather than individual words, and how to stop “vocalizing.”

Please take a look at it and let me know how you like it. Or if you’d like to see more techniques on the subject.

Video – Double Your Reading Speed Now

Well, as you can clearly see, I’ve not been blogging for about 10 days. I’ve also not put any new content on the main section of It’s not that I haven’t been working and developing content; it’s just been “behind the scenes.”

One thing that took up about a week of my time was finally sitting down and putting together a short video presentation on reading faster. One that I kept telling myself I should do for the last several years.

I found myself writing an article (which I’ll post later) about time management. In it I was encouraging folks to finish projects that were important but that had been on the back burner for a long time. And I said to myself, “Yeah, look who’s talking. How about walking that talk.”

So, I just took a deep breath and decided to get on with the first of several projects that had been barely started but needed finishing and polishing. Regardless of the time they took or the obstacles I ran into.

By golly, if I’m going to tell people to do something, I’d better be willing to do it myself or shut up. So I did it. Later, I’m going to have a few words to say about how long projects can take, regardless of any past experience or knowledge.

For now, here’s the movie. Yes it is on YouTube and if you like, you’ll be able to embed it in your own site.