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Friday, May 30, 2014

Gain more time by consuming media faster

TJ by mag3737 from flickr (CC-NC-SA)
Pretty much everybody spends inordinate amount of time consuming various forms of media. In the era of TV and paper books you had very little choice about the pace at which you can consume the media, and they were designed with low speed so that even people who process things more slowly (like all the old people) could handle it.

Fortunately we moved way past that era, and now you can simply speed things up.
  • For podcasts / audiobooks, your mp3 player (here's one I use) probably already has a function to speed things up. Use it.
  • If it doesn't, or it provides insufficient control, you can also use external utilities to adjust speed. I wrote a really simple one for OSX / Linux. 1.4x speedup is a sensible default for me.
  • For youtube videos, first download them (also saves you all the time waste of youtube UI), then play them in any video player which supports faster playback, like mplayer. For artsy stuff like movies 1.2x is probably the most you want before it starts to derail artistic intend, for informational stuff like news and let's plays 1.4-1.5x is fine.
  • If you want to watch on your phone, there are player for that too. (YMMV here, DicePlayer did some crashing for me, so feel free to recommend any alternatives)
  • Ebooks are typically faster to read than paperbooks due to less physical manipulation necessary.
  • Audiobooks might not be as fast than paperbooks/ebooks, but there's a lot more time a typical day when you can't really read a paperbook or ebook, but can listen to something, which is another way to increase your media consumption speed. Make use of all the commuting / shopping / waiting for tests to finish time. A big problem with that kind of segmented time is that books which were not designed for it might be really difficult to keep track of what's going on, since you're basically reading a few pages at a time. Most podcasts, lectures, and other nonfiction work perfect, as does quite a bit of fiction depending on writing style.
  • If you spend a few hours a week doing low/medium intensity exercise (as recommended by the doctors etc.), it's often possible to setup some audiobook or (for stationary exercises like treadmills) some relevant video to keep your mind engaged. Even if you exercise in the gym and not at home you can probably bring a tablet and wireless headset with you - something which was not realistic even just a couple years ago. It depends on what kind of exercise that is, and if it requires high intensity or high focus just stick to music for your safety. 
  • Speeding up video is straightforward and doesn't cause any issues. Many simpler and older methods for speeding up audio alter its pitch, which takes some getting used to, but is really not a big deal. Mplayer speeds up any audio or video without altering pitch - you'll still hear some distortion at 1.5x or faster speeds.
That's going to save you so much time which you'll be able to use to do amazing things you never had a chance to, right? Well, not quite... You're most likely just find a lot more new fun media to consume instead, ending with as little time as you had before, but once you speed things up going back to "normal" speed is like going back to Internet with ads on it.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This sounds like one of those corporate-motivation stuff, you start improving your life this way and.. die from stroke at the age of 40-50.

Just saying.