Have you ever thought, “Ugh, I wish this article would just read itself to me while I finish editing this photo!” or maybe you’ve heard about how reading out loud is a good way to proof your article before you publish?
You too? Well, you’re going to love this little hack!
I read a lot, but these days I write as much as I read most weeks. This is super time consuming. Between the writing, and all my normal weekly work to make money, it’s hard to soak in all the interesting content that I stumble across.
Frankly, I always feel like I’m too far behind on it. If it wasn’t for Pocket, Feedly, and my mobile devices making it easy for me to dive in and catch up at weird times, I’d have gone insane long ago!
Lucky for me though, I realized one of the best and easiest productivity hacks I’ve ever come up with is built right into my Macbook Air’s handicap accessibility features, waiting for me leverage it! I’ve been using my computer’s smartness to make me smarter while I work on other things for a long time now!
Audible learning and comprehension comes easily to me. So I’m able to process multiple things at once if I do this while photo editing, designing, building, cleaning, etc. (things that don’t take tons of mental comprehension). So maybe I’ll enjoy this more than most.
However, you’ll still need to at least give it a try if you’re a writer… This makes editing your blog posts and articles super easy!
Your Computer Is Ready To Read Your Articles To You, And Sound Good Doing It!
Did you know your computer is already equipped and just waiting to read you all those articles you stumble across, and it can do it without annoying monotone robot voices!? I’m serious. Plus, no downloads required!
You can even set it to read really fast – if, of course, you can comprehend that fast – and it will keep inflection! I’m often amazed at how well it comprehends punctuation and inflection, like, amazed. Ha! Trust me, that’s a #win when you use this as much as myself!
A Few Quick Steps To Set It Up
That’s right: One of my favorite productivity hacks is one that most people don’t know is already built straight into their systems! I’ll show you how to set up a quick keyboard shortcut for it and your computer will be reading to you while you work on other things. Honestly, I’m making this article longer than it will take you to set it up. Ha!
To be clear, I’m operating on either a Macbook Pro or Macbook Air with this, but I’m sure Windows has an equivalent. My next few steps are only for Mac users though. So now, let’s get you “reading” more.
- Go to the little Apple icon in the top left corner and click it.
- Scroll down to System Preference and click it.
- Go to the Dictation and Speech section with the little microphone icon.
- Then toggle over to the Text to Speech section. Now is the fun part…
- Choose your voice (You’ll want to try a few to see which you like best. I’m currently hanging with Alex.)
- Choose your speed (Think about which articles you read online the most. I comprehend audibly really quickly, but I also read a lot of technical articles, so I’ve found a really happy medium for me is setting the slider right on the tick between Normal and Fast)
- Now check the box below that says “Speak selected text when the key is pressed.”
- Now click “Change Key” and type in a shortcut to something you can remember (or just remember the default). I don’t remember what the default shortcut was, but I found a really sensible, easy one for me to remember, was “Option + R”. Think: “I have the option for my computer to read to me!” :)
- Select this blog post right here and try it out!
- Tell me how much you love this!
A Few Tips
If you’re really loving part of an article and want to read it over, or you get lost, just hit Mute and re-chew that piece of the article at your own pace. When you’re ready to roll again, select text and go.
Also note, images and programming code will sound really funny and sometimes bog you down, but you’ll get used to it once you do it enough.
I’ve become so accustomed to this now, that I will often have my computer read me things even as I read along, which yes, is kinda ridiculous. However, I like how “Alex” takes my personal tone out of it and it helps me see things differently instead of always how I read.
Why You Do It Before You Publish:
The funny thing now is that, honestly, I’ll even have good’ol faithful Alex read the posts that I write multiple time before I publish so that I can hear them in someone else’s voice!
I sit and listen and think, “Would I like this post if someone else wrote it and I was ‘reading’ it?” and “Does this section flow well or will people get lost?”
It takes the way I hear it in my head completely out of the equation and makes it more objective.
It’s fascinating because sometimes it makes me feel freakin brilliant and sometimes it makes me feel like an idiot. Ha! In other words, it’s a lot of fun!
It definitely makes me feel more productive, and I can fly through articles and mine them for nuggets of goodness quite quickly these days. Best of all, Alex is free and just sitting there waiting to work at a moment’s notice. Gotta love that!
Let me know what you think of it!