It’s 2018. We are all busy. We are always multitasking. We are constantly making efforts to find the balance between all the different things we are trying to incorporate in our life – work, friends, family, sports, duties, education, vacation, leisure…the list goes on. When having the discussion about time management with people with diverse occupations and interests, we often come to the conclusion that all of us wish to have more time to read. And we all agree that reading is a must for professional and personal development.No matter how good you are in what you do, there is always a next level that you can reach and books are one of the best tools (along with practice) for that. And what is more, regular reading gives you not only knowledge but it benefits your ability to concentrate, improves your focus and memory and strengthens your analytical thinking. If you are like me, constantly trying to optimize tasks to free more time to read, keep on with this blog to find out some useful tips, which will help you:
Make reading a morning ritual
It is so damn easy picking up the smartphone to be the first thing you do in the morning. But instead of scrolling the Facebook newsfeed or checking your emails try to set a routine to read. Whether it is a book or an e-device like Kindle, just grab it and dedicate a fixed time slot to reading. Define it by your own – 15, 30, 60 minutes. It depends all on you, but no matter the length, try to stick to it every morning and it will eventually become a habit. After a while, your mind and body will crave it every morning (just as they crave coffee 🙂 ). Additional reason to choose reading in the morning is that your mind is still clear, not engaged with information, to-do’s and duties so it will be a lot easier for you to concentrate.
Read on e-device or mobile
Remember that horrible queue when you had to wait 40 minutes? It is not convenient to have a 300 pages book everywhere with you so you didn’t have one. But what if you had a Kindle (which fits in your purse or backpack and weights a lot less than a book), wouldn’t it be great if you could read a couple of pages while waiting? Sure it would. And that’s one of the main reasons why an e-device is convenient. It is portable and works for you in all that cases when you are not able or you don’t want to carry a book with you. And if you want something even more portable than Kindle, you have it already in your pocket. Yes, your smartphone can do a great job. You can download a reading app like Aldiko Book Reader (or any other by your own choice, there are plenty in Google Play Store) to make your reading experience better. The last book I read was 868 pages and if I had to dedicate myself to the paper edition only, I wouldn’t have even reached the half by now. Having the book on my phone made the process a lot faster because I had an access to the content anywhere, anytime.
Choose books/content that is interesting to you
Seriously. Many of us have the bad habit of forcing ourselves to finish a book that obviously is not interesting to us just because a book started should become a book finished. Forget about that, it is a total waste of time. If you have started a book which refuses to grab your attention, leave it and dedicate your time to something that intrigues you. Sometimes we do not feel motivated to read just because the content is not interesting enough. On the other hand, if it has grabbed your attention, you will find time to read, no matter how busy/tired you are. Remember, when you were a child, all those nights spent with a thrilling book when ‘Just one more chapter’ often led to meeting the sunrise still with the book in your hands? That is what I am talking about. So don’t stick with one particular book, give yourself a variety to choose from. At Dreamix, for example, we try to constantly enrich our library at the office with new and valuable books, so people can always have something motivational and engaging to read.
Set a measurable goal
When you set a goal that you can measure – to finish that book by the end of the month or to read 2 educational articles everyday – you can monitor your progress more easily which benefits motivation. When your aim is specific it helps you to organize your time and tasks and it also helps to deal with procrastination. What will work even better is to write down that goal on a piece of paper and put it on a visible place like on your fridge at home or on your desk at the office. It may sound funny but when you write down a goal it is more likely to find motivation to complete it.
Join a reading group / challenge with friends or colleagues.
When you are part of such a reading community it is usually more motivating to keep up. You receive support from others and on the other hand your competitive spirit awakens. At Dreamix we have a Book Club where we gather to read books and discuss them together. For example, recently, part of the team has started reading a book to prepare for a Java certification exam. The content is divided between the team and everyone has to read one of the chapters and share the knowledge with the others during the weekly Book Club meeting. Sharing what one has read benefits not only the whole team but the person as well because sharing needs understanding, learning and memorizing the information.
Although it is not about actual reading, audio books are a great way to gain knowledge. What is good about them is that they are suitable for all these moments, when you are doing something else, but you are still capable of assimilating information, e.g., while you are driving on your way to the office, while you are walking, while you are cooking or simply when you are feeling tired of actual reading. In addition, listening makes it more likely for us to consume information properly. As well as that, another benefit is that audiobooks are convenient, because you can download them on your phone or tablet, which makes them accessible everywhere – you just need to have your electronic device charged.
So, is reading a mission impossible for busy humans like you and me?
Although we are super busy nowadays finding time for reading is definitely not a mission impossible. It is about will, motivation and making it part of your everyday routine. Life is changing but what is important is to be adaptive and change your habits and environment in such a way so it works beneficially for you. The tips mentioned above are just a small part of the things you can do. I am curious to learn about other creative and practical ideas. What is your experience, how do you find time and motivate yourself to read? Hit the comment button below and share 🙂