These days, even with a Kindle, it can be tough to find time to read. You’ve got mind-numbing games and endless apps on your smartphone, hundreds of channels of reality shows on your FiOS, and all of those superhero movies downloaded on your tablet. But if wedging some reading time into your day is important to you, here are some tips to get started.
Keep a list. I maintain a list in my black notebook of all of the books I want to read. The list keeps me motivated. It’s a list that will never end and I find a certain amount of joy in checking off a book after I’ve read it. You can also create a list on Amazon to share with others.
Start with something. Never been a big reader? Relax, you’re not in school anymore so you can pick out books you want to read. Want a short biz book? Try The One Minute Manager, Poke the Box or Do the Work. And if you find yourself bored you can always set it aside and try another one, no one else is keeping score.
Mix it up. Biographies provide inspiration and insight, business books let you keep on top of the latest thought leaders in your industry and beyond, the classics expose you to the proven great thinkers, graphic novels can fire your creativity, and current bestselling titles provide enjoyment and convenient social ice breakers.
Steal time. I saw this tip in a book about JFK. The young president was an avid reader but naturally had a crazy schedule, so to adapt he always had a book handy and read while standing up. This trick lets you read a few lines while waiting for an appointment, on hold with the airline, or waiting for that baked potato to cook in the microwave. Reading a page here or there will help you get through books much faster than if you wait to find time to relax on the couch.
Make it a ritual. Instead of falling asleep in front of your flat screen, make reading a good book before bed a nightly ritual. Sleep experts keep yammering away that watching TV or playing Xbox just before bed isn’t conducive to a good night’s sleep anyway.
Jot notes. Sometimes you may want to take notes or underline passages for later reference, but how do you find them again when you need them? Easy. In a blank page in the front of the book create your own informal index. In pencil jot down the item and the associated page number. Something like, “Job search tip, page 53.” Writing notes, ideas and doodles gives a book character and makes it your own. (Librarians may not agree.)
Don’t let excuses get in your way. Sure you’re busy, but busier than Theodore Roosevelt? (NYC Police Commissioner, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Governor of New York , naturalist, explorer, hunter, author, colonel, VP and President.) In addition to building out the most incredible resume ever, Teddy was famous for reading at least one book a day…amounting to thousands over his lifetime. (Oh, and he found time to write 36 of his own books.) Here is some advice to read like TR.
Use social media. Twitter and LinkedIn can help you find fresh new books and reintroduce old classics. Use Twitter to ask questions and interact with authors and other fans, and try LinkedIn to join book-related groups and discussions.
Educate yourself. Remember this Matt Damon line in Good Will Hunting? “You dropped a hundred and fifty grand on an education you could’ve got for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library.” Some of us have sheepskins on the wall and some of us don’t. But no matter what you’ve spent on education it’s in the past and the future belongs to those willing to keep learning.
So what’s your reading regimen?