How to Let It GO and Still Read What You Need
Reading here, reading there, reading everywhere!
I bet you don’t realize how spread out it is. It’s on your desk. It’s on your credenza. It’s on your bookshelf.
It’s the newspapers in your briefcase. It’s the magazines on your floor. It’s the books on your nightstand.
It’s in your email. It’s on the Internet. It’s in your mailbox.
Do you realize how much you want to read? Do you realize how little time you have to actually read it?
Ah, you’ve given in to a common temptation… the temptation to read everything that crosses your path that looks interesting. You’re surrounded by mailings and magazines, books and newspapers, newsletters, Internet news… and there seems to be no way out!
Well, it’s true that the information river will not stop flowing, but there IS a way out of the river. In order to avoid getting swept away, you need to either read like mad or let it go and start fresh. Do a combination of these and you may get through it all, depending on how much you have to read.
Here are 5 things you can do to FREE yourself from your reading pile
and still get what you want and what you need:
1.) Rule #1: Make sure that by the end of every week you have no reading left. I know… shocking. And yes, even the monthly publications when they show up. Are you afraid of having no reading pile at all? Would that feel too… empty?
Don’t worry. That place where you keep your reading pile won’t be bare for long… More is coming your way.
2.) Topics of Interest: Think seriously about the most important topics you need to know in order to do your job. Add to that what you want to learn that would bring value to your business and value to your customers and clients. Write these down or type them up in a list. What’s your focus?
Your list may have 3, 5 or 7 broad topics on it, but whatever the number make sure these are “must reads” on some level. Knowing up front what you’re looking for can help you immensely. It helps you to say “no” to reading that doesn’t meet your needs or is just a distraction.
3.) Time: Think seriously about how much time you can actually devote to reading each day or each week. If you really want to read these things, you must MAKE time to read. Plan time into your schedule daily or weekly. Will it be with morning coffee? After lunch? Over the weekend?
You must set aside time. Plan it and protect it. Otherwise you will give it away or other people will take it and before you know it, the week has passed you by and you haven’t read a thing.
And don’t kid yourself about how much time you have in a day or what you’d rather be doing if presented with a choice. Other activities are always competing with your reading pile. It could be something great at work that you’d rather be doing. It could be something fun at home that you’d rather be doing. If your reading is really at the bottom of your list, why hold on to so much? Toss it now!
4.) Topics vs. Time: Now look at your list from #2 above and consider the time you’ve set aside in #3. Do you speed read? Can you get the reading finished in the time you’ve set aside to read? If not, then shorten your list or set aside more time.
Another option is to assign certain types of reading to staff members, if you have staff to which you can delegate reading. Not only could they benefit from the reading, but they can summarize it for you on a regular basis.
5.) Just Say No! Be careful about saying “yes” to reading because it looks interesting, even though it doesn’t fall into your list of “must reads.” You’ll lose a lot of time and get easily sidetracked if you allow yourself to get off course in the limited time you have.
If you have topics on your list that are secondary to the ‘must reads’ just keep in mind that you’ll only have time for the “maybe” reads if you can keep up with the “must reads.” Let’s do first things first.
If you never seem to get to the “maybes” then they’re the first to get tossed. However, if you always want flex time for interesting reading that you didn’t anticipate, then you must factor this in when you’re making your list in #2 and setting aside time in #3.