“The worth of a book is to be measured
by what you can carry away from it.”
I love to read. Love it. I always have and I'm pretty sure I always will. The only problem with reading is there's never enough time for it. Ever. No matter how much I read, there are always more and more books coming out and I can't seem to fit it all in. Like most people, I'm pretty busy so sometimes reading takes a backseat to other priorities in my life. Sometimes I just stare at my pile of To Read books or look at the long queue on Goodreads.com and sigh with frustration, "How will ever read them all?" Recently, as I've been working on my own personal development, I've realized that reading is really important to me, both because I love the act of reading and because I love gaining new information from the books I read. Reading is something I love but it also has the added bonus of being pretty good for me. Whether you like to read or not, you can't deny that it has some pretty powerful benefits...
The Benefits of Reading
- Reading stimulates your brain.
- Reading improves your memory.
- Reading keeps you from being bored.
- Reading teaches you about new things.
- Reading increases your vocabulary.
- Reading sharpens your creative skills.
- Reading encourages you to focus.
- Reading allows you be adventurous.
- Reading makes you a better writer.
- Reading relaxes your racing thoughts.
- Reading provides entertainment.
- Reading acts an escape from daily life.
- Reading heightens your self confidence.
- Reading expands your communication skills.
- Reading enlightens you with wisdom.
- Reading illustrates innovative ideas.
- Reading keeps you present in the book.
- Reading inspires you to think independently.
- Reading opens your heart to others.
- Reading relieves stress in your life.
Because I've identified reading as one of those things that's really important to me and that I should do more of (you know, the way some people think of exercise or healthy eating...), I've been giving a lot to how I can incorporate more reading into my daily routines -- without sacrificing all of the things I absolutely have to get done. Those of you who love to read probably feel the same way that I do: there's never enough time! So, I've taken it upon myself to offer up some suggestions of how to incorporate more reading into your life. Most likely, if you're anything like me, reading gets put on the back burner of your life because there are many, many other important things to do. I get that, I do, but reading (especially if you enjoy it!) is really important. Really important. And even with a busy, busy life, you can make time for it. Here's how...
Buy Yourself a Kindle
Over the past 10 months or so, reading has changed a lot for me, mostly because I was fortunate enough to add a Kindle to my life (one of the greatest things ever!). One of the best things about having a Kindle (or any other type of electronic reading device) is that you can carry tons of books with you everywhere you go in one light, convenient contraption. I've gotten into the habit of carrying my Kindle with me almost everywhere so anywhere I am, if I have even a moment or two, I can read. Waiting at the doctor's office? Pull out your Kindle! Riding on the train? Get that Kindle out! Stuck in traffic? Kindle time! (Okay, maybe not that last one since that's probably illegal and is definitely dangerous). Anyway, you get the point. Carrying a Kindle's a lot easier than carrying a book (unless the book is really, really light and small) and you can have lots of books with you at one time.
Kindles are expensive so if you're not all that into reading or don't think you'll use it as often as you'd like, this probably isn't the best option for you. Also, if you're a slow reader, having a Kindle with you at all times isn't going to necessarily help you zip through books any faster. It's not for everyone, but for those who really enjoy reading and want to be doing it every free moment they can (like I do), the Kindle is the way to go. However, if you're the kind of person who really wants to read more and absorb more information but just doesn't have the time, the next option might be for you...
Join a Kick-Ass Book Club
One great way to do this is to join a book club. And not just any book club -- a book club that helps you read more efficiently. Where can you find such a club? Recently I was fortunate enough to stumble across the Bottom Line Book Club, a book club created to cater to busy people who want to absorb information quickly. As you probably know, there are so many great resources out there but it's pretty hard to intake all of that information quickly. When you're reading about personal development (as I often am), you probably find yourself overloaded with information, wondering how in the world it all fits together and how you can apply to it your own life. However, with a book club such as Bottom Line, you can gain insights in a condensed, easy-to-understand form that not only provides you with information but also provides guidance on how to apply the concepts to your life.
This month, Bottom Line Book Club focused on a book called The Flipside: Finding Hidden Opportunities in Life by Adam J. Jackson, which obviously sounds pretty awesome. Of course I would love to read every single word of the book, but I have a stack of books a mile high and very busy week ahead so accessing the book via Bottom Line couldn't have been more perfect for me. When I received the download of the workbook for The Flipside, I was immediately excited. In only 19 pages I would getting the great information I needed, quickly and without hours of reading! What I loved most about this workbook was right up front I got the three main points about the book. According to Bottom Line, The Flipside focuses on three things:
- Our perception and experience of reality is all made up
- The importance of developing optimistic thinking
- Smart questions to find the hidden opportunities
After that I was hooked. I instantly wanted to know more because clearly I want to find the hidden opportunities in life and obviously I was excited to learn that this topic tied in with optimistic thinking. As I scrolled through the workbook, I found not only great information on the topics but an area where I could actually reply to questions in the document. I'm a big fan of workbooks and books that require action so this was great for me. Not only did I get to interact with the workbook (a definite downside when it comes to the Kindle), but I learned exciting things like "How To Become More Optimistic," "The Difference Between Pessimists and Optimists," and a great interactive section that helped me to identify hidden opportunities in my own life. As much as I would have liked to read the entire book (and I may at some point because I really was intrigued by the Bottom Line information!), this resource gave the key points and provided an area where I could take the key messages from The Flipside and actually put them to work for me.
If you love to read and enjoy personal development as much as I do but just don't have the time to squeeze it all into your busy schedule, this is probably a great option for you. Within a short amount of time you can obtain the essential information you need and have a place where you can actually see how to apply the topics you've just read about. Brilliant!
Set Aside Read-Only Time
For those of you with more time on your hands, this is a great option for fitting more reading into your life. The key to this tactic is to set aside time specifically for reading. If you have to get up early, do that. If you have to close yourself in your room and ask for some time away from your family, do that. Do whatever you need to do to set aside time just for reading. If you can, set aside a specific amount of time each day to get some reading done. If you can't do it daily, pick a time each week that you know will work for you and block it off as "read-only" time. If you need to, put it on your calendar. You deserve to indulge in all of the benefits of reading so don't feel guilty about setting time aside for something that doesn't necessarily feel like a necessity.
If reading time seems like it will take time away from those you love, think about ways you can incorporate reading into your relationship with your significant other, children, or friends. Do you have a buddy that love to read? What if you met weekly for some reading time at a local coffee shop? What about your kids? Do they enjoy reading or, if you have really young kids, do they enjoy being read to? Reading often seems like an isolating activity, but it doesn't have to be. You can read with someone or next to someone. You can even take your book (or Kindle!) outside somewhere and make an experience of it. Reading can be fun, romantic, and very interactive, but it's up to you to make it that way.
Like to read? Do you make time in your life for reading?
What suggestions do you have for incorporating reading into your life?