Five ways to get the most out of your daily reading
“The attainment of the carpenter is that his work is not warped, that the joints are not misaligned, and that the work is truly planned so that it meets well and is not merely finished in sections. This is essential.” – Miyamoto Musashi, “The Book of Five Rings.”
Each year I set reading goals for the purpose of learning and growth, and have had varying degrees of success retaining the principles, concepts, and insights of all of the books I read. If you have a similar desire to sharpen your tools and skills through reading, you may also find it difficult at times to get the most out of your books. The problem, as I’m sure you know, is not the books themselves, but the manner in which we consume them.
Here, then, are some suggestions to help you stop wasting your time and actually process and retain what you read.
Focus your themes:
- Preview your work and find reading that will have real-time tactical value for you within your next week of work.
- Who are your most precious people? What could you learn that would give you more opportunity to help them succeed? Focus your reading themes in an area of support for your people.
Add the time:
- Block a set amount of time in your workday startup routine to do your reading so that your calendar reflects you as “busy.” This will help protect the time from being pirated by those who may need something less important from you.
- Create a ritual with your family around quiet reading time, unplugged and uninterrupted. It’s both bonding and relaxing.
Share what you learned:
- Reflect on your immediate insights and put it into shareable form. Share by writing or speaking to someone about what you’re learning as a result of your reading. This practice serves the dual purpose of anchoring the learnings and helping to clarify muddy points.
What are your personal reading practices? If you’d like to share them with me, or would like more information about best practices in areas of renewal, contact me at Jeremiah@emergent.com.