How many times have you promised yourself during the first week of any given month, “OK, this month I will start and finish a book?” *Raises hand* Guilty. I would borrow the book from the library and let it collect dust. Or I would buy the book, dive into it that Saturday, only to leave the book somewhere on my bed and then find it 6 months later under the bed.
It wasn’t until I got around a great group of folks that were also actively reading that my discipline grew. Not only did I grow more in knowledge but it helped me start a good habit and encouraged me to structure my day better so that I could have time to read. I strongly encourage you to start building a non-fiction list of business and self-improvement best sellers. If you want any ideas, check out my list here. These types of books will begin to expand your thinking and encourages you to think a little differently.
Here’s a couple of quotes that persuade us into being more objective about reading.
Leaders are readers.
The book you don’t read won’t help. –Jim RohnIt is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it. –Oscar Wilde
Regardless of what non-fiction you are reading, here’s how I study a book so that I can get the best out of it.
1. Start reading from a recommendation. If you are in a mastermind, a mentor, or a friend that you admire professionally, ask them what they think would be a good read if you want to improve on (blank).
2. Purchase your book to mark in it. This may sound silly, but sometimes we are not willing to commit to really reading the book and applying it. In order to take the most out, you have to not be afraid to mark, highlight, fold, bookmark, etc… Or if your a Kindle person, their monthly membership option is great.
3. Get your book cut and coiled. I go to OfficeDepot, but you can go to almost any print shop and get your book binding cut and coiled. It’s a great way to how worry about holding a book with two hands and disfiguring your book.
4. Commit to reading everyday around the same time every day. Here’s two ways I’ve done this and both work. It just depends on your schedule.
a. same time every day 30 mins – morning, lunch, before bed.
b. 10 mins x 3 times a day. – right after you wake up, right after work instead of waiting in traffic, or before your next appointment.
5. Keep a highlighter in the coil. This was something that I thought about after I had my books coil-bound but you can simply just put a small highlighter inside your book and more that likely it won’t fall.
6. Developed symbols to help you understand why you highlighted something.
- Underline with thin line or pen = interesting fact, good part of story
- Highlight with thick line = deep “wisdom”
- I put a star next to highlighted content = important “wisdom,” possibly discuss with someone.
- I write a person’s name next to an area highlighted that I believe they convey the positive characteristics being described.
- I’ve only recently started using the ACT acronym. Put an circled A, C, or T next to any highlight that you think you should Act upon, Change about yourself, or Teach it to others. I like the strategy so far.
7. Use a post it to underline where you left off. Specially if you use bright or solid colors, it helps you find your place right away. I also draw a small arrow if I need to get specific. I will also post the goal that I have for myself for that week, “read 30 mins today,” “read 3 times today!”
8. Carry the book with you everywhere you go. Same goes when you get home. Keep the book in the same spot so anytime you have a few extra minutes you know where to go.
9. Have a small notebook or journal where you write a few thoughts on what you are reading. Again, I make notes in my Evernote when I’m on the road and I have a journal I write in when I’m home and can reflect thoroughly.
10. Have a list of books to red every year. You can either make a quick one in your Evernote, or keep it at the back of your planner. Also, make it a point to reread a couple of books that impact you. You’d be surprised at how you learn something new and how it seems to be a new book every time you reread it.
Action Call for the comments below:
What tip was your favorite?
Which one you will implement right away?
Do you have a tip of your own that has helped you make reading a part of your day?