How to have a smart reading plan

  • Written by Nelson T. Dy
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 207

It makes sense

YOU are what you read. There are valid moments for sheer reading pleasure, such giving a weary mind a break with escapist literature. But for this article, I will share three principles to make your reading work for you.

Read to support your life goals. What do you want from life? A happy marriage? Then read good books on marriage. A successful career? Then read good books on career. A healthier lifestyle? Then read good books on… you get the drift.

Don’t read useless stuff. Don’t read aimlessly. Have reading objectives that align with your life objectives. Notice the plural: “objectives.” Our lives have several dimensions: physical, intellectual, social, and so on. Thus, have a balanced book diet. Personally, I have classified my reading into four major groups: career, spirituality, marriage and self-development. They are like four legs on my table. Take one out and I’ll wobble. Take another one out and I’ll fall.

In your case, your reading diet may include titles about physical health, financial literacy and effective parenting. It depends on your needs.

Know your peak hours when you can absorb well. For many people, it is early morning, after a good night’s sleep. The mind is clear and sharp. Compare that with, say, slogging through a book after lunch. There must be some truth in the saying that blood has gone to the stomach and not to the brain. But there are those whose idea of a nightcap is curling up with a book. Know what works for you.

My usual routine is to write my articles in the morning, do work-related reading at the office and do personal reading at home, after dinner. This is because after a long day, I will be too tired to write, so instead of vegetating in front of the TV, I reach out to a book that I really want to read and relevant to my life goals. What if I am really tired and nothing sinks into my mind? Then that’s my cue to sleep.
Read for quality, not quantity. There are articles that encourage people to read a certain number of books per week, month or year. I tried that and soon realized that I was reading a lot but not applying much of what I’ve read.
The antidote is to be very choosy on what you’ll read. Take your time with a book. Distill its key points and apply what you’ve learned, even if it’s a baby step. I would rather master five books a year with tangible results than boast of consuming 50 books but have nothing to show for it.
So how do you become very choosy? Ask your bookworm friends for recommendations. Nowadays, you can crowd source via Facebook. What if there’s this really great book out there but nobody told you about it? Don’t worry about FOMO (“fear of missing out” -- I learned that from a book!). If a book is meant for you to read, it will somehow find its way into your hands.
There you have it. Smart reading makes for smart people. Enjoy your next book!
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