First things first – This article reaches you few days late. Sincere apologies for that. I’ve been travelling in the state of Himachal Pradesh & haven’t been able to put time to write (Makes me wonder how travel bloggers write amidst the nature’s beauty)
It goes without saying that my biggest project of 2022 for all the ReadARs is to work on our PKM aka Personal Knowledge Management.
And its starts with “Getting Things Done” from 13th June
But before that, I want you to challenge yourself to self-read one of these books.
You can read one of these or anything of your own choice. But please ensure that it’s a light, short read.
Our goal is to Read GTD and these books are warm-ups for it.
A. Animal Farm by George Orwell
Perfect small book that will leave you mesmerised for life. A fun, deep read about all things life & politics.
This will be my preferred choice for you to read on your own.
C. Work on your Reading Routine as you read by yourself so that you read your book everyday. This is a warm-up for GTD and thus you need to build in your resilience NOW before we start reading that incredible book.
D. Create your own Daily Portions. Divide it either by 10/15 pages a day format or divide it Chapter Wise (preferred for Nonfiction)
Ensure that you do this division before you start reading the book. Make a daily portion index card or write the same on your Readers Journal. Each day you read that portion, mark a tick against it. This keeps one on-track the most when self-reading.
E. If you finish the 1st, you can read the 2nd too. 🙂 But wrap it up before 11th June.
F. Don’t forget to buy “Getting Things Done” too. Buy it Here
If you are a voracious reader or you are someone who’s actively working on forming reading habits, I am certain that you would have come across an ad of some book summary service like Instaread, Mentorbox, Blinkist etc. If you are in India, you might also know the app by Amrut Deshmukh called Booklet which again has summarised version of the books that he has read.
Now the idea behind these book summary apps is that instead of reading an entire book, one can simply digest its main ideas, in 10-15 minutes. These apps primarily cater to the nonfiction books, especially the self-help books category. And by the same premise, they sell further by painting a vivid picture of one person being able to digest hundreds of books.
I am sure that they would be having a lot of paid subscribers who have found it as an interesting concept and thus signed up for it. I understand their premise – why spend hours into reading a book entirely when you can digest some key ideas from a book summary app in 15 mins & then read 10 more books in half the total time spent.
For those who don’t really wish to invest in their reading habits, then these book summary apps are good substitute. Some amount of reading is thousand times better than no amount of reading at all.
But if you are someone who’s actively working to form long lasting reading habits, then you will be better off by giving these apps a skip.
Reading self-help books is like shopping at a supermarket. When you are in a supermarket you don’t pick every item that’s there. You pick what you need the most, what suits you the most.
Your point of view of reading that book will definitely be different to the person who had made a summary on the book summary app.
What if their interpretation overlooks a portion of the book that could have been important, or even life altering for you?
When you read and invest your time into these self-help books, you’re not just reading for the sake of it. You’re reading to apply. And thus the approach to read the book in small portions and applying it, each day. You will thus pick the best elements out of that self-help book, ones that you found were most applicable.
Instead of trying to read too many books and applying too little from them, pick ones that are most applicable to your current life and future self.
The mindset should be that the book must be deserving enough to be read by you. This will serve as a handy filter into bringing down the shortlisted books to 5-6.
Read them, a little bit each day. Apply them, a little bit each day. And summarize them for yourself each weekend. Repeat the process with the next book and the book after & before you know it, you would have already become what the book promised you to.
If you still wish to use a book summary app, then choose Blinkist. It has a “free daily pick” which has one book summary available to all its users – both paid and unpaid. If a book appeals to you, put it in your wishlist and if sometime later it makes the cut, then the book summary app would have served its purpose.
I’m a big fan of this wonderful book “Tiny Habits” by Dr. BJ Fogg
Dr. Fogg is the founder of behaviour design lab at Stanford. In his debut book, he talks about the importance of anchors. Anchors are the driving forces that lead to the formation of a new habit.
Even while suggesting, he has mentioned 15 routines that one can create in the morning. How many did he suggest in the day? 5. And in the evening? 9.
There are more morning anchors than those in the day and in the evening, combined.
Well, it can be argued that the author was giving some examples so he might have added more routines in the morning or could have worked harder to write an equivalent number of routines for the day/evening.
But that’s not the case. Certainly, there’s something more at play here than it meets the eye.
Each one of us wants to be successful. The metrics to define success will be different for each person but it goes without saying that all of us have an innate desire to be successful.
But an ugly truth of our modern-day society is that only a few will ever achieve their true potential to realise their dreams…
For those who really want to be successful, it will only take a relentless pursuit of their goals & deliberate practice of their systems to get there.
For that journey to be successful, you will need on a heck lot of inspiration to remain on your path. One of the popular sources of inspiration is to read/ listen/ watch interviews of successful people.
If you were to do that, you will see one common pattern emerge – that these successful people mastered their morning routines.
Our morning routines hold the game-changing potential to make us soar in our life and the absence of which breaks us down, one fall after another.
But hey! I am not talking about the 5 AM club here. That sounds like a fancy thing to do. I am often shocked as to how people pay over the odds to be a “5 AM” person but very few succeed at it.
I am talking about building our Morning Routines that’s not defined by some 4/5/6 AM clubs 🙂
One of the most popular speaker out there, Brian Tracy has said in his book, “Eat the Frog” (No, not literally!), that the frog is the most challenging assignment of your day which has to be the first thing that one does on that very day.
While he has stated it in terms of Time management, there’s one small detail that was probably overlooked.
The key here lies in ENERGY MANAGEMENT.
All our life, we have been hardwired by our parents, teachers, successful people to manage time. Nobody has ever talked about managing our energies and it makes me wonder – WHY?!
Just search on Amazon for “Time Management” and you will come across 70000+ search results. Search “Energy Management” and you will come across 20000+ titles – all of which talk about Energy as a subject of science – solar, wind, hydro, and fuel conservation. Yikes!
Hardly anyone talks/writes/speaks about Personal Energy Management. I will.
Successful people also have yet another common trait — “They achieved greatness by doing what others weren’t.”
Everyone is trying to manage TIME. I want you to manage ENERGY.
As Robert Frost once wrote – “Two roads diverged in the wood, and I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference”. That is exactly what I want you to do in terms of walking the path of Personal Energy Management.
As an L1 ReadAR of mine, you arebuilding a routine to read each day via the daily articles over a variety of topics. With every passing day, you are not only adding to the knowledge pool; taking action by applying what you read but also beginning to experience the subtle benefits of reading each day.
When you reach L2, you will be building on these routines to create that habit of reading books, the smart & sustainable way along with other fellow readers.
By the time you end your L2 journey, you will have automated your routines with the deep habit of reading every day in your life. At the same time, you will be applying the learnings from each book and subtly transform your personal & professional life.
By reading consistently each day, we are pushing ourselves beyond the comfort zone to learn something new, learn different perspectives from other ReadARs for the same article & learn about ourselves too.
But for all of this magic to happen, we need to deliberately work on building & safeguarding our routines.
Because if we don’t end up creating our routines, soon we might start looking at reading each day as a task & before you realise it, an enjoyable knowledge gaining activity would be replaced with a unbearable job-like task which makes you gasp & sigh! Thus negating the impact of the transformational impact of habitually consistent reading could have had in your life… 🙁
Let’s take a step back here and look at things from a different perspective..
Imagine this: It’s 8 AM in the morning. You’ve just woken up after good 7 hours of sleep. The entire day lies ahead of you.
What would you do? A. Open social media apps like Facebook/Instagram/Twitter and see what’s happening in the world. B. Open Netflix/Hotstar/Amazon Prime and watch the next episode of a much-talked-about series/movie. C. Work on your Habits/ Learn something new.
Chances are that you are likely to choose option C.
Now Imagine this: It’s 8 PM. You’ve had a long day at work, nearly 10 hours if not more. Your manager yet again undermined you and gave you even more work to do. As the house maid was on holiday, you have tired yourself by doing the household chores.
If you’re in a relationship, your love interest wants to talk. If you’re married, your partner wants to spend time with you. If you’re parent and you have kids – well god give you strength my friend – in the course of the day, you helped them with their school & homework & now they want to spend more time with you.
What would you do? A. Open social media apps like Facebook/Instagram/Twitter and see what happened in the world today. B. Open Netflix/Hotstar/Amazon Prime and unwind with the next episode of a much-talked-about series/movie with the family. C. Work on your Habits/ Learn something new.
It’s very likely that the last thing on your mind would be to choose option C.
Wait, what? You still have a good few hours before you fall asleep. You still have the desire to learn. What is it that changed?
You have spent all the gas that was left in the tank. Your brain no longer has any fuel to learn something new. You can’t do something today so you carry-it over to the next day. And the day after. And the day after the day after.
This is how the mental burden of unfinished work keeps piling up in our life and makes us feel miserable. And this is also how a natural love for reading, gravitates to become a “difficult unfinished task” and a new article or a new reading portion each day, makes you Sigh!
What can you do about it?
Each of the articles that I share or the reading portion that I give is designed to take roughly 1% of your daily time ~15 mins.
Each day that you wake up, tell yourself that I will read the article as the first thing in the morning for that 1% of the time. Later in the day, set yourself another 1% of the time to make your daily 3 line article summary and write down any difficult words into the same journal.
This practice will not only enhance retention but also load up your vocabulary tank with the fuel of rich new words. If in case you couldn’t read in the morning, this could also serve as a natural backup slot.
Once you are able to create a morning reading routine, then you can bring forth new inclusions into your morning routines such as including a fitness routine, learning a digital course, or writing something down, or any other routine that makes you, eat that frog! (still metaphorical!)
Yet not motivated enough?
Just ask yourself the following each morning – Do I want to Learn? (Yes you do because you answered the first question with option C.) Do I have the Energy? (Yes you will because you just had a good night of sleep & you feel refreshed.)
Since I am a learner & I have the energy as well; then the 1st activity of my day should be something that makes me learn and will take just 1% of my time & in return make me 1% better each day.
Yes I can. And Yes I will.
James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, could not have made the power of 1% any more obvious.
Now go ahead and start reading. In the morning, each day, beginning from today. Don’t put it off till tomorrow. Because tomorrow never comes…