Guest article by Leslie Shreve
It can take over in the blink of an eye, crowding your desk or hiding in the far corners of your office. It’s important, but not urgent in most cases and whether it’s consolidated or all spread out, it’s there to remind you that you’re behind.
What is it? It’s everything you set aside to READ. And it’s everywhere. At one point or another, you thought you wanted to read it. Well, how badly do you want to read it now? Some of it’s collecting dust. Yeah, I’ve seen lots of reading piles gather layers of dust and actually most of what I’ve seen wasn’t even in a pile.
So I’ve put together these 7 steps to revive your reading or retire it for good. When you follow these steps, you will be able to take charge, take your reading seriously and be done. Or you can later weep at the thought of trying to read your collection… after it’s grown even bigger!
Step 1: Get it all into one pile
I find my clients have their reading spread out all over their offices. If you do this too, it can skew your perception of how much you’ve collected to read and you could be holding on to way more than you could possibly read. So put it all into one pile and you’ll get a sense of how much you intended to read.
Step 2: Pick your favorites
Once you get everything together into one pile, pick your favorites and set them aside. Then from the remaining pile, pull out the ones that you never get to or the ones you’re not as interested in anymore. Unsubscribe to those and then toss them.
Step 3: Rank your reading
Put everything that’s left back into one pile again and then separate them into 3 new categories: Must read, Important to read, It would be nice if I could read. Then see if you can toss the last pile entirely!
Step 4: Give it a week
From what remains, give yourself 1 week to read everything – or almost everything. This would be the “must read” and “important to read” categories. Some reading is weekly and some is monthly. Just remember that the more you read now, the better. Why? Because more is coming!
Step 5: Know your best location
When you read, where’s your favorite place to read? At home or at work? Know your favorite locations and be sure to take your reading to this place so it’s ready when you are. You can also put it in your briefcase if reading on the road or while you’re waiting for someone or something is another way for you to catch up.
Step 6: Keep it together
From here on out, you should only maintain one reading pile. Whenever you get something new to add to the pile, be sure to review what you’re collecting. Don’t keep adding more and more unless you read something or toss something. Remember, you only have so many hours in a day and in a week before more reading comes along, so be realistic about what you intend to read.
Step 7: Protect your time
Protect time in your schedule to actually READ! If you enjoy reading early in the morning before the day gets started, then read a little every morning. Or maybe lunch time is best or maybe later in the day or evening. Decide what works for you and for the different kinds of reading you probably do. Whatever you choose, plan to do it every day or several times a week until the pile is gone. You can also block out time on your calendar so it’s a visible reminder. Then enjoy your reading! That’s the point isn’t it?
This article is by productivity expert and founder of Productive Day, Leslie Shreve, who publishes Work Day Wonders to help highly motivated experts like you put their work day on cruise control at peak productivity to enjoy less stress, more progress and great success. If you’re ready to be in the driver’s seat of your work day and leave your frustrations behind, subscribe now to get your FREE subscription. As a BONUS, you’ll also get the 7 Power Steps to Peak Productivity, a 7-day e-mail series of tips you can start using today!
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