In the last post, I shared some thoughts on the importance of leaders reading consistently. In this post, I want to to address some obstacles that many of us face which tempt us to avoid reading. Reading is a skill and a discipline that becomes easier with more and more practice.
Obstacle Number One: I Can’t Read Very Fast
Solution: Be Realistic
I personally cannot read extremely fast, but I have noticed that after years of reading consistently my reading speed has increased exponentially. One thing that helped me to even begin a reading habit was starting with books that interested me. If you are reading a book just for reading’s sake you will not establish a lifelong reading habit. Start with books that you actually enjoy. Another action step is to start with books that are less than 100 pages. Do not start with your great grandpa’s “Chronicles of World History.” You can normally finish a book of 100 pages in just a few days of reading for 20-30 minutes. The thrill of closing a book having completed reading it makes you eager to start another one.
Obstacle Number Two: I Can’t Find a Quiet Place to Read.
Solution: Be Intentional and Communicate.
Some of you reading this have multiple children and a small home. I very much know this obstacle. One way to overcome this is to schedule reading time into your day. Make this a time when you are naturally alert and awake. Thirty minutes of focused reading time will yield much more profit than three of hours of distracted reading. I find that mornings are the best time for me. Be sure to communicate to your family, spouse, roommates etc. when you are going to hide away to do some reading. This will keep you from getting frustrated when they come in the room to ask you a question or to discuss the new Star Wars movie. You may be thinking, “I can’t ask them to leave me alone for thirty minutes. That’s selfish.” Believe me, men, our wives do not want ignorant, boring husbands. Just imagine actually having something to talk to our wives about other than politics and the latest ESPN stats. Our wives won’t mind us taking some time for intellectual stimulation. Ladies, take advantage of the times of the day when the kids are doing homework or taking a nap. Another strategy is to make your kids read with you. Some mornings my wife and I make our boys read a book (or look at the pictures) on their own while we have our reading times. Ask your husband and tell your kids to do the dishes while you slip away to enjoy a few minutes of quiet reading.
Obstacle Number Three: I Don’t Have Time.
Solution: Remember that Quality Time is More Important than Quantity Time.
Really? You don’t have time to read. “I don’t have time” is one of the greatest cop out phrases of our day when it relates to commitments. The real issue is that we have made too many commitments to the wrong things. The biggest time waster for all of us is the television. I promise you. Turn off the TV, and you will find that you have a lot of time that you could use to read a book. Start with cutting out just one thirty minute show and focus on a book. You will find your appetite for good reading to begin crowding out the appetite for mindless television shows. Oh. One more thing. Be sure to turn off your cell phone wile you read too. May your reading become easier and your appetite for good books grow stronger as you begin this great lifelong habit.
What time of day do you set aside to read?
What time of the day are you most alert?
Are you an early bird or a night owl?