Last week we discussed the importance of a learning strategy. Once you know your targeted topic, here are some ways to maximize the effectiveness of your reading:
- Set a goal – what does “more” mean for you? Some people are already reading regularly and want to increase it. What will make you feel successful as you look back on 2021 and assess your reading / learning?
- Set a time – Rather than wait until you have the time, decide when you will read. Some people are on the go and feel like reading is impossible. However, if you travel regularly for work you can use car and plane time to read – and remember, you can also “read” by listening to an audiobook. So, include a book in your daily run or commute to work.
- Set a learning trajectory – One of our favorite books is The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life by Steve Leveen. Its main point is that you can take control over what you read, and have it serve your development in the areas you want to grow. If someone makes a recommendation, ask them why they like the book so much. Make sure it fits your areas of interest. Collect a list of candidates and be selective about what gets your time.
- Track your learning progress – Top achievers understand the skills needed to achieve their goals and focus on building those skills. What do you want to grow, develop, and learn about? Start with that list, then select the books that support your progress. Capture what you’ve learned, and periodically review. We use large, lined Post-it notes in physical books, and have the summaries of our highlights emailed to us when finished reading on a Kindle.
- Enjoy – do not finish a book that you are not enjoying (unless it’s a class assignment!). There are too many books in this world to read. Don’t spend time slogging through a book that brings you no pleasure or benefit.
- Celebrate – Last year we wrote down each book we read and every learning experience we had. As part of the year in review, it was exciting to see what we read and contemplate how it enhanced our life and the achievement of our goals.
We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn. – Peter Drucker