If you are self-employed, or even if you are a full-time employee sometimes it is really difficult to keep up with industry books, blogs and articles. In fact since I started my business back in the summer I have a folder on my laptop which contains all the eBooks and articles that I want to read but haven’t had the chance to get through them yet. I am gradually making a dent in these, and here are my tips on how to keep up with reading when you have very little time in your working day.
If the book you need to read is available on websites such as Amazon or Waterstones then it’s likely there will be some reviews you can quickly read. By reading the reviews you will get a general overview of the subject and it will also tell you whether you should even bother with the book. If after reading the reviews you still feel you need to read the book then move onto my next tip.
I do this a lot with books before I sit down to read them. By skim reading the book, for example looking at the contents (or index) and looking at relevant headings it gives you a good overview of what the book is going to tell you. This also works with articles and blog posts. Sometimes it’s not necessary to fully read something to pick up the main points. If there is a section you think you need to read fully then do so, but it might only take 10 minutes. You can even skim this blog post and just look at the headings!
I learnt this particular skill last year, it’s quite easy to explain but I think it will be better coming from a professional so take a look at Speed-Reading: Learning to Read More Efficiently or my previous blog post Time Management Tips where I recommend a great book by Kathryn Redway. I don’t speed read most things, but it’s useful if you have a long book or article that you must read, you can increase your speed by more than double by learning the technique.
Block Out Time
In your calendar, block out an hour to catch up on recent articles, blogs, eBooks you’d like to read. Make it part of your working day and you’ll be amazed how much you’ll get done. If you have to read them for your work, then you should read them in work time, surely? Even 10 minutes will give you enough time to skim read something so you can put it in the ‘To Read’ pile or not.
Do you have a smartphone?
I am only suggesting this tip because I do it myself a lot, and it works for me. It might not work for everyone, but it’s useful to mention it here. In the evening when my partner is watching the news (in French of course) which I’m not really interested in I sit on my iPhone reading through blog posts and articles, skim reading them. If I come across something I want to read in more depth then I’ll save a link to it, or put it in iBooks or Dropbox straight from my phone. Having apps on your phone like this makes it useful to access documents on the go. So another example would be on long car journeys (when you’re not driving of course) or waiting rooms etc…
Get someone else to read them for you…
It’s quite possible to find someone who you can rely on to read books, articles and blogs for you and then write you a quick summary report of the key points. There are websites where you can outsource this kind of work, if you really don’t have time to read a lot then I am sure there is someone out there who does have the time and will be grateful to be earning money at the same time. One of these websites I would recommend is PeoplePerHour – compared to some of the other websites they have a fair policy around minimum pay.
Ok I’ve managed 6 tips, I’m sure there are more, so if you have any good suggestions why not leave a comment? I might even use your tips in my upcoming newsletters, you can sign up for these on the right or tick the box underneath the comment box.