One Day A Week Is All It Takes: How to read more books

As I mentioned in a previous post, I introduced a new routine in my schedule and so far, so good. It's been giving results. I'm taking one day a week to learn, re-learn and educate myself on marketing, entrepreneurship, and self-development. In last week's self-improving session, I got a ton of useful information which I decided to share with you.

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Today in One Day a Week Is all it Takes

| How to read more books |


With everything that’s been going in the past years, reading has become less and less of a priority. One day I was watching a comedy show and someone claimed they were reading 100 books per year and that left me feeling despair. I was struggling to finish 5 books per year. How and when did it came to this? I used to devour books.

So I made amends by making it a priority to read more in 2018. I gave myself a 12-book challenge and kept a track record of it on Goodreads. I know that’s hilarious compared to the 40 something books most CEO reads per year. But hey, I gotta start somewhere.

“Do you know how many books the average person reads per year?" says Jim Kwik, an international speaker and brain coach. "Literally two or three, for the entire year. And yet, the average CEO is reading four or five books per month. That's a drastic difference."

And it’s not just CEOs who benefit from reading and learning more. A LinkedIn report found that continuously learning is linked to productive and engaged employees, the ones that drive more revenue. The report mentions that 94 percent of the employees who were part of their study said that they would stay with a company who invested in their continued learning and development. So maybe a book club, a subscription to Skillshare or a library in the office could help you build a culture of learning within your company and increase productivity.

As I became aware of how less and how scarce my reading actually was, I also became painfully aware of the amount of time I had to make available to achieve this. But I’m always up for a challenge. Long story short I managed to hit my target and even go beyond my objective. Not without hurdles though.

This year I went into entrepreneurship full time, launched 3 businesses, started a podcast and a vlog, got married, moved to a new apartment, traveled to 6 countries, finished a photography class and more. I had plenty of excuses to drop my book challenge. But I didn’t. And now, as the year approaches its end, I’m so happy and proud of myself for sticking to this. In the process I relaxed my mind, practiced my imagination, improved my self confidence and fixed my poor-sleeping habits. Which is big!

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How I managed to read more books this year

  1. I paced myself with an achievable number. 12 books a year, 1 book per month is a reasonable target. I wanted to enjoy reading without stressing out about missing my target

  2. I mixed heavy topics with easy-to-read books, like SF and fantasy

  3. I moved from hardcover to eBooks and then audiobooks to get access to more titles without carrying the book weight

  4. I made it a priority to fill in empty time slots with reading or listening to audiobooks. For instance, I would make time to read during holidays (either in the morning, on the beach or in the evening, before going to bed), I would read in the metro, or while

  5. I tried making lists of the books I planned on reading and assigning them by month, but that didn’t work. Micro-management isn’t my thing at all

  6. I don’t like carrying books after myself so that didn’t work very well when it came to hardcovers. I usually walk a lot and use public transportation and my bag always features at least 3 kg

  7. I used to read multiple books at the same time. That strategy did not work this time. Juggling multiple things at the same time, it was hard to remember and focus on 5 books at the same time. So I went with the small steps strategy and focused on reading one book at a time

  8. I thought about sharing my 2018 book challenge from the early stages to help make me more accountable, but I was so worried about failing the challenge that I decided to keep that news for after achieving my objective

  9. I stopped buying books in bulk and browsing book stores. Except for audiobooks, where I already had a wishlist, I stopped buying new books. And that was amazing. Less clutter, less options to draw my eye

  10. I tried allocating a dedicated time slot, but it didn’t work for me. I am still not able to discipline myself to follow through a minutious schedule

  11. I read in sprints, I read in bulk. I tried to read as much as I could in the time slots I had available

  12. I did not put mandatory titles on my book list. I honestly went with anything I felt like reading from Seth Godin’s awesome Tribe book to a free SF saga I found on Google Play Books

  13. I could not read a specific no. of pages each day. I tried, but failed miserably. I know it’s takes about two to three weeks of doing a specific task every day to form a new habit. I tried that with other things and it worked. Not with reading though

The best books of the year

Remember how I told you I mixed easy reading with serious topics? Well it shouldn’t be any surprise the serious books were the ones that had stuck with me.

Damn Good Advice (for people with talent) by George Lois

I read this one in two hours that’s how bewitched I was with George Lois’ beautiful storytelling. This book is a glossary of advertising and branding lessons, as well as anecdotes and inspiration to help entrepreneurs, freelancers and whomever wants to achieve success. And it is coming from a man who is oftentimes referred to as the original Mad Man of Madison Avenue.

The man ran two ad agencies and designed some of the most creative and out-of-the-box ad campaigns. He made MTV widespread popular with his “I Want My MTV” campaign, he came up with a completely new marketing category and made it sound appealing (Gourmet Frozen Foods sold under the brand name Lean Cuisine), he made Tommy Hilfiger instantaneously famous with one huge billboard. There’s a lot more and he mentions of them in this book.


Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin

This one is a fascinating book. It points to an anti-trend in today’s digital world and it appeals to everyone, not just to the marketing professional or your everyday CEO.

This book invites anybody to show up and share their ideas and values and to own up their worth in front of their groups, aka tribes. It talks about leadership and human connection.

The anti-trend I’m talking about is going against the easy, floozy content and focus on high value content that connects people within existing tribes and helps them get bigger and stronger. Whether it’s a mass political rally or an international movement for a plastic-free world, the internet provides the easy-to-access platform, but it is up to the leaders to share stories and ideas that inspires tribes into taking action and enact change. Truth is that we do need more good people to step up and accept their role as a leader, to help inspire and empower tribes (communities).


The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night At A Time by Arianna Huffington

This was the first book I read this year. I read it out of necessity. I had some big issues with my sleep habits - not getting enough, struggling to fall asleep and/or sleeping very poorly. Sometimes, it was all of that at the same time. I was exhausted all the time, unhappy and depressed. I wrote all about it in this Entrepreneur Journal. This book was one of the things that helped me break the habit. It wasn’t the only thing. It did take me a couple of weeks before I had achieved my first good night of sleep.

The book does not hold the secret key to curing insomnia. It does however feature a few coping strategies, a lot of stories and stats. The stories hit home with me. I knew I had a problem, but I didn’t realize how much I had already accepted poor sleep or less sleep as a reality of modern life.

As Arianna Huffington says, “we are in the midst of a sleep deprivation crisis, with profound consequences to our health, our job performance, our relationships and our happiness. What we need is nothing short of a sleep revolution: only by renewing our relationship with sleep can we take back control of our lives”.

And it wasn’t easy to acknowledge or break through the pattern. It was something that was so deeply rooted in my belief of what it took to be productive, a go-getter entrepreneur, a modern woman etc that it had me confronting my beliefs and actively changing how I imagined my future going forward.

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