There are few people who wouldn’t benefit from spending a little more time each day reading a good book. If you want to keep yourself at maximum creative capacity, you have to make sure you are taking in new ideas and thoughts. If you aren’t continually feeding your mind, you’ll eventually find your creative reserves starting to run dry. Continually producing output without taking any input is a good way to burn out.
Here are eight tips that I’ve found help me in my personal reading habits:
- Read books. There is a lot of material available on blogs and other internet sites, but make sure you are taking time to read actual published books. The quality of published materials tends to be much higher and topics are more developed.
- If you can set aside a specific time for some reading, do it. It doesn’t have to be much, but even committing to 15 minutes of reading before you go to bed will make a difference.
- Read outside your field. Don’t get stuck just reading about things related to your work. Sometimes the most productive leaps of imagination will come from reading stuff that doesn’t appear to be related at all to your specialty.
- Keep a book list. Write down what you’ve read and what you want to read.
- Buy used. A used book is usually just as useful as a new one. If you can save money, get the used book. Better yet, use your local library.
- Don’t be afraid to give up. If you are reading a book and you just don’t like it, don’t be afraid to quit and start a different book. There are so many books available, it probably isn’t going to be worth your effort to push through a book that you don’t like. (There are exceptions to this of course, but the mere fact that you’ve started a book is rarely enough justification for forcing yourself to finish it.)
- Take notes. When you find something interesting jot it down. You can write in a notebook or even in the margin of the book, itself. Taking a few moments to pen your thoughts will help you get more out of the reading experience.
- Read for the interaction–not speed. You are reading to let your mind interact with the ideas on the page. If you spend too much time worrying about how fast you are reading, you’ll lessen the benefits of reading. Settle into a reading pace that is appropriate for you and for the reading material. Some things you’ll read fast and some you’ll read slow.