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Getting Reading Done

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  • Getting Reading Done

    I'm really struggling with finding the best way to get reading done. If I'm remembering GTD correctly, the recommended way to handle reading is to put it in a reading folder that you carry with you and use those odd moments before meetings to get your reading done.

    This works fine for discretionary reading, but doesn't work well for reading I must do (ie., reports that must be read and commented on). I tend to grow numb to my reading folder and forget that there is something in there I need to address. I've found that I need to treat that sort of reading just like any other task or project and create a NA for it.

    I'd like to find a more systematic way to get reading I'd LIKE to do (though not under obligation to do) done.

    Any ideas on what you've found to work well?

    Alicia

  • #2
    Define two new categories

    Somebody in the forum advised to define 3 new categories. I have two in my outlook/palm tasks:
    !read_P: this is for all project relevant reading (these are tasks)
    !read_S: these are interesting papers, books I can read when I have finished the above category (or when I am too tired...).
    The papers are in a drawer and as soon as I leave my office I take some of the papers with me for reading while commuting.
    I also have books in these categories with as action Read Chapter x from Book so and so

    (The third category was !read_Y (yunk), but this one is out of necessity always empty, so I deleted it...)

    The names of the categories are with an exclamation mark at the beginning, so they will appear almost on top.

    Renger

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    • #3
      Organizing Reading Demands

      I read somewhere that if you have to get through an awful lot of reading, you can prioritise this as follows. You estimate the importance of the article or book by deciding how much you would be prepared to pay to read it. However, if you would pay the same to read a 20-page paper and a 200-page book, then your time is better spent reading the paper. So you calculate your priorities by dividing the price your willing to pay by the length of the book or paper.

      This is an excerpt from a software app use recomendation I read somewhere.
      Hope it helps

      George

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      • #4
        I find that reading is a very airy, hard-to-define activity. Itís like walking. I can read as easily as I can walk. I read an e-mail that I receive to find out what it is about. I donít consider the reading to be a separate activity. Reading in this case is like looking through a window to see whatís in the other side.

        In just the same way, I will go talk to Fred. I donít consider the walking to Fred to be a separate activity.

        The trouble is, when the reading material becomes bigger Ė a report or book rather than an e-mail; or when the walk becomes longer Ė Fred is in a different building Ė then the invisible acts of reading and walking start to have weight and presence.

        My problem is that I donít make the transition in my thinking: I still see reading as something that just happens. As a teenager I read lots of books. I still cannot accept that I donít now have the lumps of free time that I used to, and so my unread books pile is growing.

        What I have to accept is that reading is NOT going to kinda happen by itself while Iím doing something else at the same time. I used to read in bed but now Iím too tired at nights; I used to read on the bus but now I drive, I used to read at lunch time, but now my lunch ďhourĒ is shrinking on all sides like a small iceberg Ö.

        Bottom line, I have to treat it like any other scheduled activity. Even as I say this, part of me protests that reading is somehow too light weight an activity to deserve quality time, even if the material is an important work related item. I feel that my time would be better spent interacting with colleagues on current projects, meeting my boss, networking with potential customers etc. Reading still has the aura of leisure, self indulgence, isolation, and relaxed inactivity about it. I need to promote reading way up the ladder, because in an office based environment information is the life-blood.

        Dave

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Busydave
          What I have to accept is that reading is NOT going to kinda happen by itself while Iím doing something else at the same time. I used to read in bed but now Iím too tired at nights; I used to read on the bus but now I drive, I used to read at lunch time, but now my lunch ďhourĒ is shrinking on all sides like a small iceberg Ö.Dave
          That could just as well have been written by me. I am trying to change that, though. I do have books beside the bed, and I try to read at least two (yeah, that's really "two") pages before I go to sleep. I read those two pages sitting up because when my head hits the pillow, I'm out like a light. Even with a regular 8 hours a night.

          I also keep a couple of books at my desk (one is the new paperback GTD), and I allow 15 minutes of my lunch hour for reading. Most of my reading is done on weekends. About once a month, I indulge myself and just read until I WANT to stop.

          Originally posted by busydave
          I need to promote reading way up the ladder, because in an office based environment information is the life-blood.
          Life-blood. Yes, but not just in the office. My stack of books relates to work, spirituality, exercise, quilting, music -- and on, and on, and on.

          Carolyn

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ceehjay
            Life-blood. Yes, but not just in the office. My stack of books relates to work, spirituality, exercise, quilting, music -- and on, and on, and on.

            Carolyn
            Carolyn, same goes for me. I was trying to keep my post focussed on work related reading, but the really heart breaking stuff is not being able to get near the reading that is just for me.

            Dave

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            • #7
              I have considered and reconsidered and reconsidered again using speed-reading as a way to get more personal reading done.

              In work it is risky Ė (devil-in-the-detail etc) Ė and in reading literature you often just want to slow down and relish the use of language.

              Some people have narrowed down speed reading to being purely a matter of eye-ball control. I other words, keep the eyes moving forwards, and have faith in the ability of your brain to capture the information in one sweep.

              Iím not talking about the 2000 word per minute freaks who read War and Peace in the eighteen minute delay before a meeting starts. Rather, Iím talking about a firm, positive, pro-active approach that is the equivalent of being physically fit, (like when you start to notice the spring in your step a few days into a fitness program).

              My resistance to really getting good at speed reading is physical (laziness). For me, thatís conclusive proof that itís like any other fitness program Ė you just have to get going and do it. Iíd like to think I could glide through a chapter or two with ease in the evenings Ö

              Dave

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              • #8
                Reading

                Reading is just one way (a great way) to take in info - I try to listen to alot of books to. I'm then able to determine if I want to purchase the book so I have a text resource.

                audible.com is a good source, but you have to use their mp3 player which I'm not crazy about.

                mp3motivator.com is another.

                I'd like to know a good standard mp3 resource for more books though.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I recently read an article by David Allen about managing reading material, basically it was about categorizing reading material, "FYI" reading, must-read, etc. Sorry I don't remember the details and I seem to have lost the link. I'll try to find it...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Reading

                    Originally posted by DM
                    Reading is just one way (a great way) to take in info - I try to listen to alot of books to. I'm then able to determine if I want to purchase the book so I have a text resource.

                    audible.com is a good source, but you have to use their mp3 player which I'm not crazy about.

                    mp3motivator.com is another.

                    I'd like to know a good standard mp3 resource for more books though.
                    Not true. Audible offers a Palm app (for the OS 5 Palm models and Sony Clies) and you can also use Windows Media Player or Microsoft Reader on your PC. Finally, if you have an iPod, Audible works great with the iTunes Music Store and software.

                    I swear by Audible. This is how I get a lot of my "reading done". I listent ot the Wall St. Journal every morning while working out and making coffee, etc. and am currently finishing Tom Peter's "Re-Imagine". "Enders Game" is next - a supposedly great Sci Fi book I have not been able to find time to read.

                    Another way I've found to get more reading done is using Palm Reader on my Clie. While there's a lot more fiction tha non-fiction available, it's always with me and I can get a few pages in while waiting on line at the bank or grocery store. As a bonus, I can read in bed at night without disturbing my wife.

                    Finally, I've just gotten a copy of a book called "Power Reading" by Rick Ostrov. One of my co-workers reports that she has doubled her reading speed and significantly improved her comprehension in a month. And no, she's not one of those war-and-peace-in-eighteen-minutes freaks

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Dave and Carolyn - Thank you so much for nicely articulating what I'm struggling with. Reading is vital both on a personal and professional level, yet it seems indulgant and it is hard for me to accept that I can't so easily fit it into my life like I once used to do.

                      Perhaps the bitter pill that I need to swallow is that I need to carefully think about and select what I take on to read - accept the fact that I have limited time, make a commitment to use the time that I DO have (rather than mourning over the time I feel I should have but don't) and then make the best possible choices within my limitations.

                      And must read items have to be treated just like any other task.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I haven't been able to locate David Allen's article, it was called

                        Read & Review Material - How to manage it
                        "How do I deal with all the things I tell myself I want to read?!"

                        and was in Tips and Tools. I wrote to the email address on the contact page and I'll post their reply.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Getting Reading done

                          I just finished reading, "Reading Lolita in Terhan" It's not light reading and sometimes it drags a little, but I hope I will nver read literature or walk into a book store to browse among thousands of books without a feeling of graditude for being able to do it.
                          When you read what they went through to read it makes our excuses look so lame.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            There is an old trick from the 60s time management guru Alan Lakin: Learn to read a book like a newspaper.

                            You don't read every word of your newspaper. You skim over it, lingering over those sections that interest you. One can read a book like that too-highlighting those sections where you might wish to return to in order to mine specific information.

                            Interestingly, comprehension doesn't suffer that much. If you really had to recall some specific information you read in a book you would not trust your memory--you'd pull the book and re-examine the passages and information that are relevant. So too if you have read the book like a newspaper. You'd skim back to your highlight and give that section a more careful read.

                            Some people who do this index the passages they've highlighted by topic, often keeping a handwritten index inside the back cover of the volume.

                            Scot Giles

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by CSGiles
                              There is an old trick from the 60s time management guru Alan Lakin: Learn to read a book like a newspaper.

                              You don't read every word of your newspaper. You skim over it, lingering over those sections that interest you. One can read a book like that too-highlighting those sections where you might wish to return to in order to mine specific information.
                              I read lots of work stuff that way, but it doesn't work for most of the Buddhist literature I read. Or for good fiction. As Dave said, sometimes you just want to slow down and relish the use of language.

                              Carolyn

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