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When could a busy executive do his reading?

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  • When could a busy executive do his reading?

    I'm a very busy executive. I scheduled my day so that my early morning starts with any computer work. Then I have meetings with my staff. Very short lunch. After lunch I scheduled time for customer meetings or unexpected staff meetings. I process at the end of the day (1 hour is scheduled though not always enough ). So the day is scheduled.

    When could a busy executive do his reading: business books and magazines to develop the business, techniques and approaches? Does it worth it at all?

    PS I do my personal reading during my commute as I have a personal driver.

  • #2
    Make a book one of your staff members.

    Originally posted by Fritz58 View Post
    Then I have meetings with my staff.
    Make a book one of your staff members and schedule regular meetings with a book.

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    • #3
      That is too simple I thought of using contexts approach as advised by GTD.

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      • #4
        Same challenge

        Originally posted by Fritz58 View Post
        That is too simple I thought of using contexts approach as advised by GTD.
        I have the same challenge Fritz! I do not know the answer but I can tell you I have tried the context route - even tried @Read-Professional, @Read-Intellectual (for just general stuff I want to learn about) and @Read-Personal. Didn't work really well yet. I just don't make the time for those contexts. So I don't think there is a substitute other than making time in your schedule ... maybe one of those mornings @computer should be split between @computer and @read-professional. Or maybe give one of those commutes to @read-professional instead of @read-personal.

        No point putting things in a context ... if you never get to that context. You've got to make time to get to that context. And you will know best when that time should be.

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        • #5
          In your spare time

          Reading before bed is great and on weekends when you have some time. If you're really busy during the week then trying to squeeze it in is not effective (from my experience). Especially when you want to read business books, self-help, magazines, etc because you need to be able to focus without any interruptions and restraints.

          Try to do it on weekends and before bed. Or, if you want to step it up, go to bed earlier, wake up earlier and read right after breakfast before you do any work.

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          • #6
            When I see my bed I immediately fall asleep...

            Originally posted by AE Thanh View Post
            Reading before bed is great and on weekends when you have some time.
            When I see my bed I immediately fall asleep...

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            • #7
              In a similar problem with professional reading...

              For the time being I'm simply trusting that the critical reading for current projects will get done as the projects advance (at some point they get stuck for lack of reading, so the @Read-critical context does get accessed)... not really ideal, but it works for now ...

              As for non-critical reading to keep myself on top of the novelties occurring in my field, well... I've near on given up on getting any of it done ... at least right now.

              And as for reading in the evening after work : my neurons are so fried by that time that it's not worth the effort (so say nothing of the detrimental effects on my quality of sleep)...

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              • #8
                I'm not sure how easily this would transfer to your corporate culture but I know one lecturer who divides all the papers from the relevant journals between his research students. At the weekly group meeting, they all have to present the highlights from their allocation.

                It works well because all the students stay on top of all the literature and the lecturer gets his reading done for him!

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                • #9
                  Breakfast is a good time to read.

                  I try to get up early and prepare a decent breakfast that sets me up for the day. I can spend up to an hour early in the morning catching up on reading before the kids invade our kitchen getting ready for school.

                  Train was always a good place but I commute by car now to the office.

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                  • #10
                    If it's that important to you then here is what I would do if I were you.

                    I would add to my list of areas of responsibility "business improvement" because that is why you want to read right?

                    To improve your business practices. For example, if you read something in a business book that you could implement in your business that would cut costs, improve efficiency or maybe increase employee retention, etc.

                    The reason I would list that in the areas of responsibility first is so you have a stake in the ground that you can review and be reminded about in the future.

                    Then you are just going to have to schedule in a block of time for it.

                    That is the easy part.

                    The hard part is commiting to that block of time.

                    For me it was the opposite. i was and still am in a way a workaholic. I had to literally block in "fun and relaxation time"

                    It wasn't easy at first keeping up with my commitment to that time but it was important and an area of focus and responsibility that was seriously lacking

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                    • #11
                      pick a time daily or weekly

                      i would say it doesn't matter how much reading you do or when you do it just as long as you schedule it into your day. For example, every Mon, Weds, Fri at 8 pm, you read for 30 mins or whatever the case may be.

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                      • #12
                        Delegating and reframing information

                        Hi Fritz:

                        Not much to add, because the forum responses have been great. Mine is close to cfoley's.

                        In reading your original message, I picked up on "very busy executive", "my staff", "personal driver".

                        I'm not sure which industry you're in, but it appears that you're reading stuff that has not specifically been written for you -- "business books and magazines". The challenge is within the first step of the GTD Workflow Map -- "What is it? Doesn't look like you have time to even decipher the material to figure out if there is any meaning for you that's applicable to your business.

                        I'm taking a leap here, but this is my vision:

                        -All reading material is collected by your staff.
                        -They are responsible for answering, "What is it?" and "Is it actionable?"
                        -They read the stuff for understanding and make a decision if the material is worthy of your time
                        -They get a copy of Dan Roam's "The Back of the Napkin" -- DavidCo staff heard him present at our recent staff meeting and it was great.
                        -Your staff cull the core message of the material down to a drawing, which is presented to you, along with any specific flags within the written material.
                        -You review their offering (really fast) and then decide "What's the Next Action?

                        Ultimately, I think, what you're really paid for is the last piece. Your ultimate 20K Areas of Focus and Responsibility are putting things into action -- from your own ideas or what you've gleaned from outside material.

                        What's fun about this idea I just dreamed up, is that if you decide on a Next Action, based on their work, then (when you delegate projects to them) they've already done the initial thinking and just continue drawing from there. Again, you're ultimately responsible for the integration of the thinking, but they can be responsible for figuring out what to think about.

                        I'm Interested in your thoughts -- I could be way off base, so apologies in advance, but my intentions came from a good place.

                        Regards,

                        Paul

                        Originally posted by Fritz58 View Post
                        I'm a very busy executive. I scheduled my day so that my early morning starts with any computer work. Then I have meetings with my staff. Very short lunch. After lunch I scheduled time for customer meetings or unexpected staff meetings. I process at the end of the day (1 hour is scheduled though not always enough ). So the day is scheduled.

                        When could a busy executive do his reading: business books and magazines to develop the business, techniques and approaches? Does it worth it at all?

                        PS I do my personal reading during my commute as I have a personal driver.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          GetAbstract is also a good way to see if you really want to delve into a business book.

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                          • #14
                            when do to reading

                            I do my reading either on saturday or sunday when the office is closed and I have complete time to keep up with current professional updates.

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                            • #15
                              To read or drink coffee...that is the question!

                              I have a "to read" file. When I get a journal in the mail, I review the contents page. If I like the title, I put a sticky note on the page number, and drop it in my file.
                              Each month I book 1 1/2 hour at a coffee shop. I take my backpackbriefcasethingy and inside it I have a green action file, a yellow reference file and a red recycle/shred file.
                              No phone, no computer, no interruptions. The 90 mins is at the very end of the day, but at the coffee shop it is so relaxing! I rip out the article with the contact name of the author I want to call, and put it in my green action file. When I get back to the office, I empty the action folder into the appropriate context folders (phone calls, someone to delegate this action), file the reference material and shred/recycle.

                              This system has been working for me ever since I emptied a giant pile of "TO READ" over a 12 hour flight. Believe me, I will not ever get THAT behind again.

                              By the time I am done with my TO READ file, the next months journals arrive and I feel a relief that I have space in my drawer for the new stuff.

                              BUT......how does one read the BOOKS?????

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