How do you work reading into your daily/weekly/monthly routine?


I have a basket in my office that I dump articles, business magazines, long e-mails into. I don’t want my desk to get all cluttered up with stuff and there doesn’t seem to be an obvious time to tackle the reading I need to do. Once or twice, I’ve grabbed the basket, curled up on my LoveSac (I’ve been blessed with great office space) and worked my way through it. But now the basket is starting to get unmanageable.

In my role, I really need to be up to date in what is going on in the business world, in marketing, in high tech, in staffing. So the reading is important, but always seems to be the last thing on my list.

Before I ask the question, let me say this:

#1: I’m pretty good about getting to most of my online reading quickly. I print out longer articles and mails and that’s not likely to change. Those are the ones that go into the basket.

#2: I’m not going to take it home with me (unless it’s a work from home day). I’m all for staying late at work when I need to in order to get stuff done. But it’s important to me to create a separation between my work and my home life.

#3: It’s too big of a pile to take on a plane with me…I’ve already thought about that.

What should I do? How do you make time for reading if it’s part of your job?

Comments (8)

  1. The only way that I get my reading done is to schedule the time to do so in Outlook, and mark my time as Busy so that other people don’t try to schedule me in a meeting during that time. I do the same thing with my daily planning ritual, but in the case of reading it’s generally 3 hours a week or so, depending on the size of the pile.

  2. robdelacruz says:

    I try to fit the reading in small time gaps, TV commercials, in the bathroom, while waiting for people or buses, etc. But usually that’s not enough so it helps to reserve a ‘day of reading’, spend up a whole Saturday holed up somewhere to catch up on reading, no silver bullet.

  3. Tobin Titus says:

    Mostly it’s about prioritizing. Look at what you know about, and what you don’t know about. Figure out what is important to know. If you are deficient in a skill set, set aside at least a half hour a day to read on that topic until you are an expert. Don’t just start reading in an unorganized fashion or you’ll never reach your goal — you’ll never HAVE a goal. Without trying to plug my blog too much, check out an article I just wrote on resume building. Some of it applies to directing your research:

    http://dotnetjunkies.com/WebLog/tituswave/archive/2004/08/11/21747.aspx

  4. I have the same issue. I get between 20 and 30 monthly magazines and trade rags. More are being published as PDF and emailed so that helps. Here are some ideas I use.

    1. Set aside Sunday evening between 10PM and midnight to read everything from the week before. Sunday is usually calm and relaxing. I also plan out my next week’s schedule.

    2. Use CutePDF Ver. 2.2 (free version — http://www.cutepdf.com/Products/CutePDF/Writer.asp) that is a printer driver and create PDF’s for anything that can be printed. I then store the PDF’s on a USB flash drive. Can then read at home, work or on the road.

    3. I buy as amany books as I can for my Palm in ebook format so I can read anywhere I go. Not for everyone but I like ebooks.

    4. I WANT a TabletPC for all the above. Had to get that out. :)

    5. Also planning a 3 day weekend this Fall to be away by myself to read a few books and think. I am doing this since I have a family with 2 young boys so my house is always chaotic. I thought I would rent a cabin on a lake and just read and think.

  5. Dan Pilone says:

    Without sounding like a commercial, it’s all about the PocketPC (Ipaq in my case). I move anything I can’t look at immediately to the Ipaq to look at later. If I have Adobe Distiller (only at work due to its rediculous price) I just send it to PDF then dump it on my handheld. If I don’t (more often.. ) I either do an offline mobile favorite or convert it with MakePDF or something like that. RepliGo has gotten my attention recently but I haven’t been able to bring myself to spend $30. (RepliGo, if you’re listening I’d be happy to write a review if you sent me a copy.. :) )

    Anyway, I find that once I get it on the handheld time seems to make itself available. I’m sitting in a conference room waiting for someone to get there or riding in a car with a coworker heading to a client site or something like. And (glad this is anonymous… :-p ) there are other times when I’m sitting around and can work in some reading…

  6. I’ve been trying different solutions and here’s one that worked for me.

    Get 2 sets of in-out trays and put them next to each other.

    Look at them like 4 quadrants on a XY plane.

    Y-axis: runs from: (URGENT) to (NOT URGENT)

    X-axis: runs from: (UNIMPORTANT) to (IMPORTANT)

    — this idea is also discussed in 7-habits of HEP

    Now everyday you are going to play a game. During the day, you’ll clean up the top2 quadrants and while leaving for home, you’ll clean up the bottom 2 quadrants.

    All electronic material may be dumped into some logical folders based on the way you think and search for stuff. Whatever is UNIMPORTANT-NOT_URGENT can be dumped into an Archives folder for later search [Information on Demand]. Otherwise, using a content management system is advisable.

    PDA is a good idea but its a question of how much can you store and how comfortable are you in reading on a PDA.

    Hope that helps. How do u rate this idea on a scale of 0-100?

    Thanks

    Gops

    Sridhar Gopaluni

  7. David Yack says:

    While everyone has their own approach – if nothing is "must be read" and all optional keep up with the world material – I would do a 15 minute scan for things you really think you should read – and everything else toss, and start over.

    If you keep the pile growing you will never catch up…when in doubt reboot :)

  8. sankar says:

    Respected sir

    Really your comment is very useful to me……..

    Thanks

    Sankar.P