6 Ideas to Help You Rediscover the Joy of Reading

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Most of us would hesitate to admit that we are not reading (or not reading nearly enough). There is an unspoken pressure to do so — with so many messages that tell us that more books is, well, just more. I do a fair share of my reading on-line, in the form of articles. However, my interactions with books has fallen sharply over the last few years. Simply put, there are things that stand in the way.

Here are a few quick suggestions concerning the elements that may require our attention. Hopefully, one or two, may help.

  • Acknowledge that less, can be more. A slim book stack doesn’t signal an issue, unless you make it one. Digesting fewer books on productivity, for example — yet actually applying what you’ve learned — is preferable to tearing through multiple books simply for the sake of it. Speed reading, isn’t everyone’s speed. Remember that.
  • Set a reasonable goal to reconnect. Utilize the Pomodoro technique (25 minutes) or James Clear’s page target (20 pages a day). Limit the pressure.
  • Consider the subject. If your life or work could be characterized as heavy or stressful and you have the inclination toward engaging with more heavy topics as reading material, more power to you. However, I’ll wager that a change of “mental scenery” could make reading more approachable. While many would poo-poo a pure fiction series such as Bridgerton — or a even a light memoir — this might be what is necessary to move you back into the fold. (More fiction picks below. See our book list as well.) Sometimes Jane Eyre or the inner workings of our economy, just isn’t what you need.
  • A personal book nook. Where you read is an integral part of rediscovering a love for books. Find that location that is comfortable, quiet and somewhat free of interruptions.
  • A time for reading. Daily rituals matter. Designating a time for reading, will help you fall into the habit of opening a book. Remember to keep your latest read in a place where it won’t be overlooked. Hopefully, the cover alone will remind you of what you read last and help you to anticipate the next pages.
  • The eyes have it. Tired or stressed eyes, can deter you from engaging with a book for pleasure. If you require glasses to read close-up for any length of time, remember to be certain that your prescription is up to date. Because of the pandemic, many of us haven’t rounded back to have our eyes checked.

Do you have a tip for someone who has lost their way, reading-wise? Share it in comments.

More: Here is a complete guide to fictional best seller’s from Rachael at The Booklist Queen.

Live.Work.Think.Play shares observations concerning a wide array of topics from founding a company — to the perfect gift. It is designed to share lessons learned from a variety of perspectives.


A Kinder Take on New Year’s Resolutions Using Positive Psychology

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We all engage in goal setting.

Historically, we do more of this as we approach the New Year. I like to look at resolutions as wolf-like goals, but in sheep’s clothing. They are every bit as challenging to accomplish (perhaps, more so); but often vague & unstructured. As we’ve discussed previously, goals can help or hurt us — depending on their inherent ability to energize us. As a workplace strategist, I’ve often advised clients to refine or even lose goals that no longer serve them. Why? Goals can actually let us down and fail to direct our behavior in a meaningful way.

Resolutions often fall prey to this same malaise. So, I’m wondering — can we craft resolutions that are better for us?

One promising strategy, is to apply what we already know about positive psychology to the process. With roots in humanistic psychology, positive psychology theorizes that we have the power to re-frame our life experiences to help us become more positive and productive.

Goals & resolutions could stand some re-framing right now. So, let’s pursue this thread.

Consider the following passage:

“Positive psychology is…a call for psychological science and practice to be as concerned with strength as with weakness; as interested in building the best things in life as in repairing the worst; and as concerned with making the lives of normal people fulfilling as with healing pathology,” – Christopher Peterson

We could re-cast resolutions (and goals in general) with a nod toward what has gone right and not wrong. As we look toward the future, we might recognize what has worked over the past year — taking the time to remind ourselves of what we have accomplished. To acknowledge all of the positive steps we have forged, even if the end-state has not been reached. This might provide the fuel that we need to protect energy and build resilience.

So — ask yourself: What has brought you some measure of accomplishment recently? Have you overlooked some of the good? Have you cast a shadow over the small successes?

We should take a second look and consider that sustaining energy requires that we actively acknowledge all of our effort. That we acknowledge how small steps have power and can prove instrumental. That we make progress in ways that are often subtle, yet foundational.

Step 1.

Carefully consider a goal or resolution — and take a second look at what you have done to achieve it. Offer yourself credit, for your efforts. (If this a new resolution for 2021, you can jump to Step 2).

  • Draft a list of all of the steps already taken.
  • Do not apply a value judgement as grounds for inclusion.
  • Be sure your list is complete. All steps are progress. No step too small.
  • Now, what was obviously successful?
  • What steps may not have been entirely successful, yet had real value, after a second look? Why?
  • What have you learned from detours, failures or disappointments?
  • How have you managed to actively recover and continue to move forward? (This is also a success.)
  • How did the acquired knowledge in general, inform your journey?

Step 2

Craft behaviorally-anchored steps for the future which build upon progress noted in Step 1. Be sure to integrate what you have learned from previous highs and lows. If this is a new goal or resolution, try to improve upon any broad sweeping statements such as “be healthier” or “becoming an influencer”. Be specific. Think of yourself actively engaging in goal-directed behavior.

  • What are you actually doing?
  • What are the specific steps you will take?
  • Describe these steps. Verbs should figure prominently in your plan: reading, seeking, calling, contacting, developing, etc.
  • Add specificity to every action.

For example, if your broader resolution is “becoming an influencer” — you should note all discrete steps that may contribute to success, applying the specificity rule. For example: ” I will submit 2 pitches a week, to these 4 media outlets for potential articles/posts.”

Consider the following as positive steps, which are often overlooked.

  • Communication Channels. Establishing information networks to support your journey (joining a group, seeking guidance from a professional, engaging with social media).
  • Strategy preparation. Engaging with books, podcasts & articles to explore strategies.
  • The Deep Work. Taking steps to shift your outlook or mindset to support your journey.
  • The Everyday Work. Aligning your goal/resolution with specific habits or daily rituals.

Remember that progress is often synonymous with a collection of small steps — which occur with little fanfare. (I’ve lived this. In 2010, I made a resolution to establish myself as a work life write writer. It was pain-staking, but I tried to revel in the small successes.)

It may be high time — to offer those steps the glory they deserve.

Live.Work.Think.Play shares observations concerning a wide array of topics from founding a company — to the perfect gift. It is designed to share lessons learned from a variety of perspectives.