Imagine being the founder of not one, but two companies devoted to books and can’t find the time to read. This is the situation that Hugh McGuire, founder of LibriVox and Pressbooks, fell into a few years ago. Like many of us, he couldn’t find time to read due to the busy schedule. After a while, she realized that she missed the quiet time she spent with a book in her hand, was always tired and struggled to focus on all areas of life. But he eventually found that books were the antidote to information overload. So he made them part of his routine again.
According to neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, reading a book burns about 42 calories per hour, while reading new information (eg Twitter posts or news headlines, etc.) burns about 65 calories per hour.
So what should we do to recharge our brain while reading a book?
1) Hide your electronic devices.
Although it may seem simple, it is difficult for us to separate from devices such as phones, tablets and computers. Because our devices are designed to be addictive. Even Nir Eyal, literally the man who wrote the book on making people addicted, did a 180° turn. Unlike his old book, he wrote a guide to save people from being sucked into devices. Eyal’s book has smart tips for keeping your attention: don’t hang out on Slack, limit your meetings to just one laptop, and keep your phone on silent. Even leave your phone in a drawer when you want to focus uninterrupted. It’s impossible to concentrate on a book while constantly checking your messages.
2) If you don’t have time, read at short intervals.
As Wharton professor Adam Grant writes:
“Leaders who don’t have time to read are leaders who don’t have time to learn.”
It is possible to read a book instead of watching unnecessary content while going to work, waiting in line at the coffee shop or before going to bed. Also, according to research, we learn more by reading the book in short intervals rather than trying to read the whole book at once. If you’re struggling to concentrate or just to get through a day, the Pomodoro Technique can be quite effective. According to this technique, by setting a timer to 25 minutes, you should concentrate on what you are going to do and then take a break for 5 minutes. After completing the four “pomodoros”, you can give yourself a longer break. Even if you only make one or two pomodoros, you’ll be amazed how time flies.
3) Choose books that appeal to you.
If you choose a book that you really like, it will be easier to follow. Plus, being completely immersed in a book you’ll love will give you much more than just reading a dozen books while your mind wanders elsewhere. Only when we are fully focused can we achieve this invaluable state of flow: “the optimal state of consciousness where we feel we are our best and do our best”.
In short: For productive and intelligent leaders, reading is literally the oldest trick in the book. It gives you a chance to recharge and fill your brain with new information. There is no better way out than this.