When I grew up, it wasn’t cool to read. These days, every coffee shop is packed with folks that are reading a book while sipping on a latte.
That’s a great shift. I’m also reading more books than ever. But here’s the thing: It’s not about how many books you read, it’s about how much you retain from what you read.
Most people I talk to don’t have a reading strategy. They just pick up something and start reading. I used to be like that. But now, that’s unthinkable to me. Sure, you might read a novel for entertainment.
For the past three years, I’ve been setting a yearly focus for my life. In 2014, I wanted to work abroad and travel as much as I could. In 2015, I wanted to read more than 100 books in a year. And in 2016, I wanted to work out every day of the year.
I’ve done those things. I love setting a yearly focus because it gives you a clear idea of what you want to do with your time. You’ll be surprised what you can do in a year if you put your mind to it.
This year, my focus is to write more books (even tough it’s not going great, I’m still working on that). But at the same time, I also don’t want to stop reading and working out.
Every time I put off a decision, hit the snooze button, skipped the gym, or didn’t complete my tasks because I didn’t feel like it, I always had an explanation for my continual procrastination.
I told myself I was tired. Or that it could wait until tomorrow. Who cares if you put off something, right?
Well, you should care.
Because you’re the one who’s responsible for your life. Too often, we look at productivity tips, apps or tools as the magic answer to our problems. But that also means we allow ourselves to blame external things for our lack of productivity.
How many minutes of undisturbed work do you get done on an average day?
10, 20, maybe 50 minutes? If you think that sounds low, just examine your life. Most of us can’t go undisturbed for more than 10 minutes.
We’re all so connected that it becomes impossible to find time to focus on yourself and your work. Some of us get hundreds of notifications and messages per day.
You find yourself answering a Whatsapp message here, an email there, talk to a friend, and then talk to a colleague on Slack. Most people’s days consist of answering to notifications
In a way, you’re held captive by others.
Just admit it, you’ve thought about it before. Social media is great and all. But you and I both know that it also sucks.
Does this scenario sound familiar?
- It’s late at night, you’re in bed, you dread waking up early tomorrow because you have to go to work, so you grab your smartphone, you open up Instagram (or whatever app you’re addicted to).
- And you start browsing, you go from one picture to the next, you watch some videos, you start feeling bad about your life, because all the other people have fun, and you have to go to work in the morning.
The reason I study productivity is because I’m an unproductive person. I truly am.
I sleep too much. I talk too much. I read too much. I listen to music all day. I watch movies. I buy gadgets that turn me into a zombie.
If it wasn’t for my productivity system, get nothing done. I wouldn’t even write this article. But if you browse social media, all you see is super productive, healthy, and wealthy people. Is that really the case?
I don’t know. I just know this: You can’t be productive 24/7. And a big part of being productive is about getting rid of unproductive habits we all have.