Thursday, May 22, 2008

10 Ways to Conquer Your Reading Pile

Is your reading pile getting so high that you can barely see over it? If so, it's time to conquer that pile. Here are 10 simple ways to do so:

HIGHLIGHT IT. When reading newspapers and magazines, read with a highlighter. Quickly skim through the publication, scanning each page and highlighting all headlines that are of interest to you. Then, go back and read only those highlighted articles.

TEAR IT OUT. If you don't have time right now to read those articles that you highlight, you may want to tear out the pages and schedule a time to read them later on. This way, you don't have to go through the entire publication again to determine what it was that you wanted to read. Plus, you won't be saving unnecessary newspaper and magazine clutter.

USE INDEX CARDS. When reading a book, use an index card to remember sections that you would like to reference later or share with someone else. On your index card, write down the page number, the area of the page (T=Top, M=Middle, B=Bottom) and one or two words to help you remember what it was that interested you. It's a waste of time to have to look through the entire book again to find something.

SPEED READ. If you have an enormous volume of information that you need to keep up with, you may want to consider taking a speed reading class. Some local universities offer speed reading courses. Use the phone book and/or the Web to locate classes in your area. Or you can choose to do it on your own, either by buying a book or borrowing one from your library.

SCHEDULE TIME TO READ. Schedule a specific date and time to read. Possibly dedicate 15 minutes a day to read, and indicate this appointment on your calendar. Keep that appointment with yourself, just like any other. In doing so, reading will soon become part of your daily routine.

AVOID CLUTTER. Since newspapers contain current events, those that are more than a day or two old generally contain old news. Magazines have a 1-2 month shelf life. Recycle old issues, or donate them to your library.

CREATE A 'TO READ' FILE. Create a TO READ file folder or basket to store all of your reading material. It's much easier to determine how much it is that you have to read, when everything is stored in one location, instead of all over your office or home.

BE REALISTIC. If your TO READ pile is beginning to look like a mountain, then you may be trying to bite off more than you can chew. Most people are over-ambitious when it comes to deciding how much time they can realistically dedicate to reading. Don't allow your reading pile to go over the edge of your reading basket. If it does, then it's time to weed it out.

BRING IT WITH YOU. If you're planning on spending your day out, put your day's reading materials into a file folder. Then, whenever you have the opportunity during the day, your reading material will be easily accessible. Some opportune times to read are while waiting in someone's office for an appointment, while riding on the train or bus, or when waiting in line at a check out counter.

SET REALISTIC READING GOALS. If you're trying to get through a book, setting a goal of reading a chapter a day may help. If chapters are really long, set your goal by a certain number of pages. For instance, you may read 10 pages per day. Determine the date you'd like to finish the book or periodical, and then work backwards to determine how many pages you must read per day in order to meet your deadline.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi Busy Mom!
I too am a busy mom but also a speed reading expert. I LOVE your tips as they are very close to what I recommend. If any of your readers are really serious about learning how to speed read, I'd like to let them know about my new book coming out in a few weeks called "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Speed Reading." It is written very simply with lots of exercises for self-progress checking. Thanks for posting your tips!
Abby Marks Beale

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