We talked about procrasti-learning in various articles on this website. It’s such an easy and tricky trap to fall into, because it makes you feel productive, and like you’re really understanding and learning more about the topic every day when it’s not the case at all.
In school, we are taught that learning means knowing something. But in reality, to get any sort of result, you need to practice what you’re learning and see how it works out for you. Just because something makes sense on the paper doesn’t mean it’s gonna make sense in your everyday life. There are a million mistakes and setbacks and issues you’re not even considering right now, and how could you?
This is probably one of the biggest lessons I had to learn the hard way in the past two years: you don’t know what you don’t know. Books alone won’t solve all your life problems, they are neutral tools. It’s what you choose to do with those tools that determines whether you’re able to change your life for the better or not.
And this is what we’re discussing today: how to read books in a way that’s beneficial for your life because it helps you improve and reach your goals, instead of just feeling that in your mind.
My Full Method To Read Books
Crete an index at the beginning of the book, then pick some colors and give each a specific job or role. I’ll give you my personal system as an example.
I use green to highlight all the journaling exercises I’d like to get back to later.
Doing the exercises suggested is one of the things people rarely get to. Because it’s just so easy to keep reading instead of stopping to journal and meditate on it. We assume we know what we’re thinking, but when you sit down with your thoughts and try to articulate them, the answers you give might actually surprise you. And some of those unexpected answers can be breakthroughs, even life-changing ones.
Another thing I find helpful is writing the date near the journaling exercises so that I know which ones I have done already.
I use blue for quotes that I enjoy and would like to read again when flipping through the pages in a couple of months.
Pink is for book recommendations.
Very often books suggest other books, that are somewhat related to them or to one specific area that the author doesn’t have the time to get into.
Finally, orange is for to-dos.
I don’t take every single action a book tells me to, and I wouldn’t suggest you do it either. It would be extremely overwhelming, and even counterproductive, especially if you’re been struggling with procrasti-learning for a while. It takes time to change old habits. So if you can just pick one single action and apply it, that’d be great already. Schedule it in your calendar and give yourself a pat on the back.
You can also use the index to take note of some terms and particular explanations you step into.
The Most Common Mistakes:
Here are the most common mistakes you might be making when reading books.
#1. Reading Bad Books Until the Very Last Page
You have every right to skip parts. If you’re reading a book and you get into a part you’re not particularly interested in because you don’t find it relevant, just skip it. You don’t even have to read the whole book, you don’t have to finish it. If you think about what we already said, true learning can only be achieved through action and experience so it wouldn’t make sense to read a part you’re not interested in right now just to finish the book. Why would you read something you can’t immediately put into practice?
#2. Setting Out a Whole Hour to Read — OR NOTHING
Once again, taking action — even when small — is still better than any form of procrasti-learning. 5 minutes of reading followed by 5 minutes of journaling can take you a long way. And they’re still better than nothing.
#3. Waiting For The “Perfect Recommendation”
There are acclaimed best-sellers on basically every topic you can think of, so it’s okay to feel overwhelmed with choices. To make it easier, keep this thought dear to your heart: any book is better than not reading. Also, as we already mentioned, if it turns out to be a bad book you can always not finish it and move on to the next.
I’m available in the comments section down below to answer any other question you might have or listen to your thoughts, goals and ideas, so feel free to share!
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