I don’t make resolutions (click here for all the details). I don’t like the precedent that self-reflection is a once-a-year activity. Yuck. You should take the time to reflect throughout the year. Despite my aversion to New Years resolutions, I did spend some time reflecting on the prior year and that’s when I realized I read very, very few books last year. Like maybe four or five.
One of those, a book on de-cluttering, I actually put to some good use:
Epic de-cluttering today. I started with 226 items of clothing (not including shoes or accessories) and whittled it down to 134. I have 4 bags of clothing I’m giving away. Feels good to actually have some empty shelves in my closet! #minimalism #clutterbegone
The fact that I read less than four books the entire year makes me sad. I love books so much that I have a page on my website that highlights some of my favorite books.
How did I go from 40+ books a year to less than 5?
Life kind of happened:
- I moved and my new home is a bit of a fixer upper. .
- I live much closer to friends and family, which means I have a pretty active social calendar.
- After a hiatus I took up the violin again.
- Social media, TV, Social Media, etc.
I am OK with the first three on that list. It’s the last bullet point that bothers me: TV and social media. Those are two HUGE distractions in my life. Part of it is because there are so many damn good TV shows out there. The other problem is that its very easy, thanks to smartphones, to get a fix of both of these: stream the latest to my phone or iPad or spend a “few minutes” checking out the latest on Facebook and Twitter.
Social media is a great tool, its helped me connect with people all over the world and grow my blog audience. But its also very surface. Twitter and Instagram are not the best places to learn about complex issues. They are great for connecting but at some point, you have to watch a video that’s longer than 30 seconds, pickup a long form article that may take 15 minutes to read or pick up a book to get past the surface, click-bait information.
Its too easy to settle for click-bait headlines to tell us the news of the world or the latest trends in business. To be informed leaders in our workplace and community we have to get past the surface.
The Good News
No. I’m not giving up social media. I’m going to utilize something called will power to get back in the swing of reading books.
That’s why I’m pledging to read at least one book a month. It can be fiction or non-fiction or “literature” (War & Peace? The Brothers Karamazov?). Regardless the genre, I’m reading one book a month.
This month, I’m reading The Big Sort, its all about shifting demographics in America and our widening political disparities. Although published in 2008, considering the outcome of the last election, I think its still relevant. For those of you who despise reading, you can check out audio books from many public library systems and even sign up for unlimited audio books from Audible
And how am I cutting back on the distractions? It’s called the “Do Not Disturb” option on your phone and I removed all social media apps from my home screen:
If you are struggling to cut back on the distractions, check out this great article, which includes some helpful tips on getting your attention back.
What about you? Have you read any good books lately? Anything you recommend? Let me know in the comments section!
Also published on Medium.