People seem amazed at how much I read. “I could never do that,” is a common response. My favorite: “That is NOT normal.”
Please don’t compare yourself to me or anyone else. That’s unhelpful.
Instead, I encourage you to commit to X pages a day. That’s how you get through significant books that are worthwhile.
20 pages a day times 340 days (I assume you’re not perfect) is 6,800 pages in a year. That’s easily four longer books (few books top 1200 pages) and a batch of shorter books (200-350 pages).
Maybe it’s not pages but minutes. 20 minutes a day is 113 hours over 340 days. I have an acquaintance who burns through Audible books this way in his commute to and from the office.
Please strengthen this by being selective. Skim some material instead of pouring into super-concentrated effort. Use the tactics in Mortimer Adler’s fantastic “How to Read a Book.” Pre-decide that you’ll only work on the best material that’s meaningful for you and skip the trendy/popular “must-reads.”
We over-glamorize the people who can zip through 3 books in a week and underestimate the power of 20 pages a day over years.
Leaders like you can apply this same steady pace approach to many areas in your self-development and organization leadership:
- A few pushups and situps a day, every day
- Take three five-minute breaks in your day to step back and assess the situation, to improve your decision-making
- One networking lunch a week to improve your set of connections and gain insights
- Twenty minutes daily to think about development opportunities for your direct reports
- One hour a week to “put yourself in your customer’s shoes” to gain insights about how to serve them better
- Thirty minutes a week to report on milestones and convey the value your team is delivering to key stakeholders
- One deep discussion a month with a mentor
- Ten minutes a day to plan the most important activities for tomorrow
- Write 500 words a day on your next article or book
Use the steady pace approach, and look forward to being amazed at how much progress you make. This is a sustainable way to get better every day, week, month, and year.