It may look counterintuitive, but absorbing information through old-fashioned books gives the human brain a break.
Imagine being the founder of not just one but two companies focused on books and not locating the time to learn any. That’s the problem that Hugh McGuire, founder of LibriVox and Pressbooks, found himself in a couple of years ago. Like a lot of us, he was battling an onslaught of digital information, and his beloved paperbacks were collecting dust. After some time, though, he realized he sorely missed the peace and quiet he used to invest with a book at hand. He also realized that he was tired constantly, and struggling to target atlanta divorce attorneys area of life.
Writing for Harvard Business Review , he explained:
“I was distracted when at the job, distracted when with friends and family, constantly tired, irritable, and always swimming against a wash of ambient stress induced by my constant itch for digital information. My stress had an electric feel to it, as though it had been made up of the extremely bits and bytes on my screens.”
He discovered that a slower type of information, books, was the antidote to his information overload. So he made them part of his routine again. According to McGuire, “Reading books again has given me additional time to reflect, to believe, and has increased both my focus and the creative mental space to resolve work problems.”
As any entrepreneur will let you know, problem-solving is crucial for launching or owning a business. But so is giving our busy brains an escape, and books help with that too. According to neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, focused reading uses about 42 calories each hour, whereas absorbing new information (e.g., scanning Twitter or the news) burns around 65 calories each hour.
Research has discovered that reading novels improves our brain functions on a number of levels, including the capability to put yourself in another person’s shoes and flex your imagination. In addition, it boosts our innovative thinking skills. Take it from Elon Musk, arguably the most innovative minds of our time. He’s said that growing up, he spent a lot more than 10 hours a day pouring through science fiction novels. In today’s rapidly changing world, innovation is essential for any business to remain competitive.
Reading is the foremost, not to mention easy and simple, way to shore up our creative thinking and present our brains a break from digital overload – which, according to a 2019 Workplace Productivity Report, over fifty percent of the workforce experiences. Knowing that, here are some approaches for making quality reading time part of your day to day routine.
It appears simple, but detaching from our phones and tablets is often easier in theory. New information – just like the ping of a fresh DM or refreshing our Twitter feed – triggers the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine inside our brains.
In addition, our devices are designed to be addictive: Just ask a slew of former Silicon Valley big wigs, like Google’s former in-house ethicist, Tristan Harris, who’ve become whistleblowers for the addictive and unhealthy nature of our phones. Even the guy who literally wrote the book on getting people addicted – Nir Eyal, writer of “Hooked: Developing Habit-Forming Products” – did a 180°. Recently, he wrote a book with the contrary sentiment of his former title: “Indistractable: How exactly to Control Your Attention and Choose YOUR DAILY LIFE.” It’s helpful information to freeing folks from the pull of their devices.
Say what you would about Eyal’s flip-flopping, his publication includes smart tips for keeping your attention: like don’t go out on Slack, limit meetings to just one single laptop, and keep your phone on silent. I love to go one step further by putting my phone completely out of sight – in a drawer and even another room – when I want uninterrupted focus time.
It’s impossible to concentrate and fully immerse yourself in a book when you’re constantly checking your messages. So stick to the old adage: out of sight, out of mind.
Low Productivity? You might need a Digital Detox.
As CEO of my online form company, I don’t have uninterrupted hours every day to dedicate to reading. But as Wharton professor Adam Grant writes, “Leaders who don’t have time to learn are leaders who don’t make time to understand.”
If the most successful entrepreneurs have the ability to find the time, I could, too. Sometimes, which means being truly a little thrifty: like reading in a nutshell bursts during the day – on the path to work or waiting in line at the restaurant. Or, rather than zoning out with Netflix before bed, try squeezing in a few chapters.
What’s more, research has discovered that we retain more info when we learn in a nutshell, spaced-out intervals, instead of trying to cram everything in simultaneously.
If you’re struggling to concentrate or simply having an off-day, the Pomodoro Technique could be impressive. It entails setting a timer for 25 minutes, investing in concentrating during that time frame, then giving yourself 5 minutes to accomplish anything – grab a snack, have a quick stroll or another thing non-work-related. Once you’ve completed four “pomodoros,” you can provide yourself an extended break.
Even when you only do a couple of pomodoros, you’ll be surprised at the way the time flies.
Reading One Book weekly Won’t CAUSE YOU TO Successful
It’s no real surprise that in the event that you choose something you genuinely enjoy, you’ll become more likely to continue with it. Plus, fully immersing yourself in a single captivating book offers you a lot more than speeding through twelve books while your brain wanders elsewhere. Only once we’re fully absorbed can we reach that priceless state of flow: the “optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best.”
Colleagues often tell me that it’s too difficult or time-consuming to find great books. True enough, there are a large number of titles from which to choose. That’s why I would recommend delegating the legwork. See who your preferred authors or experts are reading. You can puruse Adam Grant’s favorite leadership books or author Steven Pinker’s ten titles he’d try a desert island. I also like using What MUST I Read Next, a website that runs on the huge database to provide recommendations predicated on books you’ve already enjoyed.
To put it simply: For productive, intelligent leaders, reading books generally is the oldest trick in the book. It offers your brain an opportunity to recharge and absorb new information, and there is no hacking the right path out that.
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