Often, we think of reading as a leisurely activity that people who have “free time” engage in when they’re lying on the beach or when they’re curled up by the fireplace. If you’re running a business, you’re probably not one of those people, but you still need to make time to read. Reading is a magnificent way to get out of the rut of merely running your business – and to get on track to growing your business.
Running in Circles
Running a business today can be overwhelming, to say the least. We must stay afloat in a time of information overload, keep up with constant talent development, and do more with less. These challenges have created a work environment that requires us to continuously adapt to ever-changing market demands. Rapid technological developments amplify the need to change and stay ahead of the competition.
In such a fast-paced environment, every single task seems to be the most urgent one. Running a business and dealing with urgent tasks might leave us with no time to focus on growing the business – or growing ourselves, for that matter. To advance, to invent, to evolve, or to strategize, we must hit the “pause” button and find inspiration by acquiring new knowledge.
Reading requires disconnection and concentration. It expands the mind. Reading might inspire you and help you look at what it takes to grow your business. It can help you escape from running laps and wearing yourself out. Reading can help you break free from the pavement, so you can head out on the open road toward the aspirations you had when you first started your company.
How to Fit Reading into Your Schedule
Finding time to read is not as hard as it may seem. You may not be able to simply sit down and breeze through a whole novel in one go, but you can find time to read.
When choosing your reading material, pick something easy that won’t take much time to complete, such as book summaries, articles, or a single chapter of a book. Take advantage of the natural breaks a day offers you: Read on the train to work or on the plane when you travel, or use a coffee break to read a chapter of a book. Audio versions of books or articles help you gain knowledge, too.
Sometimes, you may use your reading time to gain inspiration; at other times, reading might offer you a quick solution when searching for answers. Whatever immediate purpose reading serves, it’s good for your business in the long run.
Assuming you like the work you do, gaining knowledge that helps you get better at it should be enjoyable, so you might choose a book or magazine that relates to your field of expertise. If your work is less fulfilling, reading a novel or a murder mystery story will, at the very least, give you a mental rest to help you feel more refreshed on the job.
However, for those of us who want to both advance and learn, the goal of reading should be “edutainment.” Find books that are engaging and enlightening at the same time. A well-written book or book summary that offers you a pearl of wisdom, sparks your creativity, and puts a skip back into your step is worth an investment of at least 10 to 20 minutes each day.
The best result of taking a break to read is showing up at work bubbling over with inspiration, convinced that you will make a meaningful difference today. We need this energy and positive attitude to grow a business. Reading makes us more creative and helps us believe that new ideas can become reality. Finding time to read is challenging, but if you found the time to finish this article, you can certainly make reading a regular part of your life. In fact, you can’t afford not to.
Michel Koopman is the CEO of getAbstract Inc. getAbstract’s mission is to find, expertly compress, and provide universal access to critical business knowledge in a format that learners can absorb quickly and easily. This allows customers to stay current and competitive, and to become leaders who can make better decisions. Today, our solutions include a library of more than 9,000 business book summaries, in text and audio format, which more than 10 million subscribers use, including 20% of Fortune 500 companies.