View Full Version : Reading
02-06-2005, 04:30 PM
How do you work reading into the GTD system? If a book is good, I have no problem devouring it. But what about those second-tier books which are worth finishing, but tend to get pushed aside by other NAs? It doesn't really fit in as a next action if you define that action as "Read for X hours" or "Read XXX pages", probably because the best NAs are short and granular. I don't really like scheduling books either as it feels unnatural and to me doesn't really fit with the spirit of GTD. How do other GTDers handle "perpetual" tasks such as reading?
02-06-2005, 07:16 PM
I always find time to read. That's one of the distractions that keeps me from GTD. :?
02-06-2005, 11:25 PM
When I'm commuting, I'm reading 2 hours every day on the train.
When I'm not commuting, reading falls outside the realm of NAs, I do it for pleasure, even if it's mostly non-fiction (I read GTD for fun, not out of a sense of obligation).
No matter what I may have told myself over the years, I read for enjoyment, and perhaps some perception of betterment. I don't force myself to read something if I don't want to.
02-07-2005, 08:42 AM
How do you work reading into the GTD system? If a book is good, I have no problem devouring it. But what about those second-tier books which are worth finishing, but tend to get pushed aside by other NAs?
I'd say put in your system the next action of "Read X" where X is the book you want to read... Or have the next action of "Read" and have a list of books you wish to read.
It doesn't really fit in as a next action if you define that action as "Read for X hours" or "Read XXX pages", probably because the best NAs are short and granular. I don't really like scheduling books either as it feels unnatural and to me doesn't really fit with the spirit of GTD.
Here I think you've fallen into a trap that a next action is supposed to be something that HAS to be checked off...
A task can be ongoing. Once started it doesn't HAVE to be finished (at least for the sake of the system). Thus you can have a "Read X" task where you don't check off that next action until you finish the entire book. Or if it's just "Read" you never check it off unless you run out of things to read.
Remember the purpose of the Next Actions list isn't to see how many completed actions you can rack up in the hopes of emptying the NA list. The NA list is there to remind you of what you have promised yourself you will do. If the promise is still in effect, then the NA item stays on the list.
02-07-2005, 09:46 AM
Here are two previous threads on this topic.
They donít necessarily solve the problem, but at least they make good reading :D
02-07-2005, 07:46 PM
I think it works best to leave it outside GTD. The problem I have is either:
1. I get home and start reading, and I continue reading for about five or six hours; or
2. it's 10:30, I'd like to go to bed at midnight, plan on reading for an hour and a half, but I do just one more NA, then it's 10:40, and NAs continue to nickle-and-dime the time until it's 11:35, then I have an unsatisfying 25-minute read.
I suppose there's a reason why you do 1 or 2 -- if 1 happens, the NAs probably aren't pressing, if 2, they are.
02-07-2005, 08:42 PM
I reserve certain blocks of time for reading. Usually it's the morning before I go to work (I try to wake up fairly early).
For me, the hard part is integrating all my notes into my framework of knowledge :)
02-08-2005, 09:01 AM
It doesn't really fit in as a next action if you define that action as "Read for X hours" or "Read XXX pages", probably because the best NAs are short and granular.
Why not do it this way. This is how I squeeze in reading work related books, mostly technical, into my otherwise packed day. e.g. I currently have a "Read Adobe Photoshop CS for Photographers 15 min" NA in my list. When I do the reading for today, I simply move the NA to tomorrow. I've gotten through a number of books that way.
As for non-work related reading, I've set aside 1 hour and 15 minutes for reading time each night, either right when I get home, or right after dinner. If I wait any later, my mind is too tired to read. I usually have 3 books going at once, so I give each book 20-30 min.
02-08-2005, 12:16 PM
I struggle with this one STILL.
Here are a couple ideas.
1) I think what some of these posts are getting at is: create an established routine. GTD doesn't get into that much, but I think having routines for certain things - or time zones - helps get a lot of things done. I do:
* fun reading before bed
* more spiritual reading first thing in the morning
* I allow myself a 10-15 minute "devotional" of an interesting business book/website/blog when I get to work - Ready for Anything is a good example. I literally set a timer so I don't run over. I'm finding that really helps me to switch into work mode. I get to work very early, so this works for me.
2) Be selective. I know this might be a painful questions, but do you really need to do that 2nd Tier book? My eyes tend to be bigger than my stomach when it comes to reading and I'm having to learn to tell myself - as much as it would be nice to read the Tier 2 stuff, I need to be ruthless and focus on the Tier 1 stuff. Maybe just do a quick perusal of the Tier 2 and pop it on a someday mabye list.
3) Create the right context - change the place, type. For example, there is a news magazine that we get at work that I love, but never read it because I don't have time at work. Finally, I spent the $12 to have a personal subscription sent to my home and now I am reading it cover to cover. Could you get that Tier 2 book on cassette? Are there ways you can make it easier for yourself?
02-08-2005, 07:37 PM
You're received some absolutely fantastic suggestions already, so I won't focus on 'how' - I'll focus on 'why'.
Why do you want to read this book?
Do you really NEED to read this book? Why?
Why/How will this book benefit your life?
Why aren't you enjoying reading this book?
Can you get the same information from a better source - ie. easier to read, clearer, simpler, in audio, from a speaker, from a classroom experience, etc?
Hope this helps,