When I was a little girl, I used to read under the covers with a flashlight until I could barely hold my eyes open. I love to read! When I started college, I worked, took classes and focused on reading what was expected to complete the courses, setting aside my beloved list of leisure reading. And even then, it was a stretch for me to read anything cover to cover. Speed reading and targeted reading became par for the course, taking much of the enjoyment out of what is normally for me a time for replenishment and deep reflection.

Here I am a half-century later with a career that requires I stay in the forefront of research and news. I have a child, who I spend time reading with and to and a long list of leisure reading that I can barely dent.

Bathroom time is where I spend the most time actually reading, using that time for both professional and leisure reading. I admit it. And, I am not proud of it. Though I like my bathroom, serene in its décor, it is not dedicated time…it’s like reading a book by paragraphs.

So, I am asking myself: if reading is so essential to my career, to supporting my child, and to my feeling replenished, inspired, and creative, how do I prioritize it as it should be prioritized…I mean how do I get out of the bathroom?

In this reflection, I discovered something that sort of surprised me. I consider reading for my profession not a part of my work. Almost like it is a condition for doing my work that needs to be completed outside of working hours. I asked myself, why am I doing homework for work? I made a decision: professional reading is now an on-the-job assignment. It is time to include it as a priority and an important part of my work day.

I have also confronted my own self-imposed expectations. Most importantly, I have changed my perspective of reading. It is no longer a luxury that I can-not afford, but an essential pleasure well within my budget.

My Tips:

• Reading is inspirational to me. I schedule reading time before writing or designing time. It feeds my thought process and get’s my creative juices going.
• Sometimes I replace “rockin-out” in my commute with listening to audio books.
• I join book study groups. Book study provides structure, keeps me goal oriented and accountable. And I learn from others perspectives during the discussion time. Join Spirit Tree Consulting’s “Read to Lead” book study here.
• I don’t punish myself for not reading cover to cover. It’s not how I read business books anyway, however, I occasionally find the page turner that keeps me reading all the way to the end and wanting more.
• I read on planes (even the airline magazines)

Share your tips in the comments below.

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