Yes you did read that correctly. Of course I mean after you’ve read this article 😉
I love reading. My bookshelves are overflowing with books. My husband loves to read and our son loves to read too. I read fiction, non-fiction, business books and books about running. I hate it when people ask me “what’s your favorite book?” Why? Well, I’m hopeless at remembering titles and authors and I’ve read so many great books that I find it hard to choose a favorite.
Well, I’m talking about getting caught in the common trap of trawling the internet seeking out the latest and greatest articles and posts from “those in the know”. Downloading the free ebooks that promise you how to attract thousands of loyal clients in your sleep. Why oh why do I get sucked into those catchy titles? I must’ve downloaded over 100 ebooks in the past year. I’ve probably read one quarter of them at best.
Don’t get me wrong. There are some amazing free resources out there. Some are so good in fact, that I don’t understand why they are being offered for free. Well, I do know why. They are offered as a marketing hook, a list building magnet, a client relationship building tool etc.
I’ve also paid for some articles and ebooks and guess what? I’m 100% more likely to read the articles I’ve paid for than those that are free. I know this is true for people who download my freebies too. Less than 50% actually open the first email containing the download links! I don’t know how many of those that open, then read / listen but I bet it’s not 100%! Now this could say something about the quality of my freebies but I think it’s more of a reflection of internet behavior in general.
But why I am saying reading is bad for you? Well, it’s bad for you if you
spend waste your valuable time trawling, downloading and skimming articles instead of doing what you need to do to take your business to the next step.
It can also be bad for you if you become so overwhelmed by the abundance of information that you end up stuck and unable to work out which “advice” to follow. You have a university degree worth of information but can’t put pen to paper to write that exam essay!
Finally, it’s bad for you if you if it starts playing with your head. You know “Wow, that’s a fantastic ebook and she’s offering it for free! There’s no way I could produce anything that good. Oh, I’m never going to make a success of my business. No one will want to listen to what I’ve got to say, never mind pay money for it.” Or something along those lines.
I’m not really suggesting that you should stop reading completely but here are a few tips to help you avoid the pitfalls mentioned above.
Limit yourself to one hour per day
I believe in keeping up to date and in continuous learning, so searching for new and interesting ideas is worthwhile but limit yourself to one hour per day maximum. Don’t do it during your prime productive time. Choose a time like lunchtime or later in the evening (instead of or while watching crap TV).
Search for specific articles
Think about what you’re currently working on and what ideas, inspiration or knowledge you need to take the next step. Be disciplined and only search for articles that you can use this week. If you happen to come across something interesting, then flag it or tag to read later.
Learn the lesson and take action
Read the article, listen to the audio or watch the video and take notes as you go. Decide exactly how you are going to apply it to your business. What actions will you take?
Use bookmarks, Instapaper, a web reader like Google Reader, Kindle / iBooks and other technology to save time and to organize your reading lists. If you have an iPad, you can then save everything to one of these applications and read it when you have downtime – waiting for the kids at soccer practice, while eating lunch, in bed or at the beach.
Stop negative self talk
If you find yourself slipping into negative thinking as you’re reading an article, stop. Either reframe your thinking and work out how you could improve on the article and make it work for your business or stop reading and move onto a task that you makes you feel good about yourself.
I do hope you’re still reading 😉 In my weekly newsletter, I share my top tips, tactics and tools of the week and those that I recommend are definitely worth adding to your favorite Reader.
Do you find yourself downloading freebies but not ever reading them?
Can you relate to the negative thinking?
What tips can you share to make reading for business productive?
If you liked this article, please use the buttons below to like or share with others.