What do you tend to do when you have a stack of “to-read” books piling up, and not enough time to read them all? This week we are looking at a question from a student about how to decide what to read when.

STUDENT QUESTION: How do you decide what to read next when you’re busy?

JOHN-CLAY: I’m behind on my film magazines, almost six months to a year, which is actually about the time they come out on DVD. They release the story as they hit theater, but I don’t actually get around to reading that magazine till it comes out on streaming or DVD or something like that. I’m so far behind in those, I don’t even try to keep up. But I have a personal rule that I’m going to keep up with my business magazines. I know when I get a new one in, I have to go finish my other one quickly. 

I've started reading books just based on what I need to know. Click To Tweet

I’ve also started reading books just based on what I need to know. I’ve had some books on investing and finance that I just haven’t got around to. We had a recent situation where I needed to know more about that so I picked up the books and I’ve been speed reading through, just trying to pull out basic information that I need and then I move on.

I also try to finish older books. I started “Delivering Happiness” about Zappos. But I’ve actually started “Start With Why” before that. And so before I keep reading about Zappos — I didn’t have any other books open when I got that one for Christmas. So I started reading it. I was like, yeah, this is really good, but I’m going to go finish my other book before I can pick that one up. 

So I also keep categories. Like, I have a personal book that I’ve been reading for several years because it’s really big and I’m really slow and I just don’t read it as often as I should. I just haven’t finished it. It’s been probably five years now. It’s a really long book and I don’t have it in a convenient spot. That’s another problem.

I try to keep one business book going. I have my magazine stack, and I’ve had a personal book, and then I’ve got Bible reading, so I kind of tried to keep it in those categories and try to get more than one of those happening at a time. Or there’s a book we’re trying to raise a family, or Sarah and I are trying to read together, so there’s that. If I get too far behind, I just lose track and that’s really aggravating to me. I’ve got several books up here that I need to read, but I just can’t read them until I get these other ones done.

My dad loaned me a book and it sat on my shelf for months until I hit a situation where I was having trouble with someone I was working with. So I pulled the book out and sure enough, it had some information I could use. I skimmed through it and I was like, that’s what I needed. I just gave it back to him. I’m just not going to read the rest of the book, I got what I needed for when I was there. 

It’s on my list. I’ll buy it someday; it’s a great book to have. I’ll make my kids read it, teach my kids to read young because they’ve got a lot of books to read, but I don’t try to read every single page in depth. I want to get the basic idea. 

So I just use those resources to keep myself educated. I’ve got a ton of tabs on right now — how to grow social channels, stuff from Chris Do that aren’t important to other people.

I just searched how to build YouTube and I just watched videos for a while, so it’s not like one consistent resource. I’m always studying. Like I’m rebuilding my office set up. I’m having to research and study things I didn’t even know were a thing. Stuff doesn’t work. All of a sudden you’re like, “Oh, I guess I have to, I guess I lucked out before and it just worked.”

I just had to USB hub go out. So now you’re sitting there going, “Well, why did my USB hub go out? Why is it not working? I’ve always had trouble putting hard drives into it, but it’s powered. Is there a difference in powered USB hubs, I guess? But I don’t want to waste money.” So then I spend time researching and figuring it out, as I need it. I look it up.

Bethany Meckle

Bethany Meckle

Content Curator

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