Productivity

How To Get More From Reading Books

 July 7, 2021

By  Uriah Guilford, MFT

minute read

Hello and welcome to the Productive Therapist Podcast! So glad you’re listening today.

I want to share a few thoughts and tips on how to get more from reading books or really any content that you watch, read or listen to.

So you already know this, but the amount of information that you and I have to deal with on a daily and weekly basis is just astounding. It really is a challenge of modern life. And as a therapist, private practice owner and likely an entrepreneur, you and I both need to manage all of this in order to be successful and keep our head above water.

So three quick tips and then I’ll talk a little bit about each one.

The first one is: consume less content and take more useful notes.

Number two: leverage technology whenever possible.

And number three: just-in-time versus just-in-case.

And a quick note on that one, you probably get a bunch of notifications for CEU courses, all kinds of interesting trainings, books you want to read, all these kinds of things. So this is just a filter in order to look at those things and decide which one you want to focus on.

So just-in-time –  is that training or that book or that blog post that relates to something that is actually a current active goal? Versus just-in-case, which is like, ‘Oh, that’s interesting, maybe I should go pursue that,’ but it’s not relatable to something that’s important right now.

So that’s just kind of an overall filter to put these things through.

So for me, this year, I’m actually working on making better use of my time spent reading. The last couple of years, I started reading a bunch more and it’s been a super useful and amazingly transformative habit.

But I kind of got into a little competition with myself on how many books I could read! You know, trying to read three, four or five books in a month. And then I realized that was not always so beneficial because I could go through a lot of content, but it wouldn’t necessarily stick or be something that I can apply and actually use.

So this year I’m reading less books than ever, but I’m working on retaining more of the info and then making it usable for current and future projects.

So on a practical level, that means I’m trying to read more books on Kindle instead of audio while highlighting anything that stands out to me.

So I definitely love audio books and they’re so convenient, but it’s so tough to translate that content into something useful unless maybe I listen and then take notes while I’m listening. Which is not a bad idea actually, but generally in the past I have, like a lot of people, been listening to audio books while I’m walking, while I’m doing dishes, while I’m just doing things around the house and I can “get a lot of things done,” but I don’t necessarily have the opportunity to translate that into something that I can use in the future.

So I’ve started to export all of my Kindle highlights and then storing them in a note-taking app called Evernote. So then in the future, I have access to those highlights and then related notes and I can reference them when needed.

I also started using a service called Read Wise that has some nifty features. The website is ReadWise.io, and they send me one email per day with a sample of my book and article highlights, which has been randomly inspiring and then also useful in sparking ideas, bringing back sort of snippets from books that I read years and years ago that are very helpful in some way or another in the moment now.

ReadWise also makes it super easy to automate the process of getting highlights from my Kindle to Evernote or other locations, and I’m really enjoying that software so far.

There’s another one that I’m going to check out soon called Air.io, which allows you to highlight and share the best moments from podcasts. So I don’t know if you listen to a lot of podcasts; I do from time to time, and it would be nice to be able to grab things from the podcast and then share that, whether it’s on social media or just for some other purpose.

So some of these ideas and methods of kind of consuming and organizing information have come directly from an amazing online course that I took earlier this year. And it was called Building a Second Brain, created by a brilliant man named Tiago Forte. And the focus of this course was something called Personal Knowledge Management, which is essentially how to consume, organize and make use of all the information that’s important for working life.

I’m going to share more about this in the future, but I can tell you that it’s made a huge difference for me. I’m already much more organized and efficient in my work, my planning, writing, and even my personal life.

So one other thing to mention is that I’ve started to reread more books each year; so going back to certain books that I’ve read before and taking a second, third pass of those. I’m finding that there’s a handful of books that contain the frameworks and big ideas that I consistently use to run and grow my businesses. And I get a lot of reading them over and over again.

A few examples of that would be Profit First by Mike Michalowicz and then this book called Traction by Gino Wickman. There’s a couple of other ones, too, that I find myself rereading, which is fantastic.

So that’s consume less content, take more notes, and then leveraging technology whenever possible is a good idea.

Last thing I just want to share is a side note that I’m seriously considering writing a book in 2022! Something that was never on my goal list or my bucket list, but I’ve got some ideas that I think could be a really excellent book, something that’s inspiring, fun and practically useful to all therapists really to help them imagine achieve success. It’s going to have some different things like art, cartoons, music playlists, quick tips, success stories and more. So stick around for more on that in the coming months.

But I hope these tips have been helpful and useful for you. Thanks so much for listening and have a great day!

 

Uriah Guilford, MFT


Uriah is a group practice owner and the creator of Productive Therapist. He is a technology nerd, a minimalist travel packer, a rock drummer and business development enthusiast.

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