How to Read More Books When You’re So Busy

pexels-photo-459791Do you have a busy life? What a silly question. We all do. This is the era of busy people. But you know what? I read a quote not that long ago, that ‘busy is a decision’. We create our impossible schedules and become their prisoners. And then we’re forced to answer to our friends and family: “I’m sorry, I can’t. I’m really busy.”

Have you ever wondered how you could start reading more books in the midst of your hectic life? It seems almost impossible to find time if you have several kids, a demanding job, a husband or a wife. Or maybe you have none of that, but your schedule is so full there seems to be no time for reading.

pexels-photo-256541When I was a kid, I used to go to the library to choose a new book. It was always a magical time and one of my favorite activities. You go from one bookshelf to another, looking through the names of book and writers. It’s so peaceful and quiet. You’re deciding which world you’d like to immerse yourself into this time.

And then life happened – university, work, a busy schedule, new priorities, and as a result – only a few books a year.

I remember craving books. I remember being hungry for more reading. It even inspired me to take speed reading classes so I could devour more books in less time. And still, it wasn’t enough. More tasks, longer to-do lists and new responsibilities kept creeping into my life and pushing books out of it.

However, there was one decision which changed everything for me. About two years ago I made reading one of my life priorities. I set a goal to read 50 books a year, and … I read only 25. Do you think it was a failure? Not at all! It was twice more than the year before.

The next year I set a goal to read 30 books and … succeeded!!!

So, here’re a few ideas for you to start reading more even though your life gets busier every month of the year.

  1. Make reading your priority.

It doesn’t have to be your number one priority, but at least it shouldn’t be at the end of the list. Remind yourself why you want to start reading more. Is it a relaxing time for you when you unwind and recharge? Is it important for your personal growth and professional development? Define your WHY.

2. Listen to audiobooks while running, walking, cleaning or doing other chores.

Sometimes I even listen to audiobooks when I’m brushing my teeth or taking a shower (if I don’t have to wash my hair :)). If you sign up for a half or a full marathon, you’ll have plenty of time to listen to your audiobooks during training runs.

3. Read on commute.

This is a popular advice for reading more and also for using time productively. If you have to travel by public transportation to or from work, always carry a book with you. You’ll enjoy this time more and at the same time feel like you’ve spent it very efficiently.

4. Choose small books every once in a while. Alternate between big and small.

Sometimes people take books which are too big and too boring for them just because someone said they’re good. Choose the ones which will excite you, enchant you, or fascinate you. Even if it’s an educative, self-help book, it may be absolutely engrossing if you learn something new or see a real value in it.

Alternate between big, complicated books and small easy books. Here’s the list of short classic books that won’t take much of your time but will enrich you and fascinate you. Follow this link to read the article in Huffington post.

5. Read at least 15 minutes after waking up and 15 minutes before going to bed.

Consistency is the key. If you make a decision to read a little bit, but regularly, you will be amazed by your progress. Most of the time people think: “I don’t have time now. I have to get to bed,” or “I have to go to work.” But if it’s just 10-15 minutes it will feel like nothing, and, at the same time, it will be enough to help you finish the book in a few weeks or months.

Try some of these tips and share your own advice. What helped you start reading more? What books would you recommend me? I love sci-fi, drama, historical, self-help, psychological, business and many other types of books.

 

Is Personal Growth a Luxury or a Necessity?

What comes to your mind when you hear the phrase ‘personal growth’ or ‘personal development’? Does it make you cringe because you heard it too often? Or does it make you feel proud and hopeful because that’s what you’re working on constantly?

One morning I was running near the lake listening to a great audiobook recommended to me by my friend. It was ‘When Breath Becomes Air’ by Paul Kalanithi. The book is autobiographical depicting Paul’s struggles to fight cancer.  He was a talented neurosurgeon and an aspiring writer. Most of his life he was studying to be a neurosurgeon or working as one but always dreaming to one day become a writer. And only by the end of his life when he knew he didn’t have much left he decided to write his first and last book.

I vividly remember the very place I was running by when I heard this quote. It was right by the benches near the lake when the narrator said:  “Darwin and Nietzsche agreed on one thing: the defining characteristic of the living organism is striving.”

As a matter of fact, I am not a big fan of both Darwin and Nietzsche. I do respect their intelligence but absolutely disagree with their beliefs. However, this quote became an inspiring metaphor for me. It showed that each living being is characterised by striving. Striving to survive. Striving to grow. Striving to succeed.

Tony Robbins once said: “When we stop growing, we stop living.” Somebody else might have said it before him, but that’s not the point. The main idea is to continually develop, grow and learn.

Gregory Caremans, the founder of the Brain Academy, in his Udemy Neuroplasticity course explains very clearly why our brain must have new experiences on a regular basis and must constantly learn something new.

So, to sum up, let me give you 5 reasons why I think personal growth is an absolute necessity for each human being.

  1. It helps our brain grow constantly and keeps it from shrinking.
  2. It prevents such diseases as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
  3. It gives us more confidence and more opportunities.
  4. It helps us stay alive and at the top of the game.
  5. Life is just more fun with it.

So, continue growing, developing, learning, acquiring new skills and habits. Life will present you more opportunities to grow as soon as you show interest in it. There’s always a chance to read another book.

What are your favorite ways of growing personally?

Should You Train Your Body to Need Less Sleep?

pexels-photo-271897Why do you think the topic of sleep is so popular nowadays? There are books and researches, articles and blog posts, infographics and videos on this topic. Everybody is ready to offer an opinion. Everyone seems to know so much about it.

I’ve been experimenting with my sleep for several years now. About two years ago it became particularly crucial for me to have more hours in a day. I’m a full-time missionary who is also teaching English on the side and owns her own business. Three full-time jobs demand a lot of time, that’s why training my body to sleep less became a new challenge.

What To Remember

If you think you can just decide to sleep less and start your new life easily, you’re in for a big surprise. Unless you’re one of very few people with gene called hDEC2, it will be pretty hard to retrain your body. You may function pretty normally one or two days, but soon sleep deprivation will kick in.

Also, there’s one very important fact to remember – we all need at least 7 hours of sleep. Every source I’ve read shouts loud and clear that 6 hours of sleep or less is not enough for our body to function normally during the day. Therefore, if you normally sleep more than 8 hours, it’s probably a good idea to train your body to sleep less. Otherwise, learn how to be more efficient during the day, and make sure you get your 7 magical hours.

Sacrificing your sleep won’t help you to be more productive. Your brain won’t generate creative ideas or solve intellectual problems on the level you want it to. Your body will lose its strength, so you won’t perform serious physical tasks as well as before.

pexels-photo-359989What To Do

Here’re a few tips I can give you based on my own experience:

  • When reading various books and articles, listening to other people’s advise, always keep in mind that we’re all different. If something worked for one person, it doesn’t mean it will work for you.
  • Increase self-awareness by understanding your personal sleep-cycles, best night and morning routines and the amount of sleep you need.
  • Experiment with the number of hours you need to feel rested. Allow yourself to wake up without an alarm clock a few nights in a row.  Keep record of the time you went to bed and woke up to learn how many hours of sleep are ideal for you.
  • Don’t stay in bed after you wake up. Majority of people are lazy by nature, that’s why we may allow ourselves to keep sleeping when our body doesn’t need it anymore.
  • Go to bed earlier and wake up earlier. It’s more natural for our bodies to prepare for the night after it’s getting dark outside. On the other hand, the sunlight helps us wake up naturally. A lot of processes in our body are connected with the amount of sunlight we receive during the day.

 

Conclusion

So, the answer to our big question ‘Should you train your body to need less sleep?’ would depend on the amount of hours you sleep now. If it’s more than 7-8 hours, definitely try to retrain your body. Too much sleep can be as dangerous as too little of it. There’re only 20% of people who need more than 8 hours of sleep according to BBC.

At the same time, if you sleep 7-8 hours every night, enjoy it and learn how to use the rest of the day more efficiently.

 

 

 

Judge or Not Judge?

HW8_7804Why is it so hard not to judge people? Why do we have such an obsessive need to express our opinions even if nobody cares and nobody wants to hear them?

About a decade ago I used to think that being opinionated is cool. One of my closest friends called me opinionated, and I was almost proud of that. But times change, and it sounds almost like an insult now.

There are three facts that I want to say about judging others.

  1. We can’t help it.

Is it in our nature? I want to say – no, but unfortunately, I can’t. We were not created with this need to judge everybody. However, we were created with the free will to whether say what we think or keep silent. And our twisted human nature just can’t let us be silent. Our twisted mind can’t help it. Whether out loud or in our head, we start judging and spraying poison onto our relationships.

2. We even love it.

Recently, an old classic best-seller caught my attention, and I decided to finally read it. I am sure you’ve heard about it – it’s Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. He wrote this book in 1930s, and the lessons from it are still relevant. He talks a lot about the human nature and emphasizes that we’re all selfish. Each person spends 95% of the day thinking about him- or herself. Most of us love the sound of our own name and prefer talking about ourselves rather than listening to others.

So, to sum up, we love ourselves more than anything. We care about our needs, desires and opinions more than about anybody in the whole world. And sometimes it all turns into judgement of others. And then this judgement turns into gossiping. And we start savoring it, enjoying it, like it’s the most delectable dish we’ve ever eaten in our life.

3. We should stop it.

How can we stop it? Is it even possible? Maybe it’s hard to stop doing it completely, but we should at least try. And then try again. And after the next failure we will not give up, but try once more. And it will work. With God’s help, we can fight it and defeat it!

I know, we can’t do it alone, but we can help each other. If you hear me being judgmental, say it directly to my face. Especially when I judge those who judge, because that’s my problem. I judge judgmental people and can’t help it. It poisons my mood and darkens my days. Help me fight it and join this battle together with me!

Workaholics Unanimous

My friend and I are marathon runners and right now we’re in Germany getting ready to run the Frankfurt marathon tomorrow morning. Usually we try to save our legs and not walk around too much the day before the race. When today we were sitting at the hotel lobbie waiting for my friend’s husband, she suddenly said: “It feels so weird to just sit like this doing nothing, not working on anything.”

Usually every moment of our lives is scheduled, every day is full of events and meetings, classes and tasks. Isn’t it sad? We even feel a little guilty if we don’t do anything productive for 5 minutes.

Today we had no choice because we’re in a foreign country and the routine is totally different. It felt strange but at the same time wonderful to just relax and not think about our everyday to-do lists.

So, tell me, are you proud to be a workaholic? Do you ever feel like bragging about it concealing it with false humility? A lot of times people say: “I am such a workaholic, i  should really do something about it. I have no time for…” You can fill in the blanks. In reality we are a bit proud of that but in fact we should feel sorry for ourselves. That is a miserable life when you have no time for a cup of coffee with friends.

Today we made a decision to always try and deliberately plan our down time. The goal of it is to give our brain a rest and let it recharge. The big purpose of it is to live a full life and not a miserable existence of a workaholic.

Good Planning, Bad Planning

What’s your relationship with making lists and plans? Do you enjoy or dread that? Are you a spontaneous flexible person that never bothers with thinking too much ahead or a really organized one never deviating from a plan?

I love planning but recently I started noticing that I acquired a bad habit – waiting till the last minute to complete the task. What prevents me from starting it earlier and finishing in time? Nothing, busyness, excuses, sometimes laziness and just bad planning.

So, my new decision today – start executing my plans earlier without waiting for the last day or week! Going on a trip? Start planning it ahead of time, buying tickets early to save money; pack two-three days ahead; finish all business before the trip but not a few hours before leaving for the airport. Need to create an online course? Stop procrastinating and get down to it! Soon it will be that last minute and I will be rushing and scolding myself for not having been doing it earlier.

My Life is impossible without planning, but I am not a good planner. Like my Grandma said – We live and learn all our lives! It’s time to learn how to be good at that.

Yes We Can

icn-seths-headAfter a year and a half of silence I am coming back to blogging and commit to doing it every day, like Seth Godin. His interview with Marie Forleo was incredibly inspiring and encouraged me to get back to writing. We don’t have to create something absolutely unique that would sound like a book or have a special writing style. We can just share our thoughts, ideas, experiences, failures, victories, and they might inspire somebody else to aspire for more in their life. Some people try hard to sound like a book and I am sometimes tempted to do the same, but it is just fake. Like Seth Godin said: “Write like you talk.”  So, there you go, I will start writing like I talk.

Have you read my posts “How I decided to be a Mentalist”? You should, it has a few interesting ideas and revelations. I will be definitely talking more about the greatness and beauty of out brain, amazing abilities we have and don’t use, and how to be smart about becoming a Mentalist.

9184413599_5ad826888a_kFor now, let me tell you one thought that inspired me today when I was running around the lake. A human being is an incredible “machine” that is extremely complicated and has too many capabilities for them to be realized in our lifetime. You might say – we’re not machines. I hear you. We’re humans, we’re personalities and we are all unique. In our majority we have wonderful qualities that are not being used. Our potential is like a chest full of treasure in a deep cave on a forgotten island.  Let’s dig it out, bring it to people and use it for good!!!