Cut that out

Do you ever wish that there were just big scissors around the things in your life that it made sense to cut out? Probably some of us would love that and others would rebel that we were being told what to cut out of our lives. I think in this picture the paving crew was being told where to cut the road. :-)

Well for better or worse (mostly for better I think) it is left almost entirely up to us what to cut out of our lives so that we can make time for the really important things.

Here are some things that you might want to cut out of your life so that you can make time for reading.

1. TV. Especially now with being able to download TV shows commercial free on Itunes it might be a good time to get rid of the TV. I have met a few families or friends over the years that haven’t had TV and I think they were better off for it. We went a year without a TV and we will be without TV starting in September again and I can’t wait. If you can’t cut out TV just try reading during the commercials.

2. Eliminate Unnecessary commitments. Perhaps you have been locked into somethings that aren’t in your areas of strengths or that someone else could be doing much better. Think of clubs, civic organizations, church activities that aren’t what God has for you. Many of these things might be really good. But really good is the enemy of great.

3. Facebook, MySpace or Surfing Online. If you track the time that you spend online that isn’t purposeful you might be able to read a book a week. Seriously the amount of time that people spend online is eclipsing the amount of time that they spend in front of the TV.

4. Unsubscribe from Email Lists. I started unsubscribing from email lists about 3 weeks ago and literally every day I have more email lists that I am getting off of. It’s not just the time it takes to delete the emails each day but they often distract us from what we need to be doing when we are at our desks in front of the computer. An additional idea is to have a seperate email for mailing lists that you check once a week.

5. Don’t Shower. OK. I admit this one is a little extreme. But it just goes to show you that things really can be cut from your life so that you can read. I heard a guy speak that makes about $50,000 a month online and he was talking about the things that people do instead of accomplishing things. There were the typical things like TV and procrastinating. When he talked about not bathing to accomplish things I realized he was serious about what was important in his life.

6. Work Less. You might have scoffed at this one. I am a firm believer in working hard and giving whatever you are doing your all. The hours that we work continues to increase and I am sure that most of us could accomplish what we do in less time if we worked a little less and worked a little smarter.

Hopefully those ideas get you jumpstarted about what you can cut out of your own life so that you can make time to read.

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Insert Reading Here

I would guess that at least 1/4 of my reading is inserted into other areas of my life. This morning I went to walkmart and the book I am currently reading (The Speed of Trust) was a little too big so I grabbed a pocket New Testament and read from the car to the door. The door was locked so as I walked to the other entrance and started shopping I read. In line is another great place to read.

When you take a little time to think about it you can insert reading into so many other areas of life.

1. Driving. I only recommend this one if you live in northern Montana or drive in stop and go traffic. On our VW Bus trip accross the country I read the better part of a novel on the barren route 2. When you are “stop” that is a great time to read. When you are “go” not so much. When I lived in Japan I would often read while driving in the 5 kmh traffic on my way home.

2. The bathroom. You might already be squeezing this one in.

3. Always carry a book with you. You will be amazed at how long you wait in lines, at red lights, in doctors offices, and for other people.

4. While excercising. Either listening to an audio book or while riding a stationary bike.

5. During Meetings. If you can do it without appearing rude meetings are a great place to read. In many meetings much of what is going on in will not pertain to you at all. Be careful with this one that you don’t frustrate others.

6. Lunch Breaks, Work Breaks and other Breaks. If you eat lunch with others everyday taking one day a week to read might not be a bad idea.

7. Before the kids wake up or after they go to bed. Read a novel or biography before going to bed is a great way to unwind and sets you up for a great nights sleep much better than spending time in front of the TV.

Look for areas that you are already doing or required to do and see if you can read there.

Making Time to Read

I am working on a report now called Read to Grow. I think if people knew the benefits of reading and how it would impact their lives they would definitely spend more time reading. When I talk to people about reading the first thing most people say is that they don’t have time to read. Of course, I don’t think anyone feels like the have extra time to do things. Many days I don’t have time to exercise. George Bush does though, and I am sure that his life is a little more busy than mine or yours. We make time for what is important in our lives.

I think there are three basic ways that we can make time to read.

1. Quit doing certain activities and use that time to read.

2. Squeeze reading into areas that we hadn’t previously thought about.

3. Make it a priority in our lives and it will happen and suddenly things that are less of a priority (but still important) we will be wishing we had time for.

You are able to do the things in your life that are priorities. A few years ago I realized that I always got the things done in my life that were urgent. Why, my priority was taking care of the burning fires. Often though, I was unable to take care of what was really important. As reading becomes a priority you will make time for it.

Tomorrow I will talk about the things that we can quit doing to make time for reading. I am sure right now you can think of a few things that you would be better off not doing and reading instead.