Monthly Archives: February 2017

Reading for more than Pleasure

As part of my intention to become a ‘maker’ more than a ‘consumer’ of information and stories, I appreciate James Clear’s advice today on How to Read Better.

The article suggests that if we want to become better readers we need firstly, to find a way to make our thoughts visible – by making notes – and then searchable.  I agree that the best tool is Evernote and I am intrigued to find out more about Clippings for Kindle.  I also make a note of the author and the concept, in the header section of my written journal so I can track down comments, though it’s still a manual process to flip through the pages. One day I will explore how to scan my journals.

Secondly, Clear suggests we need to connect the dots between the various ideas that we read. I do a lot of this already – asking myself “hmmm what does this remind me of?” and I can always improve by asking this question. E.g. applying my recent reading from BJ Fogg and his Tiny Habits, I wonder how I can set a tiny habit to capture one idea after each article / book / podcast?

Thirdly, summarise the main idea/s in a paragraph.  In Clear’s article the main ideas are to practice making your reading memorable via searchable notes and by connecting the ideas with other things you’ve written. Then look for one thing you can apply immediately, even if application is writing a summary and sending it to someone who will benefit.

And I will add a fourth – appreciation for the author – so thanks James for your article and your ongoing improvement endeavours.  You are a good role model.


Doing something new – make it simpler to start

It’s February already.  Time for a quick review: How are you doing with your New Year’s intentions?

My intention is to become more of a ‘maker’ than a consumer of information.  For me this means writing book reviews – which I did and for which I won a prize from the local library – and writing more blogs.

Looking at my blog posts, I notice I haven’t posted since November, so I haven’t yet progressed with that intention. But I do have a number of posts in drafts.

One was about Tiny Habits and the great work BJ Fogg.  I loved doing his Tiny Habits email program, so I re-read his article on the New Rules of Persuasion.  It’s about persuasion in relation to behaviour change. His proven Behavior Model comprises three elements:

Ability and
a Trigger.

Given that I am motivated to do this, and I have the ability, the missing ingredient must be the trigger – remembering to do it. Rather than rely on memory, I know that I can set up regular reminders in my calendar.

OK. Calendar reminders – done.

But wait, Fogg has an additional distinction, which is a key breakthrough for me. He suggests that designers often assume people are more capable that we really are. To increase ability we can make the starting behavior simpler. Even though I have the ability, I often don’t have the time to write a thoughtful piece. But I can easily spend two minutes to say “just read BJ Fogg’s article and liked it because …”  Or just read x and it left me wondering y”.

So my new intention for this month is to write a short ‘reaction’ blog once a week and then make time for a thoughtful piece once a month.

Week one – thoughtful piece – Done.

Week two here we come.