Since I study Comparative Literature, a lot of my work, surprise surprise, involves reading extensively. A question I get asked a lot by peers of mine who are already in the workforce or are doing less theory-intensive degrees is how they can get more reading done, especially when they feel like they don’t have the time or they’ve forgotten how to concentrate on something that isn’t work-related for that long. If that sounds like you, today’s blog post should come especially handy.
I’m a strong believer there’s a book out there for everyone, and chances are reading it is going to benefit you. Reading benefits you in a lot of ways – cognitively, it’s a great way to have your brain engage with material that isn’t work-related but is stimulating nonetheless. According to one study published by the researchers at the Royal Economic Society, readers earn more than non-readers across all backgrounds. It’s no wonder most CEOs report reading as a regular and intentional practice in their lives –hey, if it’s good enough for Bill Gates, it’s definitely good enough for you and I.
If you aren’t a natural reader or can just never find the time to sit down and read, my recommendation is to subscribe to an audiobook service and start listening to your books. There are a ton of great options out there with bestselling books, usually at a fraction of their print cost. You can work audiobooks into your exercise routine, use them to make your commute more interesting, or listen to them while prepping your meals.
Making time for some actual reading can also be a great way to plug out of the stress of a busy week, especially if what you’re choosing to read is fiction. That being said, there are a great amount of non-fiction books that provide great lessons to bring into the workplace with you. Some of my favourites include Quiet, by Susan Cain, a must read if you’re an introvert in the modern office and Presence, by Amy Cuddy, for anyone who struggles with engaging fully at work. If you miss reading fiction like you did when you were a kid and just don’t know where to find the time for a whole novel, why not start with short stories?
The great thing about reading isn’t just that you can then smugly tell all your co-workers all about that latest book you’ve just finished, but because it’s been proven study after study to help improve your focus and even reduce stress levels. So the next time you’re feeling a little bored, maybe don’t go on that YouTube spiral of trying to figure out which kind of crisp flavour is weirdest, and instead, read a book – it’ll help more than you realize. Of course, I’m a little biased.
Until next time!