Have you ever read a great book, loaded with practical advice, yet you never implemented the ideas? Didn’t experience the benefits of reading every day?
I can see you nodding your head. We’ve all been there. We have good intentions, but things get in the way, and time passes, then we forget what we read. And we often forget to read every day!
More than likely, you didn’t take very good notes while you were reading the book. Or you didn’t write your notes in a notebook that you could easily access. Or you didn’t take any notes, relying on your memory.
What You Need to Know about the Benefits of Reading Every Day
Why Take Notes by Hand
Studies say it’s important to take notes by hand if you want to understand and remember more of what you read. Anyway, not implementing the great ideas from the books you read, are wasted opportunities to improve your situation, because you didn’t apply the information. You’re not fully realizing the benefits of reading.
I have been busily working on my Read the World Challenge 2016, making sure that it does not flop the next time around. This time last year, I was planning for the 2015 Reading Challenge, but I didn’t formalize it, expecting that people would read the books and be proactive about their professional development. I expected people to understand the benefits of reading every day, and get on with it.
The idea was that participants would read a book a week, and at the end of the month, they would connect the ideas from the five books they read. The concept works, because I have followed it for myself, but most people need a lot more support than what I offered.
You don’t know what you don’t know.
Early in the year, I participated in Sarah Arrow’s 30 Day Blogging Challenge, and what she did right, was to provide daily prompts for participants. This is the kind of support that serious bloggers need. There are many times when all a person needs, is a little help from a friend to succeed. You understand this, but you may be wondering what this has to do with forgetting what you read.
Is There a Tool to Help You Fully Experience the Benefits of Reading Every Day?
It has a lot to do with it actually. As a voracious reader, and someone who is always reading books to find the answers to “something,” I thought that it is my responsibility to develop a tool for people to connect ideas from books they read, helping them to be better able to apply the great ideas. This helps participants to fully experience the benefits of reading every day. That’s what it takes to read a book every week. Simple tools can help you to get the most from reading books.
Tools to Help You Experience the Benefits of Reading Every Day
With a simple tool, anyone can quickly record five great ideas from each book they read, which allows them to remember the information. And each month, play with the ideas from the five books, to generate new ideas that they can easily apply to work and life.
Although I connect the ideas from the various books that I read, I have never structured the process. As a former researcher, I am able to connect large amounts of information. That’s not the case for everyone.
To help others with the process of reading, learning, analyzing, and applying information, I created a simple table, directing your thinking, on how to play with the ideas from each book. Connecting them in ways that will generate hybrid ideas.
This is how innovation occurs. When you get comfortable with doing this, you can combine ideas any way that you want. Imagine the benefits of reading, and breakthroughs you will have, cross-pollinating ideas. I adapted the SWOT Matrix to what I call a Reading Matrix.
Use the Reading Matrix (see diagram to the right) to create a template in a spreadsheet. Whenever you use the template each month, record the name of each book and the related five ideas in the appropriate places. I usually extract the five great ideas from the books I read, but if five is a stretch for you, start with three great ideas.
To get the most from your reading, the process is to read books, take notes to learn the information, generate five ideas from each book to help you remember the information you learn. The next step is to combine and analyze the ideas from the five books you read each month to generate hybrid ideas and insights, then find ways to apply what you learn from cross-pollinating the ideas. Another tool to realize the benefits of reading every day, is to have an effective note taking method. I use the Livescribe Echo Smartpen.
What’s Next? Ideas on the Benefits from Reading
If you have ideas on how to improve this process, send me an email. Let’s learn together. Download the Monthly Reading Matrix to create a template to use to record the great ideas that you extract from the books you read. Here is an example of a Monthly Reading Matrix Example.
I think that as I continue to use the form, I will generate better hybrid ideas. Like with everything, you get better with practice. You will notice that the form is different, I adapted a SWOT Matrix form that I found. This new form is more orderly, use the one that you feel most comfortable with.
I would also like to add, is that it’s important to adapt models you are familiar with, to use them in ways that were never intended. I purchased Applying Business Analysis Tools To Assess a Small Business to find out if there are any tools in it that I can adapt.
UPDATE: I’ve gone through Applying Business Analysis Tools and it’s not suitable for what I’m trying to accomplish.