Take stock of your reading materials and pare down your piles.

Got reading?! Who doesn’t! I’m going to guess that you may have a pile of reading on your desk, or on your nightstand, or on your kitchen counter, or in your in-box, or maybe even next to your toilet! You get the picture. There’s a lot you want to read, not enough time to read it all and many places to put it.

The issue isn’t about where you keep your reading material, rather it’s about what’s in it. When we get something to read, most times we can’t just stop what we’re doing to read it right then. Instead, we put it somewhere to read later. Amazingly, later can be a long time away . . . or never!

Many years ago, I was dismayed at all I piled up to read. I couldn’t figure out why a speed reading expert would have all this reading material left unread. I even had twinges of guilt for not reading it all. Then I realized two things:

  • I wasn’t giving reading enough time, hence the pile up.
  • There was a lot of material in my piles that really didn’t interest me.

I realized I didn’t make time to read because I wasn’t attracted to the pile of reading. I had put aside way too much stuff I really didn’t want to read. So I came up with this simple four step strategy to make my reading piles more quality instead of quantity. I hope you find it as useful as I do:

1 – COLLECT everything you’ve piled up to read, physically and digitally.

2 – RANK each item on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 is low and 10 is high) based on how valuable/important/useful that item is to you right now. Depending on the age of the material in the pile, some things just may not be relevant to you anymore.

3 – SEPARATE your reading material into two piles: Under 6 and Over 6. Any item whose value is Under 6 should be unsubscribed to, deleted or recycled. It’s obviously not of value to you. Anything in your Over 6 pile is of value to you and should be kept, for now.

4 – BALANCE is where you figure out how much time you give to reading on a regular basis and balance it with how much you still have in your piles. If you have quite a bit in your piles but don’t give reading that much time, then pare down your pile some more. If you have little to read and more time available, add new good stuff to your pile.

Since implementing this process, I find I naturally read more because I am attracted to what is in the piles. I WANT to read what’s there.

It’s smart to revisit this process every year or so, or when your piles start to get out of control. Remember that you don’t have to read everything – just those things that are of value to you!


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