When it comes to your reading pile, are you a stacker (have one big pile), spreader (have many piles) or stasher (hide your piles)? These days, you may have physical piles AND electronic piles! Whatever your answer, you STILL have a reading pile! What to do with it/them is probably THE biggest problem readers face.
It’s unrealistic in this age of information overload to think you will get rid of your pile completely. Instead consider making your pile(s) more QUALITY instead of QUANTITY. Just follow my quick four-step process I call Abby’s Reading Pile Manager:
- Mentally (or if you really want to get serious – on a piece of paper) make a list of what exactly is IN your reading pile(s). Include everything from newspapers, magazines, professional journals, newsletters, email newsletters and so on. Include how often it arrives such as weekly, monthly, quarterly and so on.
- Then decide on a personal value number for each item. A personal value number is what number YOU personally believe that piece of material deserves using a scale between 1 and 10 (1 being low value; 10 being high value). Consider a “1” value as the worst, most horrible material you ever read and it wastes your time. A “10” value is the most wonderful material you ever read and it is always a good use of your time. You could write it on the material, use a post it note or just stack them in like-numbered piles (all those ranked 3 go together, all those ranked 8 go together and so on.)
- Any item you designated under a “6” should be unsubscribed to and/or be deleted immediately. HINT: If you have 5 or more unread back issues of any one publication, chances are you either don’t have time for it or don’t find value in it. Seriously consider getting rid of it!
- Now the fun part: look at what’s left in your pile and decide, based on HOW MUCH TIME YOU SPEND READING, whether or not you still have too much to read or too little. If have too much, then pare it down more. If you have too little, then go look for more good stuff to read! Another option is to add more reading time into your days.
Basically, I am helping you spend your time wisely by only reading those things that are of VALUE to YOU. I am also giving you permission to not read it all. Tell your friends and colleagues about this one – they’ll be glad you did!