How to Find Time to Read When Running a Business

P.J McNulty
December 27, 2023 | 6 mins

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When it comes to business, where every second counts, the prospect of finding time to read can seem like a luxury you can't afford.

However, reading is not just an escape; it's an investment in your most valuable asset – your mind.

This guide is designed to show you, the dedicated entrepreneur, how to skillfully weave reading into your busy schedule, transforming it from a sidelined activity into a powerful catalyst for growth, innovation, and success.

Why is it important to find time to read?

Viewing reading as a crucial element of your business strategy is pivotal.

Just as you would allocate resources for marketing or product development, reading deserves a designated slot in your business calendar. It’s about recognizing the role of knowledge and insights in driving business decisions and innovation. By scheduling time to read, you're essentially setting appointments with new ideas and perspectives that can propel your business forward.

This proactive approach ensures that reading becomes an integral, non-negotiable part of your business routine, rather than an afterthought.

How technology can help you find time to read

Embrace technology as your ally in this quest.

There’s a wealth of digital tools designed to fit reading into the busiest of schedules.

From audiobooks to e-readers, these technologies offer the flexibility to make reading accessible and convenient, no matter your lifestyle. Consider, for instance, the ease of listening to an audiobook during your morning commute or while exercising.

These tools not only help in optimizing your time but also enhance your reading experience, making it more engaging and adaptable to your needs.

Examples of useful reading technology

In the digital age, technology is a game-changer for time-starved entrepreneurs looking to incorporate reading into their schedules. Consider the following tools:

1. Audiobooks (e.g., Audible,

Ideal for multitasking, audiobooks allow you to listen to the latest bestsellers or industry insights while on the move, turning your commute or gym time into productive reading sessions.

2. E-Readers (e.g., Kindle, Kobo)

These devices are perfect for the entrepreneur on-the-go. With features like adjustable text size and built-in dictionaries, they make reading more efficient and tailored to your preferences.

3. Reading Apps (e.g., Blinkist, Scribd)

These apps offer summaries or full books in digital format, enabling quick reading during short breaks or between meetings.

4. RSS Feed Readers (e.g., Feedly, Inoreader)

Stay updated with the latest industry news and articles. Customize your feed to receive content that aligns with your business interests.

5. Note-Taking Apps (e.g., Evernote, OneNote)

Enhance your reading experience by easily capturing ideas, quotes, and action points from your readings, helping you apply them to your business.

How to integrate audiobooks into your daily routine

Integrating audiobooks into your daily routine is a simple yet effective strategy.

The beauty of audiobooks lies in their versatility; whether you’re commuting, working out, or even doing household chores, they allow you to absorb valuable knowledge without having to set aside extra time.

This makes them an ideal solution for busy entrepreneurs who find traditional reading challenging to fit into their packed schedules.

What is the 15-minute rule of reading?

Implementing the ‘15-Minute Rule’ is about commitment and consistency.

It’s as straightforward as it sounds: dedicate a minimum of 15 minutes each day to reading.

This could be during your morning coffee, before bed, or even during lunch. The key is to make these 15 minutes a non-negotiable part of your day, akin to an important business meeting.

Over time, these small, consistent periods of reading accumulate into substantial knowledge gains, helping you stay informed and inspired.

How to make the most of a 15-minute reading session

Here are five practical ways to make the most of your 15-minute reading sessions:

Set a Timer: Use a timer to stay focused during your 15-minute reading slot. This helps in creating a disciplined approach to reading.

Keep a Book Handy: Always have a book or reading device within reach, whether it's a physical book in your bag or a reading app on your phone.

Morning Routine Inclusion: Incorporate reading into your morning routine, setting a positive, informed tone for the day.

Leverage Breaks: Utilize short breaks in your workday for reading. Even a few pages during a coffee break can be impactful.

Bedtime Habit: End your day with a reading ritual. This not only helps in winding down but also ensures you’re consistently fitting reading into your schedule.

How to create the right environment for reading

Creating a reading-friendly environment is about more than just physical space; it's about cultivating a mindset that values and encourages reading.

Here are seven tips to help you establish such an environment:

1. Designate a Reading Spot: Choose a comfortable, well-lit corner specifically for reading. This dedicated space signals your brain that it’s time to focus on reading.

2. Minimize Distractions: Turn off notifications and reduce noise in your reading area to enhance concentration.

3. Keep Your Reading Material Organized: Arrange your books or reading devices in an accessible and orderly manner to encourage regular reading.

4. Incorporate Relaxing Elements: Add elements like a comfortable chair or soft lighting to make your reading area inviting.

5. Visual Reading Reminders: Place motivational quotes or reading lists in your vicinity to inspire and remind you to read.

6. Involve Your Team: If applicable, create a reading-friendly culture in your workplace by encouraging team reading sessions or discussions.

7. Set the Mood with Music: If it helps your concentration, play background music or ambient sounds to create a more immersive reading experience.

How to reduce distractions when reading

Minimizing distractions is key to making the most of your reading time.

This involves both physical and digital decluttering. Create a tranquil environment by keeping your reading area neat and quiet.

On the digital front, consider using website blockers to prevent surfing the internet or checking emails while reading.

By consciously reducing interruptions, you allow yourself to fully engage with the material, leading to a deeper and more effective reading experience.

How to choose the right books to read

Choosing books that align with your current business goals serves a dual purpose: it ensures that the time you spend reading directly benefits your business, and it keeps you motivated to read.

Whether it's a book on leadership during a phase of team expansion, or a book on innovation when you’re exploring new markets, selecting relevant material helps you apply fresh ideas and strategies directly to your business challenges.

How to align your reading with your business goals

Here are six ways to combine reading with your business goals effectively:

Identify Current Challenges: Select books that address specific issues or areas you are currently working on in your business.

Follow Industry Leaders: Read books recommended by or written by leaders in your industry to gain insights into their success strategies.

Incorporate Book Learnings into Business Plans: Actively apply concepts and ideas from your readings into your business planning and decision-making.

Encourage Team Reading: Share relevant books with your team and discuss how these can be applied to your collective goals.

Track Reading Progress and Insights: Keep a journal of key takeaways from your readings and review how they’ve influenced your business practices.

Attend Author Talks and Book Events: Engage with authors and like-minded business professionals at events to deepen your understanding and network.

How to make the most of a book club

Joining or creating a business-focused book club can be a game-changer for entrepreneurs.

Not only does it hold you accountable to your reading goals, but it also provides a platform for discussion, idea exchange, and learning from diverse perspectives.

This communal approach to reading can lead to unexpected insights and collaborative solutions to business challenges.

Participating in a book club offers more than just collective reading; it’s a networking opportunity.

It allows you to connect with other professionals and entrepreneurs, potentially leading to partnerships, mentorships, or new business opportunities.

Engaging in these communities broadens your professional network and exposes you to different approaches and viewpoints, enhancing both your personal and business growth.

Are you ready to find time to read?

Now is the time to turn these strategies into action.

Don't let your busy schedule be a barrier to the wealth of knowledge and opportunity that reading presents.

Start small, stay consistent, and watch as reading becomes a transformative tool in your entrepreneurial journey.

Remember, the insights and inspiration you gain from each page can be the catalyst for your next big business breakthrough.

Begin today – your future self will thank you.

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