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8 Ways To Get Out Of A Reading Slump

8 Ways To Get Out Of A Reading Slump

In this day and age, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to filling our free time. We can ‘Netflix and chill’, cruise on our iPads or go hunting for Pikachu on Pokemon Go! But it seems increasingly rare that we’ll sit down to notch up some serious hours with a good book. Despite the digital distractions all around us, it is possible to break out of the slump and fall in love with books, all over again.

Read on for eight top tricks to help you rediscover the magic of reading.

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One Book at A Time

Biting off more books than you can chew is guaranteed to be a stumbling block. Some people read several books at a time to avoid getting ‘bored.’ No matter how tempting, don’t be a greedy reader. It’s intimidating and makes the whole process seem tough. Instead, try focusing on one story at a time, removing the option of switching to another book if you hit a rough patch. In saying that, if you genuinely don’t enjoy a book you’re reading, it’s okay to let it go (there’s no book police around). Simply find another book you’re interested in.

Log Off & Schedule Reading Time

If you’re going through a long-running reading slump, then chances are you’re spending a little too much time online. The internet, despite its amazing cat memes and funny videos, is the single biggest procrastinating tool in the world today. You can sit down for a quick Facebook session and suddenly five hours have passed. Set aside some internet free time and use those hours to reconnect with reading. Schedule it in your calendar so that you’re held accountable and more likely to go ahead with it. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you find pleasure in the page when you step away from the screen.

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Revisit the Classics

Do you remember why you started reading in the first place? Maybe a particular author spoke to you in a way that no one else had. Or perhaps a certain story stuck with you long after the book was over? If you’ve found yourself in a reading rut, revisit an old favourite to rediscover the magic. Even if it’s a book from your childhood, it’s possible that by taking yourself back to that moment, you can find the spark that started it all.

Hang Out in a Bookstore

This may sound a little simple but sometimes proximity to your problems can prove the best remedy. Set aside an hour or so, head to your nearest bookstore, grab a coffee and just hang out. Wander around, spend time looking at the shelves, chat to the bookstore employees about what they’re reading. Before long you may find that being surrounded by books is the shortcut to busting out of your slump.

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Find a Friend

Reading is typically a pretty solo kind of activity, but sometimes a little company can be the cure you’re looking for. Team up with a friend and tackle a book together. Make a mini-book club, read a chapter a day and then meet up to discuss. Alternatively, find a fellow book lover who is also a good listener. Take it in turns to read to each other – a creative approach to beating the reading blues.

See It & Then Read It

As leading Australian bookseller Dymocks suggests in their blog post – there’s no better way to cure a reading slump than to watch a movie and then read the book to compare storylines and details. Luckily, 2016 is an exciting year for book lovers and movie buffs alike thanks to the myriad of book to movie adaptations coming out on the big screen. Think Paula Hawkin’s The Girl on the Train and Dan Brown’s Inferno. If you’re extra committed, read the book BEFORE seeing the movie.

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Listen Up

If you’re really struggling to enjoy reading but are missing the world of books, then audio readers are a great alternative. These days most of your favourite authors will have recorded audio versions of their work. Download the file and let fiction filter into your brain via your ears! This can be the exact kind of halfway point to help you survive the slump.

Genre Hop

Getting stale is a common reason that many book lovers find themselves stuck in a reading slump. No matter how much you love Harry Potter, the Chamber of Secrets doesn’t seem so exciting the tenth time round. If it’s all feeling a little too familiar, why not try a new genre? A rom-com reader may suddenly be blown away by the world of sci-fi and vice versa! They say variety is the spice of life, so don’t be afraid to put that into practice! Ask for recommendations from friends and family, and prepare for an exciting experiment ahead.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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