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Last Updated on June 4, 2019

10 Benefits of Reading: Why You Should Read Every Day

10 Benefits of Reading: Why You Should Read Every Day

When was the last time you read a book, or a substantial magazine article? Do your daily reading habits center around tweets, Facebook updates, or the directions on your instant oatmeal packet?

If you’re one of countless people who don’t make a habit of reading regularly, you might be missing out.

Reading has a significant number of benefits, and here’re 10 benefits of reading to get you to start reading.

Video Summary

1. Mental Stimulation

Studies have shown that staying mentally stimulated can slow the progress of (or possibly even prevent) Alzheimer’s and Dementia,[1] since keeping your brain active and engaged prevents it from losing power.

Just like any other muscle in the body, the brain requires exercise to keep it strong and healthy, so the phrase “use it or lose it” is particularly apt when it comes to your mind. Doing puzzles and playing games such as chess have also been found to be helpful with cognitive stimulation.[2]

2. Stress Reduction

No matter how much stress you have at work, in your personal relationships, or countless other issues faced in daily life, it all just slips away when you lose yourself in a great story. A well-written novel can transport you to other realms, while an engaging article will distract you and keep you in the present moment, letting tensions drain away and allowing you to relax.

3. Knowledge

    Everything you read fills your head with new bits of information, and you never know when it might come in handy. The more knowledge you have, the better-equipped you are to tackle any challenge you’ll ever face.

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    Additionally, here’s a bit of food for thought: should you ever find yourself in dire circumstances, remember that although you might lose everything else—your job, your possessions, your money, even your health—knowledge can never be taken from you.

    4. Vocabulary Expansion

    This goes with the above topic:

    The more you read, the more words you gain exposure to, and they’ll inevitably make their way into your everyday vocabulary.

    Being articulate and well-spoken is of great help in any profession, and knowing that you can speak to higher-ups with self-confidence can be an enormous boost to your self-esteem. It could even aid in your career, as those who are well-read, well-spoken, and knowledgeable on a variety of topics tend to get promotions more quickly (and more often) than those with smaller vocabularies and lack of awareness of literature, scientific breakthroughs, and global events.

    Reading books is also vital for learning new languages, as non-native speakers gain exposure to words used in context, which will ameliorate their own speaking and writing fluency.

    5. Memory Improvement

      When you read a book, you have to remember an assortment of characters, their backgrounds, ambitions, history, and nuances, as well as the various arcs and sub-plots that weave their way through every story. That’s a fair bit to remember, but brains are marvellous things and can remember these things with relative ease.

      Amazingly enough, every new memory you create forges new synapses (brain pathways)[3] and strengthens existing ones, which assists in short-term memory recall as well as stabilizing moods.[4] How cool is that?

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      If you want to learn more about how to increase brain power, boost memory and become 10x smarter, check out this technique!

      6. Stronger Analytical Thinking Skills

      Have you ever read an amazing mystery novel, and solved the mystery yourself before finishing the book? If so, you were able to put critical and analytical thinking to work by taking note of all the details provided and sorting them out to determine “whodunnit”.

      That same ability to analyze details also comes in handy when it comes to critiquing the plot; determining whether it was a well-written piece, if the characters were properly developed, if the storyline ran smoothly, etc.

      Should you ever have an opportunity to discuss the book with others, you’ll be able to state your opinions clearly, as you’ve taken the time to really consider all the aspects involved.

      7. Improved Focus and Concentration

        In our internet-crazed world, attention is drawn in a million different directions at once as we multi-task through every day.

        In a single 5-minute span, the average person will divide their time between working on a task, checking email, chatting with a couple of people (via gchat, skype, etc.), keeping an eye on twitter, monitoring their smartphone, and interacting with co-workers. This type of ADD-like behaviour causes stress levels to rise, and lowers our productivity.

        When you read a book, all of your attention is focused on the story—the rest of the world just falls away, and you can immerse yourself in every fine detail you’re absorbing.

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        Try reading for 15-20 minutes before work (i.e. on your morning commute, if you take public transit), and you’ll be surprised at how much more focused you are once you get to the office.

        Additional information: if you find staying focus hard and re trying to improve your focus, it’s possible you’ve been doing it wrong.

        8. Better Writing Skills

        This goes hand-in-hand with the expansion of your vocabulary:

        Exposure to published, well-written work has a noted effect on one’s own writing, as observing the cadence, fluidity, and writing styles of other authors will invariably influence your own work.

        In the same way that musicians influence one another and painters use techniques established by previous masters, so do writers learn how to craft prose by reading the works of others.

        9. Tranquility

          In addition to the relaxation that accompanies reading a good book, it’s possible that the subject you read about can bring about immense inner peace and tranquility.

          Reading spiritual texts can lower blood pressure and bring about an immense sense of calm, while reading self-help books has been shown to help people suffering from certain mood disorders and mild mental illnesses.[5]

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          10. Free Entertainment

          Though many of us like to buy books so we can annotate them and dog-ear pages for future reference, they can be quite pricey.

          For low-budget entertainment, you can visit your local library and bask in the glory of the countless tomes available there for free. Libraries have books on every subject imaginable, and since they rotate their stock and constantly get new books, you’ll never run out of reading materials.

          If you happen to live in an area that doesn’t have a local library, or if you’re mobility-impaired and can’t get to one easily, most libraries have their books available in PDF or ePub format so you can read them on your e-reader, iPad, or your computer screen.

          There are also many sources online where you can download free e-books, so go hunting for something new to read!

          There’s a reading genre for every literate person on the planet, and whether your tastes lie in classical literature, poetry, fashion magazines, biographies, religious texts, young adult books, self-help guides, street lit, or romance novels, there’s something out there to capture your curiosity and imagination.

          Step away from your computer for a little while, crack open a book, and replenish your soul for a little while.

          BONUS: Amazing books for your next read

          And if you need some ideas about what to read next, here they are:

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1] abc news: Reading, Chess May Help Fight Alzheimer’s
          [2] Fisher Center For Alzheimer’s Research Foundation: Mental Stimulation Slows Alzheimer’s Progression
          [3] VeryWellMind: 10 Interesting Human Memory Facts You Should Know
          [4] Oprah: How Reading Improves Memory
          [5] The Wall Street Journal: Bibliotherapy: Reading Your Way To Mental Health

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          Catherine Winter

          Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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          Last Updated on November 19, 2019

          20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

          20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

          Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

          If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

          1. Create a Daily Plan

          Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

          2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

          Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

          3. Use a Calendar

          Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

          I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

          Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

          4. Use an Organizer

          An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

          These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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          5. Know Your Deadlines

          When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

          But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

          6. Learn to Say “No”

          Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

          Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

          7. Target to Be Early

          When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

          For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

          Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

          8. Time Box Your Activities

          This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

          You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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          9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

          Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

          10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

          Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

          You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

          11. Focus

          Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

          Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

          Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

          12. Block out Distractions

          What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

          I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

          When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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          Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

          13. Track Your Time Spent

          When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

          You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

          14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

          You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

          Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

          15. Prioritize

          Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

          Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

          16. Delegate

          If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

          When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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          17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

          For related work, batch them together.

          For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

          1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
          2. coaching
          3. workshop development
          4. business development
          5. administrative

          I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

          18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

          What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

          One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

          While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

          19. Cut off When You Need To

          The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

          Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

          20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

          Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

          More Time Management Techniques

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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