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Why Old Books Are Better Than New Books

Why Old Books Are Better Than New Books

Books, both old and new, are great things, but our culture emphasizes that “newer” things are often better. It’s hard to say no to your favorite contemporary writer or an amazing up-and-coming author’s latest publication, but I’m inclined to read the classics first. It can be a little daunting when there’s so much out there and you have a million things on your to-do list, but it’s always worth it to pick up an old book between reading newer ones. Here’s why old classic books stand out from new books.

1. They are free

The old classics are usually free or deeply discounted at used book stores, book fairs or thrift stores. There are many ways to go about finding these free books: The first obvious place would be your local library, which I think is the most underrated institution of our time. There are some lovely “free bookstores” online such as Project Gutenberg and Bartleby, which provide free e-books, and Librivox, a website providing free audio books.

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2. They show a different way of life from another time

Older books are valuable because they show life from another time. Many books are stories or myths from the past, stemming from titles like Beowulf and To Kill a Mockingbird. Everyone knows about these stories. Each book has a tale to tell from that point in history, animated in the color of your imagination. In this sense, reading an old book is almost like visiting a highly interpretative museum.

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3. They are for everybody

Old books do not discriminate against age. Some of the best stories of all time were stories for children, such as anything written by the Brother’s Grimm or Beatrix Potter. Pretty much any movie produced by Disney (The Little Mermaid, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan) has probably come from a really awesome kid’s book. Even The Hobbit was initially written for children. What’s great is that you don’t have to be a child to enjoy these books as an adult. Pick up The Princess and the Pea or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and tell me that there isn’t a moral you can’t learn from those story.

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4. They provide context

Classics can give you a new perspective on an old idea. Reading an old book helps you understand references and conversations, no matter how high-brow or low-brow they are. In fact, old books can provide a huge sense of inspiration, and you don’t necessarily have to be a writer to be inspired. Filmmakers, costume designers and academics rely on classic novels to learn, understand, re-create a story, or prove a point.

5. They will be relevant for future generations

Invest in reading a quality old book for literature class or leisure and you’ll remember it forever. Chances are it will even be referred to in pop culture either implicitly or explicitly. How many Simpsons episodes have you watched that had literary references in them? I bet there are more references in that show than you can shake a stick at. Just because a book is old, it doesn’t mean it has lost its relevance.

6. They don’t need to prove themselves

The best old classical books have stood the test of time, but new books are still in a probationary period with readers. “The ages bear testimony to the validity of their ideas,” Michael Hyatt writes about old books. Ideas and thoughts constantly float through our heads daily, but the best ideas are solidified and executed. There is no test for old novels to pass because the best ones have been passed on by many generations.

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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.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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