There were times when I liked to read books so much, I didn’t even want to stop while at a public swimming pool.
Somehow, it got less and less. That might be just a simple shift in priorities, but it could also be due to the collective attention deficit disorder we as a society have cultivated with our social networks.
Anyways, I think it’s time for me to start reading again. It just is a pleasurable experience worth anyone’s time. You’re being entertained or even captivated, you’re learning new things, you’re improving your own ability to focus.
I recently joined a cool web tool called Lesetagebuch [German, ~ “reading diary”], which was built by Daniel Diekmeier because he was missing an easy way to remember the books he read, is currently reading, or planned to read in the future. It’s some kind of reading tracker. I like tracking things, so this is something for me.
(Side note: Yes, I just gave social networks the responsibility for our collective reading problems, and am now promoting to join a new kind of social network to start reading in a better way.)
While putting in all my kindle stuff into Lesetagebuch, I realized I was currently in the middle of 8 different books, all unfinished. This can change!
Then, conveniently, one of my favorite Podcasters/Youtubers, CGP Grey, came out with a new video about attention.
This guy’s opinions are often very well thought out and withstand lots of arguments from a possible other point of view. He’s just quite smart. But sometimes, his views are thought-provoking, if not to say, radical. This is one of those times. As he explains in the video, he chose for himself to spend the upcoming four months until the end of 2018 completely cutting out a bunch of distracting things in his daily routines. Those are mainly web contents like social networks. His reasoning is that he found his own attention span deteriorating and thought the daily distractions to be a cause of that.
Replacing the Constant Flow of Information
I can see that. Might make sense. While I have cut down the use of my social networks earlier this year, I think it’s best to replace this with more longform reading. No more Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, but instead more blogs of people I find interesting, and, of course, more books. So far I really enjoy the absence of Facebook and Twitter on my phone. Logging out of both on my laptop also changed quite a bit. You don’t need to rage-quit everything, just not using it already is enough.
Now the next step can follow. I’m aiming to read for a least 30 minutes every day, starting today. In a few months I’ll probably write about how that went and what I took from it. Stay tuned! 😉
Think About the Children
Sure, as my oldest is currently in the process of learning how to read, this has influenced my views as well. It just is such a basic and important skill to have, it should be emphasized by everybody. I’m reading to my kids every day, but I think I need to read longer for them, as well. One thing I’m really looking forward to is reading them all the Harry Potter books soon. I never have but my wife Sophie loved them. Right now, the kids are too small I think, but time flies and it won’t be long. Alarte Ascendare!