Simplify Your Life Week: Day 4

When it comes to reading books, do you have many starts but few finishes? If so, it’s probably time to simplify your reading stack. Well, we’ll reorganize your stack a bit. But we’re really tackling self-discipline and establishing a reading system.

Since reading is a part of your job, think of this as a working system for increased productivity.

  1. Organize your stack by priority. You’ll likely be organizing by both release dates and reading obligations. Do you need to lead a book club? Have you promised a blurb to a publisher?
  2. Read one book at a time. If a book doesn’t capture you immediately–within an hour, or perhaps in the first 100 pages–decide if you’re going to finish it. If you must because of an obligation, get to it. If you decide to abandon the read, remove it to your own Cemetery of Forgotten Books.
  3. If you complete a read, congratulations. But don’t immediately grab the next book on the stack. Instead, put your thoughts on paper. If you intend to write a review, write at least the first draft now. Write the promised blurb and send it off. Jot down thoughts for the book club discussion. Pen the shelf-talker, even if the release date is months away. You can always revise or rewrite when the book is published. But if you are overloaded at that time, you likely will not recall specifics like you can now. This way you’ll have something already in place.
  4. Now that you’re truly finished with the book, take it to its final destination. There’s such a sense of accomplishment involved with shelving a finished book.
  5. Now you’re ready for the next book on the stack.

This system might seem a little harsh. But if you have a stack of books on your nightstand that you fully intend to ready, but know you never will because the release date will come and go with no action from you, you are probably overwhelmed by indecision. Unfinished books weigh a lot in clutter-world. And in clutter-mind.

You know it’s okay to not finish a book. Just make sure it’s by choice.


Beth Golay

Beth is a reader, writer, marketer and Books & Whatnot founder. Even though she knows better, she's a sucker for a good book cover and will positively swoon if a book is set in appropriate type. @BethGolay