Last year, we did a post on finding more opportunities to read. I have received some good feedback on this and have been asked what I meant when I stated a more studious approach and about my habits in general. This post will hopefully answer those questions.

I have had many seasons where I was listening to multiple podcasts, audiobooks, reading articles, reading physical or even eBooks, and more… I got to the point to where I was wondering what I even read. I felt like I was driving down the interstate and reading all of the billboards. Then when I got home, I could only recall one or two.

For me, I find that reading in 20-30 minute sessions allows me to really absorb what I just read and not become over-saturated with content. I like to then take some notes in my Evernote App or even jot them down in my weekly planner. This gets the material out of my mind and allows me to reflect on it more. It is a win-win situation.

I have been toying with multiple methods to organize the material too. Ryan Holiday uses note cards by topic, some use writing journals, some use Excel docs and label the tabs by topic. I use tags in Evernote and recently just bought this amazing writing program, Scrivener. It was $45 and allows me to do some very cool things. For example, you can create multiple folders in a project and label them as the topics. Then add your notes there and recall them at will. I just created one for “reading notes” and have the books I read as the chapters and topics in folders in the research area. It is working very well so far.

Another trick of mine: after I finish reading the book, I google book notes for it. There are a lot smarter people out there than me and they can condense that 300 page book into 1,000 words of notes. I add these to the notes that I had taken as well.

I still do not capture everything from the 40+ books and 200+ podcasts I consume each year, but I get the big things that really matter to me and I will eventually get a solid a system in place to where I can recall bits of this content while I am writing articles or books more clearly.

What tricks do you do that I am missing here?

For book recommendations: