One of my classmates in graduate school once commented in class, “I am overloaded with information — everything is just coming at me on TV, radio, etc.” In response, our professor said, “I don’t watch TV — there really isn’t anything good on there anyway. I read dozens of books a year, I read 5 newspapers a day, I seek information out, instead of waiting for it to come to me.”
I was really impressed, and for some reason, his words always stuck with me. But how do you do this? How do you find time to read more books, read more newspapers, and actively seek to be informed? I recently came across a great blogpost by Seth Godin that talks about where to find time to do these things:
“1. Delete 120 minutes a day of ‘spare time’ from your life. This can include TV, … commuting, wasting time in social networks and meetings. Up to you.
2. Spend the 120 minutes doing this instead:
- Exercise for thirty minutes.
- Read relevant non-fiction (trade magazines, journals, business books, blogs, etc.)
- Send three thank you notes.
- Learn new digital techniques (spreadsheet macros, Firefox shortcuts, productivity tools, graphic design, html coding)
- Blog for five minutes about something you learned.
- Give a speech once a month about something you don’t currently know a lot about.”
3. Spend at least one weekend day doing absolutely nothing but being with people you love.
If you somehow pulled this off, then six months from now, you would be the fittest, best rested, most intelligent, best funded and motivated person in your office or your field. You would know how to do things other people don’t, you’d have a wider network and you’d be more focused.
My professor, always had the most amazing ideas to improve and create great experiences. I always wondered where his brilliance came from — and I think at least in part, it came from the time he spent improving what’s inside his head.