Overcoming Reading Overwhelm
You have probably read statistics about how much information we have coming at us — through books, recordings, newspapers, message boards, social media, billboards, online newsletters, advertisements at grocery stores, etc. You know it can be quite overwhelming. Here are 10 ideas for overcoming reading and information overwhelm.
- Eliminate at least one magazine or professional journal to which you currently subscribe or purchase on a weekly/monthly basis. Either click unsubscribe or toss any of the reminders you get to renew.
- Go through your physical mail while standing next to the wastebasket &/or recycling bin.
- For one week (or even one month!) throw away EVERY SINGLE catalog you receive. Given that you also receive “catalogs” via email, unsubscribe or set a rule that the immediately go to trash.
- If you start reading or listening to a book and it doesn’t “grab” you, close it and give the book away or return it.
- Recognize that there are “seasons” in your reading. What season are you in? If you’re finding that some of what you’re reading is jarring to you, then stop reading from that category. As I say often, “You do you.” Don’t worry about what other people think you should or shouldn’t read.
- Set aside time each day (or week) to read.
- Purchase software that will support your reading needs. Digital readers, Audible, programs that read aloud from your screen…all available. Find them and learn how to use them if it makes sense for you and the season of reading you’re in.
- For heaven’s sake, learn to read faster! I’ve taught this for over 35 years (my PhD is in Reading Education and Linguistics and I used the research to figure out how I could read faster in graduate school and then realized I should be teaching other people, too). There are strategies to help you read faster — and remember more! These were some of my favorite workshops to teach because people were so surprised at the difference in their comprehension as they sped up. And to teach high school and college students these strategies — what a blast. It was rather magical.
- Start a “Read” folder and only allow it to become a certain size and then carry your “Read” folder with you. The same holds true for a folder in your email. Put things to read in that folder and clear it once a week. If you haven’t been able to make the time to read the newsletter, report, short story, or whatever within a week, you’re not going to find time next week.
- Gently but firmly refuse what others are offering you to read. You do you, remember?
If you are willing to take one, two, or even all ten of the actions offered here, then you WILL overcome the overwhelm! It’s your decision about whether you want to immediately implement these ideas that will keep you from having too much to read. It really is your choice and your choices will make a difference that is immediately noticeable.
Here’s a longer free publication you’re welcome to access: