Make a start. Keep going. Don’t give in.

You have twenty books you want to read/study, but you’re overwhelmed, you don’t know where to begin, or you keep going over the same material. Here’s something I’m doing at the moment that’s working for me. Try it.

Some rules:

  • Go through each book from the start to the finish.
  • Make a start! Open a book and turn to page 1.
  • When you finish a page or two, don’t close the book. Leave it face-up on the page where you’re at.
  • When you reach an impasse or get bored with one thing, move on to another book.
  • Keep going. Use little snatches of time to read on, or work on a small idea until you’re ready to move on.

What works for me is seeing the pile of books as an open loop (to coin a phrase from David Allen); a tangible representation of what I’m working on. And, where I am with it. If I were to close a book and put it back on the shelf, then there’s always the possibility that I might let it drift off and forget about it. There’s something about leaving a book open that moves me forward; likewise, turning a page. There’s something about closing a book that allows me to close down to it. So I’m using this as a way of tricking myself into carrying on; keeping going; not giving in.