Reading has always been an important ingredient to my professional and personal growth. But like most people these days, I am finding it harder and harder to make time for. Work has few boundaries. I have family responsibilities. Taking care of myself physically is a priority to juggle. 

I do listen to audiobooks while cycling and cross country skiing as a way to juggle more effectively. It’s better than nothing and keeps me learning. But it’s a poor replacement to traditional reading. It’s too easy to space out and miss nuanced points. And you don’t get that same sense of connection with the author’s thinking. And it is this depth of thinking and connection that I crave. 

Here’s how I have been using Focusable to help me get the energy to keep reading.

It’s usually at the end of the day, I am tired and I need some boost to make it happen. 
I open up Focusable and start a Recharge Activity. For this, I usually pick a box breathing exercise. It’s a good way to get my energy levels up just a bit. I’ve also found the Power Blink exercise helps me, speeding up my mental clock a few ticks. Then I swipe to Refocus and start the Pulse timer. 

In this case, instead of using the 5 minute Pulse timer that I typically use as a short momentum building goal for longer work, I adjust the timer to 10 minutes and use it as a short finish line. 

If I am reading on my phone, I’ll close Focusable – letting the activity keep running in the background and open up my Kindle app to start reading. If it’s a physical book, I’ll just leave the app open and running next to me as a reminder to stay focused. Either way, I know Focusable will send me a notification when the Pulse timer is up. 

Oftentimes, I’ll just stop reading when the alarm goes off at the end of 10 minutes. If my energy is still low, that’s enough. If I get immersed in that amount of time, I’ll read more. 

For reading, I rarely complete a Focusable activity with a video recording. I only do when there’s some ‘aha’ I want to remember or to share with someone else in a Focusable group.  

Here’s an example of my Focusable activity from some reading I did the other night on a business trip (I was reading Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History and The Last Man). 

While 10 minutes isn’t a mind-blowing amount of reading time, it is enough to get the peace of mind that I am continuing to learn and grow. And if it occasionally leads to a more sustained reading session, that’s the real gift Focusable opens up for me.