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MARGINALIA: How to have daily ‘luxury of time’ for reading (Part 1 of 2)

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MAKATI CITY (MindaNews / 22 February) – When I shared last January 31 the list of my first purchased books this year, I received a comment from a Facebook friend, lamenting about her lack of time for reading:

“I wish I have that luxury of time to read relevant books.”

Perhaps thinking that I might have already read all the books on the list, another friend asked, “Very impressive list. You read in one month?”

The reality is that I’m exactly like you and anybody else. Because of our daily loads, we have always that “scarcity” of time for reading books. But within that “scarcity,” we can be able to look for ways to find sufficient “luxury” of time for reading.

As Bapa Gharib, the ever-smiling sage of Tangguapo, would remind us, SU MASLA A LALAG NA MUKIT SA MANOT-A LALAN or “The big willpower shall traverse even a narrow path” (‘MBAYUKA TANU!, pp. 43-44).

In other words, “If there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Here, for the first time, I’ll share with you how I’m getting two hours EXTRA time daily and thereby make it 26 HOURS instead of 24!

Just kidding…

What I’ll share with you are five proven tips on getting that “luxury of time” within my daily “scarcity”:

  1. Visualize what you will get from reading
  2. Set your date with your darling
  3. Read pages instead of feeds during transit
  4. Say ‘talaq’ to your phone
  5. Turn your street monster into a mobile school

Let us deal with them one by one.

  1. Visualize What You will Get from Reading

The first tip to get that coveted “luxury” of time is visualization.

This will only take one or two minutes to imagine what you will feel after getting the benefits of reading books:

Firing your boss. Getting promoted. Enhanced knowledge on a particular field. Learning new skills every month. Improved grammar and reading speed. And what have you.

By imagining any of this happy ending, you’re in reality letting your brain’s amygdala – an almond-shaped mass of nuclei in the frontal lobe – release a rush of the neurotransmitter dopamine, the pleasure chemical.

By doing so, you will get the necessary motivation or push to spend those precious minutes for reading so as to achieve any of what you just imagined benefit of reading.

As I mentioned in pages 50-51 of MUSLIM COUPLE AND MONEY: 8 PRACTICAL FINANCIAL TIPS FOR NEWLYWED MUSLIM COUPLE, more fundamental than investment in money is investment in oneself:

“Be that as it may, don’t forget the primary investment you have which is no other than yourself; yes, yourself. That is, you need to invest in yourself; you need to invest in the enhancement of your knowledge and skills in everything you have exceptional talent and are passionate about. In short, this is what they call “financial literacy.”

“If you want to engage in business, know the nuts and bolts of the type of business you want to enter into. It is not a guarantee that the fact that your neighbor is successful in that business, you will also become successful. She may be well-versed in the said business while you don’t have sufficient knowledge of it. Never venture into any business you are not familiar with.

“If you do food business, don’t allow yourself to be hijacked or at the mercy of your chef for his having the monopoly of knowledge of the recipes of your customers’ all-time favorite menus. Know the recipes of all your menus!”

In other words, allotting a few minutes of your daily time for reading is actually an investment in your own self.

This visualization technique is what Stephen Covey calls “to begin with the end in mind” as the second habit in his classic THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE: POWERFUL LESSONS IN PERSONAL CHANGE.

If you want to dive deep into this trick, read CREATIVE VISUALIZATION by Shakti Gawain.

  1. Set Your Date with Your Darling

Reward yourself for the good things you have done for the day.

Which reward? Money? Food? Precious item? No.

Reward yourself with a date. What?

Yes, reward yourself with a date with your darling.

Reward yourself with an exclusive 30-minute date with your darling book of the day.

What I do is to set this date before sleeping.

Yes, I can almost hear you saying, “What! Thirty minutes are too long!”

In that case, then just allot 15 minutes for that date.

Yes, you read it correctly – just 15 MINUTES.

As James Clear clearly explains in his bestselling ATOMIC HABITS, what is important is the gradual building of a tiny good habit, which will eventually yield remarkable results.

In fact, by maintaining 15 solid minutes, you can finish reading approximately 5 to 10 pages every night, and you can finish reading an average-sized book in a month.

And at the end of 2022, you can finish reading a minimum of 12 books.

What? 12 books?!

Yes, 12 books or more.

You can do that, by doing these two tricks along with three others, which we will discuss next time, insha’ Allah, as my regular date with my darling is about to begin now in an hour or two.

(To be continued…)

[MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Mansoor L. Limba, PhD in International Relations, is a writer, university professor, blogger, chess trainer, and translator (from Persian into English and Filipino) with tens of written and translation works to his credit on such subjects as international politics, history, political philosophy, intra-faith and interfaith relations, cultural heritage, Islamic finance, jurisprudence (fiqh), theology (‘ilm al-kalam), Qur’anic sciences and exegesis (tafsir), hadith, ethics, and mysticism. He can be reached at mlimba@diplomats.com, or http://www.mlimba.com and http://www.muslimandmoney.com, and his books can be purchased at www.elzistyle.com and www.amazon.com/author/mansoorlimba.]

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