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

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(Last of two parts)

MAKATI CITY (MindaNews / 07 March) Aside from (1) visualizing the benefits you will get from reading and (2) setting an exclusive, regular date with your darling book, there are three other tips and tricks we can utilize in order to get that coveted ‘luxury of time’ for reading. 

Let’s also deal with them one at a time.

3. Read Pages Instead of Feeds during Transit 

You have ever experienced standing or sitting in a queue to enter a bank or a grocery store? Or, waiting for your other co-workers in a face-to-face or online meeting? Or, waiting for your turn in a clinic for consultation? Or, waiting for your co-traveler as she’s still dressing up for another 30 minutes or so?

These are transit times.

What do we do during such moments? Yes, we usually scroll down our Facebook newsfeed or that of any other favorite social media platforms. Instead of reading a printed book, we tend to check our friend’s morning ritual. Instead of reading an eBook, we tend to look for our neighbor’s viand at lunch. Instead of reading a journal article, we tend to stalk on our rival’s latest activity. 

Just recently, I had to line up for five hours to be able to rebook a cancelled flight at the onset of the Omicron Surge in the country. What did I do? I opened the bookmarked page of THE STORYTELLER’S SECRET by Carmine Gallo (https://amzn.to/3KMqv7T) and commenced a surprise “date with my darling.” In the end, apart from getting my needed rebooking, I was able to finish reading more than 50 pages of the book. Not bad. 

It’s important to note that before commencing this surprise date, I turned off my smartphone’s Wi-Fi and mobile data connection so that no social media notification will pop up. 

If you want to explore further other smart ways to make use of your transit times, grab a copy of TIME MANAGEMENT by Brian Tracy, https://amzn.to/3rwvd20

4. Say ‘Talaq’ to Your Phone

Just before the global lockdowns in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I was then in a regional Buddhist-Muslim dialogue workshop in Jakarta, Indonesia. Just few minutes at the beginning of the second session, our facilitator who is a world-renowned interreligious and intercultural dialogue trainer and facilitator made a ‘postscript’ house rule something to the effect: 

“I would like to ask everyone to say ‘talaq’ to your mobile phone for a while. After the session, I don’t care if you kiss it many times.”  (‘Talaq’ is the Arabic word for ‘divorce.’)

Obviously, the reason for this ‘postscript’ house rule was that our facilitator had noticed from the first session that many of us were busy with our palm-sized gadget while the workshop proceeding was going on. It was meant to momentarily get away with a major distraction. 

“How about if there’s an emergency way back home? How about if there’s an urgent message from my boss?” one may ask in protest.

Don’t worry; if there’s really an emergency, they will call via your regular mobile phone line. And if ever there’s an urgent message in any social media platform, don’t worry again, for I’m sure it’s not a matter of life and death. After an hour or two, you can fully attend to it.

If you want to know about the nuts and bolts of this ‘divorcing’ technique, then the best reference I know of is no other than DIGITAL MINIMALISM by Cal Newport, https://amzn.to/3uuSYcC.  

I have a warning, though. Once internalized, DIGITAL MINIMALISM will change the way you look at the social media platforms – in a positive way.  

5. Turn Your Street Monster into a Mobile School

We do travel a lot – especially prior to the pandemic. We do spend a great amount of time – many hours daily – while mounting our street monster, or on board a flying tube. 

If we’re on board that giant air taxi, there’s no problem for we can comfortably read books – except in times of air turbulence. 

How about if we are mounting a street beast? Once it’s running, admittedly it’s difficult to engage in reading. 

The good news is that we have now “1,000 songs in your pocket,” in the words of Steve Jobs when he introduced the original iPod (TALK LIKE TED, https://amzn.to/3ubA6z9). In the case of books, we have now audiobooks which we can devour even while your highway animal is moving. 

In the words of Brian Tracy in his bestselling TIME POWER (https://amzn.to/35uyrux),  

“Develop the habit of listening to audio programs in your car when you drive from place to place. Audio listening has been called, ‘the greatest breakthrough in education since the printing press.’ With audio listening you can become one of the best-educated people… You do this by simply turning driving time into ‘learning time’.”

In other words, learn while driving. Learn while taking a ride. Make your daily commute as a class session. In short, turn your street monster into a mobile school.

In summary, by observing these five tips and tricks, every day I have been able to curb significant minutes – and sometimes an hour or two – for reading. No doubt, you, too, can do it. Try for a month and let me know.

[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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