Time is at a premium for all of us, especially as we seek the elusive work-life balance. Though we may have the best of intentions, finding the time to read a full-length book can sometimes seem daunting. “I just don’t have time to read a whole book!” was the number one reason I heard from co-workers who were genuinely interested in participating in our employer’s pro book club but didn’t.
Then a couple of months ago, I stumbled across a little blurb in the April 2015 issue of Real Simple Magazine about a book club in Kentucky that came up with a unique solution to the problem of members not having enough time to read the book: they switched to long-form magazine articles instead. And it occurred to me, this could absolutely be applied to reading for professional development as well!
If time is an impediment to participation in your pro book club, why not try changing the focus of your group from full length books to shorter form writings or alternate media? Agree to read a long-form magazine article or to listen to an episode of a relevant podcast and discuss that instead. Decreasing the time commitment may just increase participation.
Following are some suggestions for source materials:
- Trade journals or industry publications in your field.
- Long-form journalism. Perhaps start with Longreads, an aggregator for long-form stories on the web.
- Blogs related to your field.
- TED Talks relevant to your work.
- Podcasts related to your field, or more general professional development-related podcasts. Here are a few favorites I always have on rotation:
Time is definitely the number one obstacle to a successful pro book club, so if you’re having difficulty committing to reading entire books, why not give short-form materials a try.