Someone reading a book
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Reading as an academic

on
2021-12-17

Recently I stumbled upon an article by Astrid Schmölzer (@AstridSchmolzer) about “Academic reading and the curse of staying on top of literature“. This article made me think about how much I should read and if what I already do is enough. Reading as an academic can be challenging, considering the limited time we have. I therefore started gamifying it!

The article by the blog Bouldering Epigrammetry offers some insights in reading strategies and how the author balances reading and academic live. Because let’s be real: if you are an academic, you could easily spend the whole day reading, without ever finishing what is out there to absorb. But of course this is not possible. We therefore have to select what we read and organise time to read it. But how much time is the right amount?

How it started

Let’s back up. Confession time! When I was a student back in the days, I only read what I needed to, because… well, I was a student! Nevertheless, the amount of reading was still not bad. I reckon during the week I read about a half to one hour a day, just to get the things done that I needed to. At the end of my studies, shortly before the final exams, I was actually reading more like 4 hours a day, because I panicked and wanted to be prepared.

After I finished my degree, I was done. I was so exhausted, that I honestly didn’t read anything anymore. As I was creating my own company, I was busy anyway. So I just stopped reading at all to be honest. Later, when I was starting my PhD, I was also starting reading again, but again only what I needed to. Until I started gamifying everything. Today I read nearly every day, sometimes one hour, sometimes 2-3. In addition, I do not only read what I have to, but also what just interests me.

How its going

Someone reading a book
Reading is so relaxing | Photo by Blaz Photo on Unsplash

So how did I gamify reading? Well for starters, I began to write down what I read. Only a list that grows, year after year. Sometimes I also write some excerpts, but most of the time, I simply make a Goodreads list of what I read. I also have a private list in Notion where I rate the books I read and also how long it took me to read them. By calculating a “page-per-week”-quotient, I can see which books read fast and which slow (normally, this is corresponding with my ratings).

Another big part of my gamification is this blog. I started to summarise books I liked and bring them to you through a dedicated post. I even have an own category for this: Book Review. This motivates me actually to read books and articles that I usually would not have read otherwise.

All in all, this is what I have done to find time and motivation for reading. Also: new book reviews are coming up next year!

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Sebastian Hageneuer
Germany

Hi! My name is Sebastian. I am an archaeologist, a university lecturer, freelancer, guitarist, karateka and father. You could say I am quiet busy, so I learned to manage my time and energy to build good habits and still have space for myself and my family. Sounds difficult? Read here how I do it. Every Friday.

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