On defaults, deadlines, and strategic reading

On defaults Though I don't remember what I told you, I am positive that I've written to you about defaults. What are those currently for you? Rather, what should they be? For one, reading should always be at the top of the list. In the last 24 hours, if you would have spent all of your distracted minutes on reading, you would've finished the book you are currently on. Alas, you didn't. What about writing? You have another project to work on and you know how you can make progress on it—why don't you do that? You have to be proactive in these things. Set your goals early and stick to them. You are setting a rhythm, much like a boxer does at the beginning of the fight. Start with a game plan, get hit, maintain your rationality, and win a fight. If you fail to set the rhythm and stick to it and control the pace of the fight, you will become wore down slowly but surely. The best boxers are so well trained that even in their most tired moments, they default to an exceptional game plan and style of fighting. This is what you must do in your fight against sloth and distractions.

On deadlines I've seen you read books in hours—not days—and soak up every bit of information they have. On the other hand, I've seen you take two months to read a single book and retain little of the information. The books I've seen read fast are not even captivating, per se. They are not Pulitzer prize winners or exceptionally written. The difference is that you have a deadline. With Daniel Coyle's The Culture Code, you gave yourself until the following morning to read the book, and everything else that you had to do completely fell away. As if it never existed in the first place. I recommend you set yourself more of these deadlines, but take care that they aren't extreme. If you set yourself lofty goals and never meet them, you'll get used to this version of failure and desensitize yourself to it. On the other hand, if you set tiny goals that don't mean much, you won't have achieved anything in the end. If your deadlines are realistic but challenging, they will push you to do great things, such as read books with amazing speed and clarity.

On strategic reading What do you need to know right now? What one book would change the way you function forever after reading it? That's the one you should be reading. By looking to the knowledge you need at any given time, you will have a strategy for the things you learn rather than a mere taste. Perhaps you need to become a better writer right now—get through a book which helps with that, write down your lessons, and immediately apply them. In this way, you will keep your reading consistently on-topic and useful.