A guidebook is an awesome interactive tool for learning new skills and gaining inspiration for your work and your team. However, leaders in dynamic, fast-paced organizations have to carefully budget their time and finding time to start reading and implementing something new can seem challenging. Our time is so important. How do we decide whether to invest our time in reading a new book or learning something new? I thought I would share a few insights about how I decide whether to invest the time in reading a guidebook to learn something new and how I stay on track throughout the process.

Why invest time in working through a guidebook?  

Just like any investment, deciding to make your way through a book, a course, or a guidebook takes dedication. There are many reasons for working through a guidebook but I’ll provide three potential reasons here. One may be that you aim to improve your work in that specific area or field. What are you looking to improve in your own work and life? How do you think this book or course will help you do that? It’s kind of like setting basic expectations. You can even write your intention or expectation down on a Post-it note and place it on the cover or inside cover of the book to remind you. This gives you incentive for making it through the whole thing and an intention to look back on. After reading, you can look back on it and ask yourself if you made your best effort to work through the book and if the book did or didn’t provide that value you were looking to gain. Another great reason to invest time in reading is to learn something new. You may not have specific expectations for how it will change your day-to-day work after you read it; you might just be curious about the subject and feel there’s something interesting to discover. Curiosity is always a fantastic reason to begin a book or course. Why are you curious about it? What do you aim to learn by reading the book or taking the course? Maybe ask your self why you’re curious about the subject before you begin. This intention will keep you going. Finally, another reason is to experience and try something new. Even if you aren’t close to the topic or don’t have an immediate application in your day-to-day life, maybe it’s something you aspire to try or you just want an afternoon changeup to grab a coffee and read something completely new and inspiring. Turn off the tech and grab a book or a guidebook and work through it. From experience, I can tell you that it’s refreshing and inspiring.

What’s the best way to work through a guidebook and stay on track?

Once you have decided that you want to work through the guidebook, for one of the reasons above or for a reason all your own, it’s often easy to get off track. Sometimes, it’s difficult to begin because we don’t know how to consistently work through the guidebook. It feels like looking up a steep mountain with no clearly marked path. To begin a guidebook, always skim the book first. Look how many sections or chapters there are and look in the Introduction or Appendices to see if the author has notes on how to approach the guidebook. In Awake Leadership, I provide a suggested schedule for working through the guidebook in the Appendices. However, take it at your own pace. Some readers have told me they worked through a section of the guidebook as a mid-day break at work each day. Some have brought it on the plane. Some have told me they took a few weekend afternoons to sit outside in the park or in a coffee shop and dive into multiple sections in one sitting.

After starting, we often get distracted or life comes in and we don’t follow through for one reason or another. When this happens, always return to your intention or that initial reason for deciding to read and work through the book in the first place. Always spend time reflecting on how the process is going and on how you can apply it in your day-to-day life.

A final note, or incentive, is that since many people don’t invest the time in learning new things, this will set you apart from the crowd. Step out and learn something new. Investing a few hours in learning something new, through a guidebook or a course, often results in saving hundreds of more valuable hours of work on the other side. Your work hours also become more valuable and productive as you gain new skills. In other words, you emerge with insights for working smarter, not harder. Give it a try and see for yourself!

Thanks for reading! I hope this helps you decide to invest your time in learning something new that interests you and will also elevate your work and your leadership! If you decide that you’re ready to begin your Awake Leadership journey, you can begin here or find out more about the guidebook here.

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