In the previous post, I've already mentioned how reading as a hobby is attributed to introverts. However, I also highlighted about the 9 scientific facts related to book reading and its impact on improving our lives. I sincerely hope that it was a pitched with a pinch to convince some of you to start reading books. In this post, we will be discussing whether reading books can make you more productive. Let us now assess can reading books impact your productivity.
We all must have observed the changes brought by the technological advances with smartphones becoming a part of our lives. Nowadays, it is quite common to see people glued to their smartphones while commuting to the schools, colleges or offices. What is more surprising is that with easy accessibility and simplicity of games on smartphones, most of the users have become gamers. What a shame that nearly a decade ago, people who were commuting would be glued with a book or newspapers in their hands but now it has been replaced by smartphone gamers. Very few people now spend their time reading books which is why most of them are missing out the benefits of reading books.
Being an avid reader, I am biased on reading than gaming on smartphone devices. However, with this post, I'll try my best convincing you to read books. Besides an enjoyable pastime, reading books have positive impact on productivity, creativity, focus and emotional well-being.
Reading Books Increase Empathy
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University discovered that your imagination while reading is quite similar to an athlete's muscle memory while thinking about playing sports. While reading, your brain's reaction puts you in somebody else's shoes which is why it increases your empathy. In a 2013 study, it was concluded that when people reading fiction become emotionally invested in the story, their emotions are transported into what they are currently reading. Ultimately, they become empathetic. This is unique to reading fiction because it is easy for a person to relate to another individual character than a non-fictional statistic or analysis. In other words, people are more likely to respond to charitable donations when learning about the sufferings of an individual than a mass group of people needing help.
So, reading books is a great way to understand another point of view that you wouldn't otherwise have access to. By reading more books, you can put yourself in an entirely different world and take your imagination to places that you'd never experience otherwise. Though reading non-fiction is informative and educational, reading fiction creates a better understanding of other people. Stay tuned to learn more about Reading Fiction Vs. Non-Fiction in my upcoming posts.
Reading Books Improve Focus
With the easy availability and accessibility to so much online content- blogs, news, tweets, it is great to stay informed about the world and industry events. But when it comes to reading a novel, you get something extra- improved focus. This is because with no hyperlinks, emails, chats or other notifications competing for your attention, reading books need undivided focus. This uninterrupted way of reading is conducive to deep reading which means, slow, rich in sensory detail, immersive and emotional and moral complexity which is more than just decoding words on a page.
A completely immersive deep reading skill needs to be practiced, which is quite challenging while reading on the web. As per a 2006 study, most people read on screens do so in an "F" pattern- which means that they read the first sentence on the page in full but then read less and less of each of the subsequent sentence.
Reading books with no distractions or hyperlinks forces the reader to focus and read each and every line in full. This allows for great concentration with better reading comprehension. The focus you develop with deep reading is especially important to you if you do jobs requiring long periods of reading complicated texts. This is because it helps you to easily process what you are reading. So, the more books you read, the more you'll be able to improve your attention and focus and the better your reading comprehension.
Reading Books Reduce Stress
There are many ways to reduce stress such as drinking tea, listening to music or exercising. Though different activities work best for different people, reading may actually be better for relaxation than all those activities. According to 2009 study conducted by MindLab International at the University of Sussex, it was revealed that reading reduces stress by 68% as compared to listening to music and taking a walk at 61% and 42% respectively. As per cognitive neuropsychologist Dr. David Lewis, who conducted this experiment, it really doesn't matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a completely engrossing book you can escape from all the worries and stress of everyday world. Reading is more than a mere distraction but an active engaging of the imagination. It doesn't just distract you from your stress but engages and absorbs your attention by putting your brain into a pleasurable trance such as a state quite similar to mediation. So, reading brings in the same health benefits of deep relaxation and inner calm.
Moreover, reading a book before bed can make you sleep better. According to sleep experts, avoid bright lights before bed as it signals the brain that it's time to be awake. So, reading a book before bed is an alternative that relaxes you and the lack of light will allow your brain to prepare for sleep. To outline, you are in a win-win situation with reduced stress and a good night's sleep.
The next time you start feeling stressed or burnout at work, you just have to grab a book to read and lose yourself in a different world.
Reading Books Boost Creativity and Productivity
Reading books will not only help to improve your personal goals, but it is also good for your business. This is because empathy is a quality for a good leader and inspire your team to reach their full protentional. Also, empathy is necessary to connect with your customers- as the more understanding you are to their needs, the more they'll trust your brand.
Opening yourself up to new experiences and emotions through book reading helps you to come up with creative, unique business solutions. Reading books with different characters and points of views open your mind to new ideas as well. All in all, reading helps to boost your creativity and productivity which will be a good support to your career life.
I hope that I have given you some motivation to get off your couch binge watching TV and start reading. I am curious to hear your perspective and how reading books has impacted your life and career. Don't forget to share your thoughts.