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Recently I have become a frequent user of Public Transit – and though I am not surprised by the number of people who are glued to their smartphones- what really surprises me is the sheer number of commuters who only play games on their phones.

Many years ago, when I was taking the transit, most people were either reading a novel or the newspaper. But looks like technology is changing all that. Maybe the games are easily accessible and they are simpler, so there are more gamers – I don’t know.

I do not want to make this a rant on how people are reading less and less these days – I wanted to talk about how reading (non-fiction) will boost your productivity.

Let’s get to it. Here are some of the key benefits of reading non-fiction.

1. Increased Motivation

There is a direct relationship between Workplace Productivity and Motivation. The more motivated you are about what you do for a living, the more you want to get to work, and the more work you want to be done.

I read lots of business & sales books; Most of these books provide specific examples of how someone overcame a complicated sales situation; or how a particular business owner/sales rep was able to break into a key account, and so on. When I am reading this, I actually feel motivated and it improves my productivity. It makes me want to apply those strategies to my business.

In fact, it makes me excited to get to work and start applying some ideas. Let’s face it, Sales could become a grind and you can easily lose motivation. Reading helps me stay motivated. And when you are motivated to get to work and do your job, I don’t need to convince you that there will be more work done from you. Isn’t that an increase in productivity?

2. New Ideas

Reading about Richard Branson

The majority of North Americans read only one book a year. That is pretty sad, given the fact they spend about 30 hours a week watching TV, and most of that time watching depressing news or reality TV (which ain’t real by the way). How many valuable ideas are you getting out of watching TV? I suggest you spend a portion of that time, say 30 minutes a day at least (or 3.5 hours a week) on reading something related to your specific field/career; read books on personal development; read self-help books (you don’t have to be messed up to read self-help).

Each book comes with ideas on improving your productivity, your career, and definitely your personal life. Let’s say with that 30 minutes of reading you gain one new idea a day. That’s 365 new ideas a year. Those ideas will help you perform your tasks better, more efficiently & effectively.

3. Upward Mobility

Numerous studies have proven that leaders are readers. Now, if you are contempt & happy where you are & you want to stay that way- I totally understand and respect that, it is your choice (and it is your career). But if you want to be in control of your destiny & your career or want to get promoted, reading is one of the best things you can do for yourself. I once read that the average CEO reads 5 books a month. These are typically the people who work about 60 to 70 hours a week, and yet they make it a priority to read.

How do they get the time? This is very important to them so they make time to read. Perhaps, that is the reason – they started at the bottom and moved to the top. I am yet to read about a C-level executive, who mentions that he/she reached the top by watching TV.

Call to Action

Here is what I suggest you should do if you want to become an avid reader (and improve your productivity).

1. Getting started 

Get a Kindle or a Library Card. If you are not a reader, this would be a logical first step. Visit a book store or library and just browse around. I am sure you will find something that you want to read. OR visit Amazon.com and browse the books- that should get you started.

An Entrepreneur Reading Business News

2. Depth

The more you know about your field, the more motivated you are to thrive in that profession, the more effort you will put into it, and the more successful you will become. I work in Sales, so I read tons of books in Sales & marketing – it keeps me sharp and motivated. I have once heard that reading 5 books in one particular topic establishes yourself as an expert in that field. Wow!!

3. Breadth

 I encourage you to get exposed to multiple genres. We have a tendency to stick with one genre or one author. When you expose yourself to multiple authors, you gain different perspectives, you become more pragmatic (rather than narrow-minded). You are exposed to ideas you never thought of before. When I was younger I only used to read fiction (Sidney Sheldon was my favorite). I once stumbled across a book by Joe Girard on selling (and this changed my life). Since then I was fascinated by sales and I wanted to be in that profession. And I have no regrets about my career choice. If I hadn’t been exposed to the book & author, I would have never found out what was an ideal career for me.

I hope I have given you some motivation & the rationale & facts, to get off your couch and start reading (specifically non-fiction). I have given you examples of how reading has positively impacted my life and improved my productivity. Now, I am curious to hear your perspective. How has reading impacted your life and career? Share your thoughts.

Written By
Nissar Ahamed is the Founder & CEO of CareerMetis.com. He is also the host of The Career Insider Podcast and the co-host of The C.A.R.E. Podcast

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