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Singular priority

I started the year with a goal of reading one book a week. With the understanding that I wouldn't let this influence my way of picking what books I read to favour only those that are under a certain page limit, thus making this task easier. And to make the point clear, I started the year by choosing to read Ayn Rand's Fountainhead, which being twice the size of a typical book with smaller than average print, took me three weeks to complete.

But, over the year, I made up time on some books that I read in under a week and lost time to some others that I read in over a week.

And ten months later, at the end of October, my tally for the year so far was thirty nine books, when forty four weeks had elapsed. And the next set of books that I had chosen to read weren't the kind that I could easily finish in under a week, the first of which was the thousand-page biography of Mahatma Gandhi.

So, in the eight weeks that remained, it looked as though I would fall behind a few more weeks, reaching an optimistic total of forty-five books for the year.

So, as I sat down to plan for the week ahead, I decided to make this my number one priority.

While fifty-two books for the year (one a week) is one of my targets for the year, there are at least ten others that I started the year with, which I also need to make progress towards. But, my weekly planning still reflected an even paced progress towards each of these goals rather than accounting for the fact that I was behind on some of them.

The decision to make it my number one priority changed only one thing for the week. Any time during the week that I was free, I would dedicate it to reading. Simple as that.

Previously, I would plan to read an hour a day and would meet it. And beyond that, after I had completed my other planned tasks, if I had any free time, I would make a spur of the moment decision on what to do in that time, which only occasionally came down to reading. But with this change, all that free time would now be dedicated to reading.

I have been doing this for two weeks now and my reading speed has more than doubled as compared to the weeks before that. And now, I'm more confident of meeting the target of fifty-two books by the end of the year (which is still a stretch, by the way).

And this hasn't come at the expense of anything else that I had planned for and the other goals that I am also progressing towards. Instead, it came at the expense of going out, making phone calls, spending time on social media, etc.

The results have been so promising that this is a technique I will now incorporate into my permanent routine. For every week, along with the regular planning that I do, I will determine one priority task - like reading has been the past two weeks. And any free time that I get during the week, I will dedicate to that task.

I was originally afraid that I might get jaded by spending more time on one specific task which could reduce the efficacy of the task itself. But, in reality, it has had a reverse effect. I have been more enthused about reading than in the previous weeks.

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