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Using Trello to Track and Manage your Reading

Trello is a project management tool that has been gaining in popularity in part because of its simplicity, speed and flexibility. Projects are categorized by boards which contain lists and those lists in turn contain cards. These cards can have attachments, checklists, comments, team member assignment, labels and more.

Trello’s flexibility and easy of use allows for it to be used in many ways. One way in which I am using trello is to manage my reading workflow. I wrote about ways that I’ve discovered how to read more and smarter and trello has been a vital component. I use trello to keep take down book recommendations from various sources such as friends, podcasts, blogs etc.

I can keep track of my reading queue to stay in a consistent cycle of books to read. Planning ahead on what to read next can help reduce decision overload or lack of direction which can lead to inconsistent reading habits ahead you’ve finished one book.
I keep multiple reading category lists to maintain a big picture view of the kinds of books I am reading and which category I am most focused on or should read up more on.

Having a list dedicated to reviews reminds me to maintain active thought and criticism on the book I’m reading. I add comments to the card based on various weaknesses or strengths I want to highlight.

Once you read start to read a lot more books, it can be difficult to remember all the material within them after a while. I use a flag note system to mark important areas and then I go back and enter in notes after or in-between reading. I use the notes list to keep track of books I am currently taking notes on. After I’ve taking notes rated and reviewed the book, publicly or privately I then move the card to finished.

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You are a Rocketship, This is how you blast off

One of the most important lessons I learned early on was that if you truly value the future, most of your focus should be in the Now. A simple statement, yet we often find our minds shackled by actions of the past or pulled on by a future that hasn’t arrived, leaving you with little focus to be in the present. I will show you how I continue to move fast with an organized and productive life with a big emphasis on the present using timelines and a system.

The most important preliminary to the task of arranging one’s life so that one may live fully and comfortably within one’s daily budget of twenty-four hours is the calm realization of the extreme difficulty of the task, of the sacrifices and the endless effort which it demands.
- Arnold Bennett, How to Live on Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Fortunately, living a fulfilling, organized and productive life is easier than planning a mission to space. Getting a space mission off the ground follows a number of objectives and principles that can be learned from. A space mission could include a  technical, scientific or political objective and other synergies.  A personal mission would include the mental/intellectual, physical, spiritual, emotional growth objectives of an individual in addition to other areas of purpose or passion.

In a mission to space there is the preparation, planning and design which include: space mission objectives, search and training of flight crew, designing of a spacecraft, collaboration of multi-national parties, getting all these moving pieces to work together and operating on very limited budgets. In life we can act effectively through planning and prioritization. Our family and friends are our “flight crew” on our journeys through life as they share love, experiences, connection and a sense of greater purpose. We cultivate different skills and passions, to build, connect, innovate and grow as individuals and a society. We interact and collaborate with multiple people on a day to day basis and learn the importance of communication, listening, empathy or other ways to understand each other. We take risks, explore and learn.

NASA’s mission is a great endeavor to explore the vastness of space and going beyond our perceived reach. As human beings limited by both time and resources we must not be afraid to explore the vastness of our own minds and capabilities.

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Discovering how to love reading, to read more and smarter

While in middle school, at the age of 12, I showed my mother a book I was assigned to read that contained a curse word, playing on her religious and conservative nature, to get me out of doing my summer reading for school after she complained to the teacher.

I hated reading when I was younger because it seemed like I was being “sentenced to read” as a punishment or forced to read something of little importance to my interests. As I grew older, I began to understand the importance of reading for personal development, but I still felt that I didn’t have enough drive or time to read. I also didn’t know where to start and lacked a consistence habit of reading as I experimented with various books.

42cbe36276ab06383d27d404a2d2566c 1 150x150 Discovering how to love reading, to read more and smarterMy interest initially sparked as I realized, no matter what, I could never read as much as I could potentially want to. If I started reading a book a week from age 21, or 52 books a year I would only have read 3068 – 3078 books by the time I was 80 years old, that’s if everything goes smoothly. According to Google in 2010 there were 129,864,880 books published. Realizing this of course created a sense of urgency, awareness and appreciation for the vast information the world has to offer. Even with this information I needed something deeper, I needed to reconcile with the younger me who despised books to uncover how I actually loved reading but was distracted from fulfilling this passion.

Motivation & Purpose

I thought back to things I enjoyed when I was younger. This kind of introspection allowed me to capitalize on passions I’ve had all along but for some reason or another I didn’t connect to reading.

500px Professor X by JJusko 150x150 Discovering how to love reading, to read more and smarterI enjoyed cartoons and comics that tested my imagination and intelligence. One of the shows I enjoyed watching was X-Men for it’s depth of characters with abilities. Some characters that held my interest were Professor X and Jean Grey, who are both telepathic and could control things with their minds as well as read them, among other things. Also Rogue , who had the ability of power absorption and could absorb the powers, knowledge, talents of others and more. Later on in High School I got hooked to the show Heroes and my favorite character in the show was Peter Petrelli, who had the ability to absorb and use the powers of other evolved humans.

We cannot read minds but reading can bring us into the thoughts of past and current generations unearthing knowledge passed down us. All of this captured knowledge and history allow our minds to create things we could of never imagined before. The experiences, feelings, ambitions, talents and history and cultures of people live on and our absorbed in us and we in turn transfer to others. The invention of paper and the printing press later on fundamentally changed the course of history. Knowledge became both freedom and power. We have the power now to evolve even further intellectually as human beings. We don’t have to live in a fantasy to do some pretty extraordinary things.

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2013 Annual Review

I was inspired to publish an annual review by James Clear and Nathan Barry. Following a similar pattern I will be looking at what went well, what went bad and what are some things I will be working over the next year. Overall, I felt it was a very successful year. However, at the rate at which I was moving, I neglected some core pieces of my life as well as over worked myself. Living an aware and more open life, I can work to improve the things that need to be improved and strengthen the positive habits I’ve been able to build. It’s all about balance.

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The Best Books I Read in 2013

Four years ago I decided I wanted to invest more in improving myself and made the effort to maintain a habit of reading everyday. I started slow the first 2 years, reading 8 books each in 2010 & 2011. The next year I started to get my rhythm down and read 18 books in 2012. This year as of this date I’ve read 38 books and I’m on pace to read 40 before New Year years.

A majority of the books I read are non-fiction and are around finance, economics, technology, history, design and psychology. These areas revolve around my passions and now that I have control over what and when I read I am able to be more consistent with my reading and well as find more enjoyment in it. My curiosity for learning all about the world is a life long journey and building the foundation and habits for self-learning from a early age has been vital. Another motivator has been a video by Carl Sagan called How many Books Will You Read in Your Lifetime?  This is a serious question we should all ask ourselves.

Below are a list of books I’ve read that stood out the most and I would recommend to anyone. Continue Reading