habit of reading

This post first appeared on Dave Kraft’s blog. I’ve included here with a few modifications for my followers.

There is no way of getting around it.  Any leader worth his salt knows what he doesn’t know and does something about it. Leaders are life-long learners and one of the best ways that I know of to keep learning is to keep reading. When you stop reading, you stop learning and when you stop learning, you stop leading with effectiveness.

We all have our excuses why we don’t read as much as we say we want to or think we should. The first thing I would say in this regard is get off your “but”

I would love to read more, but…

  • I don’t know what to read or how to read
  • I am a slow reader,
  • I am too busy…just barely keeping up with what is already on my plate.

You will never “find” the time to read. I have never met anyone who was walking down the street and found some time lying there for the taking. We all have the same amount of time as the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or the guy flipping burgers at the local McDonalds…168 hours a week.  You have never had less than that and you will never have more than that, no matter how many times you say to yourself, “I wish I had more time.”  With reading, as with most other important things in your life that you never seem to get to, it is a matter of priorities and values, not time. You will always make time for what you think is truly important.

5 Tips to Build the Habit of Reading

1. Set a specific goal

For over 18 years I have had a goal to read at least two books a month (24 books a year). Recently I discovered that for the last 15 years I have averaged 29 books a year.  This didn’t happen by accident or by wishing. What gets measured, gets done.  Perhaps you should start with a goal to read one book a month and tell someone about your goal. There’s nothing like accountability to keep you moving.

2.  Make Time

To make (not find, as you will not find) time, you will want to decide what you will sacrifice so that you can read. You may want to watch less television, go to bed 30 minutes earlier so you can get up 30 minutes earlier to read, cut some time out of an addictive hobby you have that is eating away at your finite 168 hours a week. If reading is to be a priority for you, you’ll make time for it!

3.  Build the habit with a set routine

Not all routines are bad…(one of the lies of the enemy.)  Find the time of day and days of the week that will work best for you and build a consistent habit to read at those times.  Shut down your computer and turn off your iPad or cell phone so you are not distracted. Find a place that can be your reading place.  Don’t try and read where you normally work.  If you were to faithfully and consistently read just 20-30 minutes a day, consistently, you could finish two 250-300 page books every month. I know it works, for I have been doing this for quite a few  years. During your lunch hour, early in the morning or just before bed are times that have worked for lots of people.

4.  Get recommendations on books to read

I have leaders whom I deeply respect and admire. Some are friends or co-workers and some are authors.  I always have a keen eye open for books they recommend.  I also have 6-10 favorite authors and read anything they write. Ask some of your co-workers or leaders you know what they have been reading recently and get some top-notch recommendations.  I generally don’t read what is on the best sellers’ list or what everyone else may be reading. I have to be motivated.

I read what I am pretty sure I will enjoy and profit from.  When I am reading a magazine article, I always have an eye open for a book that is referenced or highly recommended and, in a couple of minutes, it’s on my iPad. I made the shift from paper to electronic about 6 years ago (but that is a topic for a future article…maybe.)

 5.  Don’t read primarily for entertainment, but for growth

I mostly read to learn and grow as a leader.  It is not that I never read something for the pure joy of read, but the bulk of my reading diet is non-fiction. I love to read business books (just finished the story of In-N-Out Burger), sports-related books (read the story of Duke’s Coach K and Pat Summit of Tennessee’s Lady Vols). But most of my reading is centered on the church and on church leadership as that is where I work and spend lots of my time.

I want to honor Him better in the way I do the work He assigns me. Suffice it to say, you will be more motivated (as you probably were not in school) to read if there is a good reason to read what you read. Follow your hobbies, your interests and your passions as you choose your books.

The biggest waste of time is the waste of time in getting started.


Cash Therapy Roadmap image

We are in the last week of the  Cash Practice Roadmap Pilot Course which began on January 13th. I have a great group of therapists in the first course and they have made great progress towards starting their own cash practice. This course helps students create a clear professional brand and build a solid business foundation to make their practice idea a reality. 

We have therapists from California to New Mexico to New Jersey. A varied group of individuals that are at various stages of building their own practice. It’s been a great time and I’ll fill you in on the lessons I learn from the pilot experience. I’ll be creating a full course later in the year to help therapists launch their very own cash practice.

If you’re interested in the next class please email me at heypaul@paulpotterpt.com and type Cash Practice Roadmap in the subject line. I’ll arrange phone call so I can answer your questions about the next course course.

Get Your Own Copy of On Fire


As therapists we have tremendous opportunity to use our abilites, education and expertise to enhance client’s lives. What a privilege? If your are in the therapy business to serve people, then my new book On Fire: Ignite Your Passion with a Cash Therapy Practice might help you. The healthcare industry has undergone so many changes lately and many therapists are overwhelmed, overworked and confused on where to turn to for help in the battle.

On Fire takes a close look at innovative therapists who are using alternative ways to deliver high-value care to their patients. Cash therapy services have emerged as a viable alternative to accepting business as usual.

If you are intrigued by the attention that cash-based practices are attracting On Fire is a great primer to help you get up to speed on the key issues and how if might impact your practice. The book is available on Amazon. If you are interested in getting your own copy join my email list and I’ll keep you up to date on the special pre-order bonuses I’m giving away.

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