3 Things is a weekly series that highlights three things you can do to overcome a challenge, enhance your productivity, and improve other aspects of your work and life. Each of the things also offers an app or product recommendation that can help you take action and move forward, but in this edition I’m focusing on one app/service alone.
While I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, I’m not averse to working towards making rituals and habits that will help me improve myself on a wide variety of levels. Over the past few years I’ve taken on the challenge of reading more. Not blog posts or magazine articles, but books. The biggest part of that challenge was finding ways to make it happen with as little friction as possible.
This year I discovered a service and app that has removed more friction than anything else: Blinkist.
I’ve written about Blinkist before, but what it offers are valuable insights from each book it delivers. These CliffsNotes version of books are called “blinks” and they not only allow for faster reading, but they allow for absorbing reading. Blinkist isn’t the main source of my reading, but it definitely plays a role in my reading habit. Here are the 3 things it offers that helps me get more reading done.
1. Blinkist mixes up the medium
One of the things that has helped me increase my reading is that I have a variety of ways to read books — more now than ever before. Bringing Blinkist into the mix actually helps me decide what to read quicker. Why? Simply put, if I want to get the “bare essentials” of a book, I’ll start off by checking it out in Blinkist. Then if I like the message then I’m more likely to buy the full book — and most likely in paper-based form. No other reading aid does that for me. I have rarely (if ever) bought the paper version of a book I already own in digital or audio format. Blinkist gives me opportunities to not only discover more books, but to discover which books I really want to add to my library.
2. Blinkist delivers shorter reading times
In order to foster my reading habit, I’d like to be able to read more — and read quickly as well. Blinkist delivers on that front, which has me reading more frequently as a result. I can knock out a “blink” in an exercise session on the FitDesk fairly easily, and I digest a great deal of information in the process. I’m able to read an entire “blink” first thing in the morning if I choose as they take less than 30 minutes. These shorter reading times also allow me to still keep up with my other reading materials (blog posts, magazine articles) and don’t steal from my podcast diet, either.
3. Blinkist takes care of my non-fiction
Blinkist is great for my non-fiction reading needs, which has me reading more fiction in the process. I’ve been lax in this area for years, having focused my reading energy on works of non-fiction almost exclusively. Now I can use Blinkist to digest some stellar non-fiction works while using other reading tools like Audible to take in more fiction. Neil Gaiman wrote a piece for The Guardian about the fact that we need fiction, and I’m certainly grateful that Blinkist helps me read more fiction than I have in a long time.