An Hour A Day Habit

With some degree of regularity I attend a conference for people who love working with TCKs.  I can’t remember a year that I attended when the speakers were less than stellar.  Of course, just like any other conference, sometimes you walk away with more than other times.

A few years ago, the speaker made the comment that she sets aside one hour of her work day and one day of her work week to read.  I was impressed then, but over the years I’ve become more impressed with her and her reading habits.  Not only does she love working with TCKs, but she also works with a lot of cross-cultural workers experiencing issues and troubles that go beyond the ordinary stresses of life.  Keeping up with a full work load is difficult enough, but taking that time to read?  It seemed to me like she was just piling up her to do list.

I’ve had a few years to ponder her reading habits at the office.  I’ve decided she’s an even wiser woman than I first thought.  It’s true, her to do list might get a little more packed because of her commitment to read, but I have a feeling she comes away from that hour refreshed, resharpened, and ready for what comes next.

I’ve decided I need to follow her example–at least in part.  I need to look at reading as not just a reward, but as part of the bigger picture of what I do.  I have a stack of books on my desk and at home that I mean to get to, but never do.  I have works of fiction with TCKs as their protagonists.  I have parenting books.  I have leadership books.  I have books on cross cultural life and missiology and writing.  They all sit and wait for me to find time to read them.

Recently I decided should I go to grad school, a degree in something like leadership development would be useful.  Then I started poking around the internet a bit.  I learned a few things.  Most of the programs labeled “Leadership Development” are all designed for business or school settings.  That’s not really what I want.  Most programs take more time than I have to give.  Every program takes more money than I have–that one wasn’t much of a surprise.

I’m not sure what all that means for right now except that I won’t be going back to school any time soon.  I’m fine with that.  I love school and I love being a student.  Thankfully, learning isn’t sequestered to a classroom.

So, I’ve decided it’s time.  It’s time to read.  It’s time to learn.  It’s time to give my efficacy a chance to increase because I take the time to read more than a blog post.  It’s time to give an hour a day to the pile of books that grows steadily in the places I occupy.

I’ve decided, too, that I will fail at this goal of reading an hour a day.  It’s inevitable.  Days of training and debriefing and running around with TCK and meetings will temporarily divert me from my goal.  That’s OK.  I can live with it.  I may even have to shelve the goal for a season this summer, but I’m not giving up on it.  Knowing it’s OK to fail (not an easy concept for me–and a post for another day) takes the pressure away.  It also keeps me from being legalistic about what I will and won’t do.

Starting tomorrow, I read.  For an hour.  Tonight?  I’m off to the library to pick up the first book on the list.

What goals are you working on?  And, perhaps more importantly, what are you reading and what do you think about it?


photo courtesy of lusi on



5 responses to “An Hour A Day Habit”

  1. Wow,great goal!!! Love how you’re allowing room for some imperfection in it, too…. That’s sort of where I’ve come in my “devotional reading”. A LOT of imperfection. 🙂

  2. I love your idea. Jon has committed to writing an hour a day, and so far, he’s kept to it. It makes life peaceful when you put aside 60 minutes to either read or write. Okay, I’ll move toward that. I’m reading Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott, a book my niece in Texas loaned me. I’m also reading Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela’s autobiography. But the last book I fell in love with was Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet- takes place in California during WWII when the Japanese people were interned. Very wonderful, easy read story of life.
    Sometimes learning is accidental, but stretching is always good. See you in a few months! xoxo

  3. You make me smile — we are so much alike. I too feel the need to read more. Lit books, parenting books, cross-cultural books, historical novels, ‘spiritual’ books — I too have piles of books all over the house and on my kindle I want to read. And like you — if I were to make the commitment to read more I would be off to the library. SMILE. Enjoy the reading!!! I have about 6 going right now — but tend to spend more time on the computer than reading. But hey, we are progressing!

  4. Hmmmm.
    Very interesting.
    Maybe I’ll do this with you. I have a pile of theology books on my desk I’ve been meaning to get to. I think an hour of serious reading every day would be DELICIOUS. Not just in bed at night when I’m falling asleep.
    Thanks for this.
    PS If you go to grad school, I will. 🙂

  5. Lori–learning to embrace imperfection . . . I think it’s realistic. It’s one of the few ways for me not to be defeated before I even begin.

    Ginger– I think the writing an hour a day is a bit down the road for me. I know it would be a great thing to do; I’d certainly benefit from it. One thing at a time,right? 🙂 Anne LaMott . . . her name keeps coming up as a “must read”. I’ll have to add her to the list of “books to read when I get through the stack.” Nelson Mandela–what an inspiration. I need to read more about him. One of my friends in Spain was just talking about Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. Her boss in Montana wrote it. Another one to add to the growing list! I can’t wait till you get here!

    Sue–We are kindred spirits! The whole computer thing. I’m not sure what it is, but I have a hard time tearing myself away from it. Perhaps it’s the illusion of connection . . . whatever it is, it’s too powerful. I was only off to the library because a book I’d ordered in the system came in. It’s a good one (at least notes, preface, acknowledgements, and one chapter in)–Hurt: inside the world of today’s teenagers. The only problem with library books is that you can’t mark them up and go back later. So, I’m taking notes as needed.

    Soul–DO IT!! Let’s read together and discuss what we’re reading–even if it’s vastly different. It would be good for both of us. Yeah–the reading in bed thing either makes me fall asleep and I don’t remember what I read or it gets me so revved up that I can’t sleep. Neither is a good option. You’re already one degree ahead of me. And you did it in French, so that’s like being two degrees ahead of me. I really don’t see how grad school can happen any time soon, but I can still learn . . . and I get to tailor my learning a bit more this way.

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