True professionalism - Read more, read often

We are all subject to fairly staggering amounts of information each day, coming at us from an ever increasing range of sources.  Have you ever considered how much of this ‘stuff’ you actually read and ingest, finding relevance for how you live or work, or storing it away for further use later? The mixed drivers of intellectual curiosity and the need to remain up to date for professional and CPD purposes should be enough to make you apportion a significant percentage of your time to reading as widely and as frequently as possible.

EASY  ACCESS

If you belong to any membership or professional associations then you are likely to benefit from receiving one or more of their journals, nicely shrink wrapped in plastic, arriving regularly with your mail in time to read at breakfast or take with you to read on the journey into work.  However, large numbers of members will fail to even open the plastic wrapper to reveal the contents.  Many desks, both in home offices and in the workplace, have neat piles of unopened journals and magazines, awaiting that day (which never seems to arrive) when the owner ‘has a moment to spare.’  With the holiday break fast approaching, now might be a good time to work your way through the backlog and, perhaps, change your habits for next year.

HOW MUCH INFORMATION CAN YOU GAIN FROM THE MAGAZINE WHILE IT REMAINS IN ITS WRAPPER?

1        The address label will tell you who you are - handy when you have a blinding hangover or are suffering from sleep deprivation

2        Where it came from – useful if you need reminding which organisations you belong to or if you want to return to sender

3        The name of the magazine or journal – if it is packed in clear plastic and the address label doesn’t obscure the title

4        The colour of the front page and thickness of the magazine, i.e. how many pages of unread content there are for you to ignore.

WHAT  YOU CAN’T  KNOW  UNLESS YOU  OPEN  IT

1        The contents – what is the subject matter of the articles?

2        What is inside – are there any interesting or useful inserts, perhaps about upcoming conferences or new products?

3        What adverts it contains – are they about new events, products, services, people?

4        WHETHER ANY OF THIS IS OF ANY USE TO YOU, either as a professional or in your private life.

WHY  IS  IT  POTENTIALLY USEFUL?

1        The contents have gone through a compilation and editing process - you are receiving information which your professional body consider to be relevant and they want you to read it

2        When you registered your membership you probably asked for it to be sent, meaning that you believed at the time that receiving it would be useful

3        You don’t have to make the editing or selection decisions yourself

4        You can  read it anywhere, you don’t have to be sat in front of your screen, thereby giving yourself the opportunity to take a break in a comfortable chair and relaxing for a while.  It might be good to avail yourself of the opportunity before all journals go online as all organisations look at ways of cutting costs.

WHAT  A  WASTE!

Seems a shame doesn’t it, to let all that potentially useful ‘stuff’ go to waste without making any effort to penetrate the outer shell.  You don’t necessarily have to read it from cover to cover, a quick scan should suffice to tell you if there is anything worth reading or retaining for future reference.  There is also the possibility that you may read something which will be extremely useful or has the potential to have a profound effect on you or even change the course of your life!  You absolutely will never know unless you open it and take a look.

Magazines are not, of course, the only area where such an open minded attitude will be potentially useful.  You have nothing to lose by being curious and taking a look at something new - you just might find a route to something previously undreamed of!

“Be ready when opportunity comes ... Luck is the time when preparation and opportunity meet.”               - Roy D Chapin, Jr