Reading Habits and Redeeming the Time?

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RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
For all the big readers out there, I was curious what were your reading habits (at what time of the day do you read; how much are you able to do in a month, a week)?

I used to do most of my readings in the morning; I still do unless an emergency comes up. As of late, however, I have found it harder to get up in the morning (I go to bed around 11:30 and try to get up a little before 7 for my 9:00 AM class). I used to be able to go to bed at 11 and get up at 5. Whence this lack of stamina?

Have you all had struggles like this; how did you overcome them? Thanks.
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
I read on the train. My commute to work is 2.5 hours each way so I have plenty of time to redeem and that is my best opportunity to do so.

I encourage those who want to read good books to prioritize. There are so many good books out there (it goes without saying that there are many more books out there that are junk). Make a list of what you want to read and follow it. It helps to budget specifically for good books too. My own goal is to build the kind of library that I can pass on to my children as a godly legacy. I'm reading not just for myself, but for the next generation as well.
 

Scot

Puritan Board Sophomore
I've become lazy in my reading lately. When I first became a christian, I devoured everything. I read every chance that I had. I was never good at reading in the morning. It seems like for me, I can retain knowledge and concentrate more at night. At present, I read at my office during the day. Since I'm just trying to get my own business up and running, I don't have alot of clients yet. When I'm at home, my four children take up my reading time.

Have you all had struggles like this; how did you overcome them? Thanks.

Are you referring to having trouble getting up in the morning?
 

Scot

Puritan Board Sophomore
My own goal is to build the kind of library that I can pass on to my children as a godly legacy. I'm reading not just for myself, but for the next generation as well.
:up::ditto:
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Thanks, Andrew

That is probably the best advice. When my strength is up (I am not sick or anything but I have lost 25 pounds since coming to college) I can rise early and read my bible along with some heavy theology (last year it was Calvin and Carl F. Henry).

For a brief period this year I tried to imitate Thornwell and read late at night and sleep in in the morning. That didn't work as I am not a night person.

I am back to getting a good hour-and-a-half of studying before work at 9. I then try to get another hour to 1.5 hours of study in before I go to bed. That seems to work but I think there might be a more efficient way.
 

Scot

Puritan Board Sophomore
Well, from a nutritional standpoint (which is what I do for a living) and without asking you a bunch of personal questions, I would try supplementing with magnesium (or a calcium/magnesium combination). Take some with your last meal of the day. It will help you have a better nights rest as it has a calming effect and helps relax muscles. Also, a B-complex supplement might be beneficial because it will help with stress and promote a restful state.

Off the top of my head, that's what I'd try. Keep in mind though, I realize there could be a hundred different reasons why you're tired in the morning.

My Pastor talked with me a couple of weeks ago about this same problem.
 

SmokingFlax

Puritan Board Sophomore
I find that I'm really sporadic in my reading and that (you're) fortunate if you can maintain a course of concentrated reading for long stretches (i.e. months and years) without having outside circumstances take you out of your rhythm and purpose.

It would be tough to define my reading habits in a nice tidy way...shortly after I was layed off (a year and 1/2 ago) I was crushing books for 3 - 5 hours a day; lately (having re-enrolled in school and teaching at night) I'm lucky to get a half an hour a day.

If I didn't have to sleep and could maintain focus would be a great thing! Especially as I've only recently been fortunate enough to have discovered the reformers and puritans and I have A TON of stuff I want to get to (Knox, Calvin, Owen, etc, etc.). I feel like I have to make up for the 10 years I wasted in the mind-numbing charismatic type viewpoint -this is all so new for me.

It's definitely a struggle (I've dropped off of my 4 or 5 book per month quota) it's really out of our hands in the long run it seems.
 

Scot

Puritan Board Sophomore
I have A TON of stuff I want to get to (Knox, Calvin, Owen, etc, etc.).

Me too!!

I have the first four volumes of the woks of Owen and am probably only half way through volume one. It's been awhile since I've picked it up. It's hard to concentrate at reading Owen with my four kids running around! Also, I need to get to the works of Edwards. I've had them for quite some time as well and have only read portions of them.
 

SmokingFlax

Puritan Board Sophomore
Scot,

What is your take on Gotu and Gingko, etc.? Is it just hype or is there something to the idea that they help in concentration?

Man...maybe I should try that magnesium -I feel like someone slugged me with a two-by-four EVERY morning. I have to hit the snooze 3-4 times. I like the idea of getting up early but can never seem to do it unless it's an absolute necessity.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Originally posted by Scot
Well, from a nutritional standpoint (which is what I do for a living) and without asking you a bunch of personal questions, I would try supplementing with magnesium (or a calcium/magnesium combination). Take some with your last meal of the day. It will help you have a better nights rest as it has a calming effect and helps relax muscles. Also, a B-complex supplement might be beneficial because it will help with stress and promote a restful state.

Off the top of my head, that's what I'd try. Keep in mind though, I realize there could be a hundred different reasons why you're tired in the morning.

My Pastor talked with me a couple of weeks ago about this same problem.

Fascinating; I will take that to heart (*and stomach). My diet consists of some meats, not enough water, few vegetables (although I am improving), and coffee (I have cut back).
 

Scot

Puritan Board Sophomore
What is your take on Gotu and Gingko, etc.? Is it just hype or is there something to the idea that they help in concentration?

Gingko improves circulation to the brain so it does help some people with concentration. If someone is on a blood thinner, then they shouldn't take it.

There can be alot of factors contibuting to lack of concentration, trouble sleeping, etc. One size doesn't fit all when it comes to vitamins, minerals, herbs, etc. Taking Gingko for memory wouldn't hurt but obviously if you take a couple bottles and see no results then something else needs to be addressed.

Also, I find that alot of people read something in an article about a vitamin, herb, etc. and then go to Wal-mart or the dollar store and buy a bottle. They get no results because they've bought a junk product then they claim the that natural products don't work. There are alot of companies that spend more money on the product label than they do the product itself. Remember, the most expensive vitamin is the one that doesn't work!

I'm not familiar enough with Gotu to say anything about it. I hope to be certified next year as a "Holistic Health Practitioner." I'll have a better knowledge of herbs then. At present, I'm certified in nutrition and educational microscopy, I haven't studied much on herbs.

Sorry, didn't mean for the reading topic to turn into this!
 

Scot

Puritan Board Sophomore
For any of you that feel this way, or just find themselves sleepy regardless if they get 2 hours of sleep or 8 hours:

You may want to look into having a sleep study done. I had sleep apnea and didn't know it. After being tested I got a C-PAP machine and it makes a HUGE difference. I can sleep 4 hours with it, and feel much better than sleeping 10 hours without it.

P.S. Sleep apnea doesn't have to be extreme cases only (people choking to death in their sleep, etc.). In my case, I would stop breathing long enough just to wake myself up...thus I was never rested. The vicious cycle was sleeping, snoring, waking myself up, sleeping, snoring, waking mysel..etc. Basically, I never made it to the REM stage of sleep. It's at this stage when one gets the most rest. It's also the stage in which you dream. What would happen is right when I'd get to the REM stage, I'd snore and wake myself up. So I never got rest. In fact, because of the cycle I was performing, I could tire myself "sleeping".

Joshua,

You may think I'm crazy but here's how I'd approach the problem.

First, alot of people are allergic to the chemicals that we wash our bedding in. This can interfere with your breathing at night. I know of people who have overcome sleep apnia by using natural detergents. Furthermore, when you go for the sleep test, the bedding in the hospital (or wherever you went) tends to be washed with stronger detergents, so it's actually worse when you're there!

Also, some people that consume alot of dairy products have trouble breathing at night because of the mucus that the dairy creates in the breathing passages.

I'd experiment with minimizing or eliminating the dairy for awhile and washing your bedding in natural detergents. This could possibly eliminate the problem.
 

Scot

Puritan Board Sophomore
Fascinating; I will take that to heart (*and stomach). My diet consists of some meats, not enough water, few vegetables (although I am improving), and coffee (I have cut back).

Keep improving on those veggies and water!:D

Try not to have any coffee at least four hours before bed.
 

ANT

Puritan Board Junior
I read every chance I get. With 5 children, my most precious time is in the bathroom for 15 minutes at a time, or staying up until 2am with a good book. I've never been a morning person, I love studying at night. My problem is about every 3 months I get to the point of exhaustion from running my body on lack of sleep. This last time (recently) I wore myself down so bad, I wound up with a spinal misalignment and severe neck strain that took me out of work for 2 & 1/2 weeks. (I was running on about 4 to 5 hrs sleep a night for 3 months, maybe more.)

With that said .... I would normally read about a book every week, and if I was moving really fast (really into the book) I could finish it in 4 or 5 days.

One of my main problems is retention .... I remember what I read. I know what the book taught. I know why I believe what I believe ......... but when it comes to being able to pull it up from my memory, or describe in detail what the book taught to someone else .... forget it. Does anyone else have this problem?

[Edited on 11-15-2004 by ANT]
 

SmokingFlax

Puritan Board Sophomore
Thanks Josh,
Sleep apnea huh? I guess I never considered it before, I always thought it was mostly a thing with overweight people. Where would one get a sleep study done at? I need to look into it...that may explain why I can almost NEVER remember having any dreams.

Thanks Scot.
Herbs are a pretty huge and interesting subject of which (in past years) I spent a lot of time reading up on -there's a LOT of new age tofu in alternative health books. Fortunately I had a pretty decent knowledge of fundamental Scripture truths before I looked at (this) subject.
 

SmokingFlax

Puritan Board Sophomore
Yeah (Ant) the photo-recall thing is definitely not me either. That's why I like to read about the same subject from as many different sources and viewpoints as possible. I figure that will allow me to understand the basic terminology and parameters of any given subject after awhile...then forming well informed and in-depth opinions.
It seems to work for me at this point -now if I can only find a way to cut off the fat and get right to the meat (of any given subject) so as to reduce wasting precious time...that's one of my goals as a perpetual student. This board is a GREAT resource in guiding my studies in this regard (i.e. what to avoid, what to absorb).

Also, I find that just simply acquainting myself with the terminology (especially in regards to theology) has been really helpful -first in exposing me to my own gross ignorance, and then as a guide to (theological) growth. Which reminds me...

Does anyone have a high recommendation for a theological dictionary? (preferably with plenty of philosophical terms too)??? I have one now but sometimes it comes up blank on things.
 

SmokingFlax

Puritan Board Sophomore
Josh,

What's a C-PAP machine? and how much$$$?

Scot,

Does the natural detergent thing apply to bath soaps as well as laundry detergents? Any particular brands that you would recommend?

I'm seriously thinking that I've got an issue here. Not to mention that I'm an ice cream addict (losta dairy and ridiculous amounts of sugar and saturated fats).

I'm really tired of being tired ALL the time.
 

SmokingFlax

Puritan Board Sophomore
'Sounds expensive. Plus I have no insurance -but I may just invest in it because I really hate having to take naps all the time from exhaustion.
 

Scot

Puritan Board Sophomore
Scot,

Does the natural detergent thing apply to bath soaps as well as laundry detergents? Any particular brands that you would recommend?

I'm seriously thinking that I've got an issue here. Not to mention that I'm an ice cream addict (losta dairy and ridiculous amounts of sugar and saturated fats).

I'm really tired of being tired ALL the time.

I don't know if the bath soaps would be as much of a factor as the laundry detergents. My doctor has been treating people naturally for 35 years and he recommends a product called Biopack for people that have trouble with laundry detergents. He claims that he's never found anyone that's allergic to it yet.

The machine that Josh spoke of definately helps people. My approach would be to figure out the underlying cause of the problem so the machine would no longer have to be used. Then the money is no longer an issue. :)

If you'd like more of my input, just U2U me.

[Edited on 15-11-2004 by Scot]
 

Scott

Puritan Board Graduate
If you have any kind of drive, try reading audio books. You can get allot of books read that way. You can also check them out for free from your public library. If you have a library of any size, there will be many good audio books there. Further, you can get others through inter-library loan for free too.
 

Scot

Puritan Board Sophomore
If you have any kind of drive, try reading audio books. You can get allot of books read that way. You can also check them out for free from your public library. If you have a library of any size, there will be many good audio books there. Further, you can get others through inter-library loan for free too.

That's no good for me. I have to read with a pen in my hand. I'm always underlining all my books. I can't do that with audio books!
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Originally posted by Scot


That's no good for me. I have to read with a pen in my hand. I'm always underlining all my books. I can't do that with audio books!

I have done both and will go with real books in the long run. About 5-6 times a month I have to go back home and then back to school, giving me four hours in the car. I don't listen to books, per se, but I have heard some stimulating lectures on apologetics and church history; I have also listened to all the white horse inn stuff.

I just went and bought some vitamins. I am going to start eating breakfast again (I got some oatmeal as well).
 

Scot

Puritan Board Sophomore
I have done both and will go with real books in the long run. About 5-6 times a month I have to go back home and then back to school, giving me four hours in the car. I don't listen to books, per se, but I have heard some stimulating lectures on apologetics and church history; I have also listened to all the white horse inn stuff.

Yeah, I listen to alot of sermons (I have a good many from some of the Free Presbyterian guys), lectures and my ligonier tape of the month in the car. I think the only audio book that I ever listened to was one that I had to do as part of my nutrition course. I'd rather have read the book though.


I just went and bought some vitamins. I am going to start eating breakfast again (I got some oatmeal as well).

:up: :banana: I hope you got some decent ones.

Your best breakfast is actually fruit. It's easy on the system first thing in the morning. Remember, "break fast" means that you're breaking a short fast. When coming off of a fast, it's best to eat foods that are easy on the system. Our typical american breakfast isn't very good. Oatmeal is also good though.
 

JustMeAgain

Inactive User
My reading habits tend to change (are they still habits if they are subject to change?). They were different while in seminary than they were afterwards. They changed with my first child, and then again after the second.

I get most of my best reading done in my local dowtown coffee shop -- the phone doesn't ring (for me), no diapers to change, etc.

Plus, reading is always better over cappuccino.:D
 

alwaysreforming

Puritan Board Sophomore
Why Read?

Are you guys still reading? That is so... so.... legalistic! I just joined a Mega Church, and now reading is a thing of the past! Its a lot better, too, 'cause now, all I have to do to be a "Spirit-Filled Christian" is do a short 15 minute "Quiet Time."

Basically, its just a short devotional: Max Lucado, "Purpose-Driven" journal, "Wild at Heart" journal, etc.

What you do is simply be quiet before God, and suddenly your life purpose is revealed to you. It really helps when you have to know what job to take, who to marry, what shoes to buy, etc. Maybe God doesn't want you to do all that reading anyway. You should pray about it and He'll tell you.

Besides, reading isn't good. We all know it leads to "head knowledge," and that's BAD! What you want is "heart" knowledge so you can know if you're doing God's plan for your life or not.

Well, hope this helps. And just think of all the time you'll have freed up for yourself!

(Hee hee) :D
 

BobVigneault

Bawberator
I have a Palm Tungsten E and it has revolutionized my routine for the better.
I have a couple translations of the Bible, a couple commentaries, the confessions, pdfs of puritan classics, my greek cards, Mouce's greek grammar lectures in Quicktime, word docs of more articles, My Utmost for His Highest, and then there are the mp3s.

Right now I'm listening to Bahnsen on Evolution and PostMil while I make my hour drive to and from work. I have several sermons and a couple White Horse Inn programs. I have Pink Floyd's Division Bell for when I just need to chill. Nothing has redeemed my time more than getting my pda. (154 dollars for an opened box tungsten e right now on overstock.com)
 
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