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Can Reading Impact Your Job Performance?

Image of Maquell Canfield
Maquell Canfield

 

As we get older and life gets busier, reading quickly moves down on the priority list. Then as more and more forms of entertainment pop up, daily reading nearly falls off the list altogether.

But what if simply reading for 15 minutes each day could mean an increase in pay? I would bet that reading would seem a bit more important, and studies are showing that it could do exactly that! Your bookshelf just got a little more attractive, didn’t it?

What Does Reading do for Your Brain?

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. If you want to build bigger biceps, you would go to the gym and lift weights. If you want greener grass, you need to water it regularly. And if you want your brain firing sharp and efficiently, you should grab a magazine, book, or hand-held device and have a good read!

More and more research shows that the very act of reading has powerful effects on your brain, both now and into the future. People who read regularly have shown, increased productivity, improved focus, enhanced vocabulary, and even show a significant memory improvement.

Reading and memory are two interrelated concepts. When you read, you are training your brain to retain the ideas and words, which eventually helps boost your memory. Amazingly, every new memory you create forges brain pathways and strengthens existing ones, which assists in short-term memory recall as well as stabilizing moods. Reading enhances your learning capacity and sets the stage for new activities and passions (i.e. thoughts become words become actions), reading is the ultimate brain exercise.

Reading will significantly expand your vocabulary. The more you read, the more words you have available in your frame of reference to use in everyday conversations. Reading teaches you new words and new ways to use words correctly when constructing sentences in your mind. Being articulate and well-spoken is a great help in any profession, and knowing that you can speak to higher-ups with self-confidence can be an enormous boost to your self-esteem. It will almost certainly aid in your career, as those who are well-read, well-spoken, and knowledgeable on a variety of topics tend to get promotions more quickly (and more often) than those with smaller vocabularies and lack of awareness of literature, scientific breakthroughs, and global events.

Effective reading demands a high amount of focus, as any lack of attention will surely decrease a person’s comprehension of what’s being read. Thus, Reading is one of the proven ways to hone a person’s ability to concentrate. Reading can also impact a person’s ability to problem solve. Have you ever read an amazing mystery novel, and solved the mystery yourself before finishing the book? If so, you were able to put critical and analytical thinking to work by taking note of all the details provided and sorting them out to determine “whodunit”.

Anything you read fills your head with new bits of information, and you never know when it might come in handy. The more knowledge you have, the better-equipped you are to tackle any challenge that comes your way.

Can Reading Impact Me Long Term?

Studies have shown that staying mentally stimulated can slow the progress of (or possibly even prevent) Alzheimer’s and Dementia, since keeping your brain active and engaged prevents it from losing power. Just like any other muscle in the body, the brain requires exercise to keep it strong and healthy. Doing puzzles and playing games such as chess have also been found to be helpful with cognitive stimulation.

How Much Should I Read?

There is no set time as to how much one person should read each day or week, due to the fact that all brains are unique. Reading as much as possible without neglecting your daily responsibilities would be ideal, but a general guideline to strive for would be around 30 minutes per day atleast 5 days per week.

When you read a book, all of your attention is focused on the story.  Try reading for 20-30 minutes before work (i.e. on your morning commute, if you take public transit), and you’ll be surprised at how much more focused you are once you get to the office.

What Should I Read?

While any and all reading can be beneficial, studies have been done to determine what type of reading is most important. One such study was performed by Tom Corley, author of Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits Of Wealthy Individuals. His research finds that less successful people read for entertainment, while rich people read for self-improvement.

  • 11% of rich people read for entertainment, compared to 79% of poor
  • 85% of rich people read two or more education, career-related, or self-improvement books per month, compared to 15% of poor
  • 94% of rich people read news publications including newspapers and blogs, compared to 11% of poor people

The long awaited answer is, yes! Reading can and will impact your job performance in a positive way.

So what do you have to lose? Pick up a good book and start enjoying the benefits of reading today!


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