• Mental Cost of Ownership

    The other day i chatted about reading three books a month and touched on the subject of how I decided to prune my book collection. Today I’m going to elaborate a little and put this down for everyone. This isn’t a new subject, but is a good way of thinking of stuff.

    I like books a lot. I like getting them, flipping through them and more often than not actually reading them. Each book is something I’d like to learn more about or just enjoy reading. The problem that has snagged me in the past is getting too many books in the queue. It doesn’t take much for me to fill a bookshelf with all the things I’d love to learn. It’s easy to forget how long it’ll take to actually get through the pile of books. Somewhere a goal is set using guidelines of how much time I used to have vs. how much time I actually have today. It’s amazing how little I have these days. Always eaten up by work, projects and just living.

    So I used the mental math of “how long will it take me to get through these books?” and “Is this something I want/need to read?” to figure out which to get rid of. It’s amazing how quickly this reduced my bookshelf to not overly full. Add in the thoughts of does this still pertain to my life and I managed to clear out quite a bit. There were some titles that were old dreams and goals that just don’t fit into my life anymore. It’s amazing how long these stay attached when they should have been dropped a long time ago. Yes it would be nice to learn to play those songs on guitar, but I just don’t have time anymore. Probably don’t need those learn the guitar books either.

    At times I have had a smaller bookshelf to contain the books I’ll be reading in the near future along with some notebooks and 3-Ring binders filled with commonly used information. This tended to help me keep from spending 12 minutes picking a book to only have 3 minutes to actually read it. Now I can quickly see what I had previously chosen as important. I most likely had some witty name like “Current Shelf” or “Stuff I’m working on”, but don’t recall. It’s now just known as the short bookshelf.

    I have since cleared out enough books that there is a small collection of what I’ve already read and a separate section for books I have yet to read and a small space for my currently reading pile.

    Having cleared out a bunch of stuff that was related to old dreams has helped a lot. It gives me real time now to concentrate on the present and what I’m looking to read and experience now.

    I guess it all comes down to having some organization and keeping some focus on what is current and what deserves to stay in the past. Which reminds me. I need to give my book collection another pass as I’m going through the place.

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