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Toilet reading:get time for books you always wanted to read (easy life hacking tip)

Mon, 27 Oct, 08

Read five books in the toilet so far. Already started on the sixth. Not in one sitting of course. Proof that small changes in the daily routine creates time you never thought you had. Specially for luxuries like reading books.

A major benefit of toilet reading is that the overall routine itself stays unaltered. You don’t have to torture yourself with the agony of getting up any earlier—just leverage more benefits from an existing activity.

We all have to ascend the porcelain throne at least once a day, however reluctantly. Usually to hold court among the tiles for at least 10 minutes each morning. That is at least an hour of reading a week and over 4 hours of reading a month! Enough to termite your way through lots of pages. The underlying principle of toilet reading is similar to building up a savings account with small daily (consistent) contributions. 

Why books?

Books are “strategic” reading matter. They complement the condensed focus of news items or magazine articles with deeper fuller content. The 600 seconds of privacy you get on the throne can be your moment to shut off the information demands of the now and contemplate the longer view.

Benefits of toilet reading

  1. Intimidatingly huge books become manageable when to taken on in nibbles. 
  2. Good books last longer. Similar to rationing out a tub of ultra double super good chocolate ice cream. 
  3. Spacing out the time between books WHILE reading consistently will also help soften the financial cost of books without being left bookless
  4. Since each bout of reading is very short you can savour the few pages you do read more deeply. You find yourself “in the story” between readings. Since you are forced to re-establish the threads of the book each time, you start noticing connections and contexts you would have missed if you galloped through. Eventually the book’s “story” becomes part of the daily routine in delicious ways. I hope to one day be able to fully describe it in words. 
  5. No one expects you to drop what ever you are doing and attend to other things when you are defecating. They know you’ll be out of there in a few and tend to leave you alone. No doubt there are many exceptions to this rule. Even if you take your mobile into the can, you surely can’t be getting calls early in the morning EVERY day?
  6. Short reading times don’t compete with pressing “practical” immediate priorities of daily life. 10 minutes a day is not enough for studying or other tasks. Specially when you are defecating.

A tip about toilet reading: 

Besides the obvious thing about washing your hands.

Don’t force yourself to read through a fixed number of pages. Reading shouldn’t be the 100 m. Let the rhythm of the book dictate the pace or you’ll end up feeling unsatisfied after all frantic galloping. The process should be something you enjoy not a chore.

Competing for those 600 seconds are the usual morning paper, and magazines. Which highlights the fact that what you read in those scraps of time is clearly your choice. If you are looking to find more grains of time to read, life hack a convenient list. As for fine tuning the actual act of reading, Matthew Cornell a productivity consultant has a extensive post on How to read a lot of books in a short time. Both have that American mania for efficiency that may seem over the top. I don’t practice them but I added the incase it helps some one. For something more relaxed, there’ Gautam Satpathy’s post with practical take on audio books has a handy list. None of those sites are paying me to the links btw ;)

As for the books I have been reading on the throne — that’s another post.

PS:

This has nothing to do with the Rythmic one’s toilet post. Obvious I suppose but my SUV riding legal team advised me to put in this declaimer ;)

There is of course the option of reading in bed. Something I have been a culprit of since grade 8. It is a slipper slope to sleep depravation. A topic which I prefer to avoid -reasons classified till Dec 16th, 3019 (yest that’s THREE thousand and nineteen).

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. Mon, 27 Oct, 08 19:10

    *Cerno rocks! :D! even in the toilet!! *
    I prefer reading poetry in the toilet, cos they are short and relaxing, in most cases. You can get something done in one sitting without worrying about coming back and completing entire books. :)

  2. kalusudda permalink
    Tue, 28 Oct, 08 03:31

    Good one! But I devote my porcelain time for magazines. There is a small book rack in my bathroom but various magazines that I receive (about 20 a month) goes direct into the bathroom. Other than that, there are books everywhere, study tables, dining tables, living room (Two long (+-4M) book rack etc. I usually buy at least two books a month. Yeas I try to read them, many at a time, except fiction, those I read one at a time. (There is always one or two books in my backpack, all the time!)

  3. Tue, 28 Oct, 08 07:33

    LOL i wonder if this reading in the bathroom thing is one of those sri lankanisms. when i got here i slowly started introducing books into the bathroom arena and at first my suitemates were like wtf, but now there’s a veritable library in there!

  4. Tue, 28 Oct, 08 09:10

    Love the post!

    Crucial: Taking notes. I now just use a folded sheet of paper for a bookmark. To log important passages or ideas I write the page number then the idea. Yes, I find processing the notes to be a pain, but I like it better than getting a professional transcription and reading it. Never happened. This new way means I have to re-think, which is elemental to permanent memory.

    Bonus: Constipation means … more reading!

    Finally, your words have dual meaning: “condensed focus” “fuller content” “Intimidatingly huge” “drop what ever you are doing” :-)

    P.S. Thanks for the link; much appreciated.

  5. Tue, 28 Oct, 08 15:07

    Anandawardhana:Thank you :D Poetry! interesting choice. I remember a Bukowski poem where the satisfaction of writing a good poem is describe as a pleasurable bowel movement :) Any particular poets?

    kalusudda: :o 2 books a month! 20 magazine!!? And you got time to go mountain climbing. Is this kind of time management possible because of some quantum gadgetry? aka are you mucking about with them quantum string things?

    T: You’ve definitely taken the toilet reading thing to a whole new level :)

    Matthew: :D Thank YOU for the handy post! Didn’t realise my own dual meaning till you you pointed them out. Got quite a chuckle out of my own writing for a change. :) :D That bookmark/note taking tip is a good one. Easy to remember and easy to use.

  6. kalusudda permalink
    Wed, 29 Oct, 08 06:44

    Ha I am a very, very fast reader. Academic books sometimes I read twice. If the book is really good, I call in sick and hole up until I finish it! :)

  7. pissu perera permalink
    Wed, 29 Oct, 08 10:48

    he he, i’ve been doing this for ages. maybe it’s taking this too far, but there were times when i was younger when i had that last bit of cramming to do when i studied in the loo as well. the problem though is when you get really engrossed in the book and forget erm, what you’re business in there is ;)

  8. Wed, 29 Oct, 08 13:59

    kalusudda: :O Call in sick to read a book! Shocking, absolutely shocking….. ;)

    pissu: Studying in the can. This is getting nuttier than ever. :D Did it work in terms of your exam marks?

  9. nuwan permalink
    Wed, 29 Oct, 08 17:09

    lol iam studying for my exams right now, and i can guarantee u the loo is the best place for cramming. it is amazingly peaceful, there r no distractions whatsoever. and the things you learn you remember very well afterwards. but like pissu said, u tend to forget your business.

    ive actually tried locking myself in the loo, closing the lid and using the whole thing as a chair when my family is making a lot of noise. but not as comfortable or effective as when u r there for the other business.

  10. gutterflower permalink
    Fri, 31 Oct, 08 09:16

    Haha. This post strongly smells of RD’s influence. :)
    Was actually going to blog about this some time ago.
    Don’t usually do the (ahem) heavy books in the loo. Mostly chick lit or comics for me. I have a friend who actually keeps a rack of ‘Loo books’ solely for this purpose in her bathroom! :)

    I’m guilty of cramming in the loo as well.

  11. Sun, 2 Nov, 08 13:44

    nuwan: This is certainly very innovative :)

    gutterflower: smells?? ;) You should definitely do your take on loo reading!. Perhaps its time for a loo lit festival :mrgreen:

  12. Dilk Barber permalink
    Thu, 25 Mar, 10 21:08

    Last month I developed an enormous, unsightly hemorrhoid from sitting on the toilet too long reading. It looked like a ping-pong ball had grown out of my rectum (no kidding–I actually vomited when I first saw it in the mirror). And it was crazy uncomfortable. Eventually it popped when I was in the middle of a tennis match, which only made things worse. I ended up losing in three sets. If you spend too much time on the toilet, you may develop a hemorrhoid on your rectum. Be careful. Eat lots of fiber. Don’t dawdle, and don’t insert a toilet-paper-covered finger into your anus to “wipe it all down.” That can cause anal fissures (another recent affliction of mine). A good book to read on the toilet is “RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon.” USA, USA, USA!!!

Trackbacks

  1. Enduring Hemingway « Cerno
  2. Audio books saved my reading life | Cerno

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