My favourite books of 2017

Last year I challenged myself to read 40 books, this year, I skipped that challenge. Reading has become such an integral part of my life that I don’t need to trick myself into doing it anymore (challenging myself to read that many books was a way to build a strong routine). Before that, I had to force myself to start reading a new book. Now, I can’t wait to dig into the next one.

Specialised generalist

Compared to them, I felt mediocre and I was frustrated because of it. You see, I never specialised in anything. Since I was a child, I had a habit of putting things together and create something out of that. I saw things differently from others. Where everyone else saw a cardboard box, I saw a cool military jeep that I could create out of it.

Getting things done with Trello

Most people will enjoy the nice weather or take a trip. I use this precious time to do some work on my projects. Sounds dull, but deep down it makes me happy. 

Putting up a wall

And that’s alright because that was a huge part of their empire. They swore to themselves never to let their guard down after Rome was sacked by the Gauls in its early history. Because of that, they developed a highly organised, professional war machine. They conquered whatever they set their sights on. And they remained hungry — after each conquest they already had plans for the next one. At their peak, the Romans controlled the region between the frozen Scottish highlands in the north and the sandy deserts of north Africa in the south. But then — they stopped.

Breaking through a creative block

I’m sure you know these moments too. Working hard on something but not getting anywhere with it. Through all these years I found three approaches that help me through these moments. Most of the times they work. But sometimes they don’t and I ship average work, feel bad about it and can’t wait to get back and improve it. Anyway, here they are.

My reading process

Reading Books First of all, I keep a to-read list on Goodreads.com. Whenever I encounter a book that I find interesting, I add it to this list (more than 400 items at the moment). Besides reading I also like to plan. I use Trello for all my planning. I split every year into quarters—periods of three months. Then I write down all the books that I want to read in the upcoming period and create a checklist. With a goal of 40 books per year that’s 10 books per quarter.

Adopting a new habit

I come from a small town where traffic jams are rare and public transport unneeded. Need to go to school? Take a short walk. Need to go to the supermarket? Take the car. Life was similar in Germany and Luxembourg. Whenever I needed to get somewhere it took me about 20 minutes. Not more.

Reading

I think it was about five books per year. It was mandatory. I would read these books in the first few years but when I think of it now, that wasn’t much of a reading. You know when you read something but your thoughts wander off and even though you read it you actually don’t? I found those books boring and by the end of the school I completely stopped reading them. Our teacher was extremely strict about it and she used to scare the shit out of me. But even that wasn’t a good enough reason to read. I remember thinking to myself: “How can people read books? I rather watch a film or play a video game. At least that’s not a complete waste of time, right?”