I am sure that most of you do most of this stuff, but if any of these tips can help, more the better. If you have any to share, please do.
1. Get an iPod! You can download hundreds of free lectures and entire seminary courses online. You can literally have several seminaries in your pocket anywhere you go. Also get a car adaptor for the iPod so you can listen as you drive. I listen to these things all day and night at both my jobs. Amazing.
2. Read at every stop light. Always have a book or an article off the net on hand to read. I find articles are the best for short reading spurts. You can literally read several paragraphs at one light, and several articles a day just at stop lights! I have actually come to love stopping at red lights and traffic!
3. Of course us men know a secret that most women still have not caught onto (or don’t want to catch onto!), and that is always have reading material in the bathroom, a second office.
4. Always have a book on hand no matter where you go. My dentist knows me because while I have to wait in the chair, I always have some book going. I even had the iPod going during a cleaning and cavity fill. My friend used to make fun of me because when we worked out together at the gym, I had a book in between sets. I used to have my flashcards while waiting in line at the bank. Anywhere you have to wait around, have reading on hand. Anywhere were you have to wait—for a movie to start, in the drive thru, at the gas pump—read as much as you can. I know it is totally nerdy, but hey, my cool days are gone, it is now a battle for souls and truth.
5. Always have some problem or topic you are working on through the day in your mind. I always have a note pad or something to take down thoughts and notes. My pocket by the end of the day is usually filled with scraps of paper with jotted notes that I later log into my computer. My hand also serves as a nice place to take notes (my version of the palm pilot).
6. If you can, eat less and sleep less and do less things that waste time. Try to live on 6 hours of sleep. If medical students can do it for earthly good, we surely can do it for eternal good. However, I would caution to get whatever amount of sleep you personally need. I just heard a study that concluded that those who get less sleep actually double their odds of heart disease. This would definately short circut our goal of redeeming the time!
7. Always read up to the point where you nearly fall asleep with the book in your hands. At this point, I cannot go to sleep without first reading. If you can’t fall asleep, try reading some Kant or Hegel. You’re out in under five minutes!
8. If you work a normal 9 to 5 job you get a lunch break. Obviously this is a good time to read. But we also by law (in most places) are required to have two 15 minute breaks that most people work right through. Hey, that’s a half hour. Use both breaks to read or whatever.
9. Read worthy books several times over. Each reading gets easier and quicker, and you remember more each time. I have worn out, for example, Robert McGregor Wright’s book, No Place for Sovereignty as well as a book called The Transforming Vision by Brian Middleton and Richard Walsh.
10. Push yourself to read or listen to lectures even when you don’t want to. Practice reading for as long as you can without taking breaks or getting up. Pretend that you are a machine. Skip fluffy stuff and look for the main points in the sentence, the nuggets that the author seeks to prove or teach.