Thursday, September 25, 2008

Zooming Thru Life:
Keep The Pages Turning On
Whatever Book You're Reading
– Part Two

by Paul M. Carhart

Last time, we went over a few tips for getting quickly from the front cover to the back cover of your latest favorite book. Here are a few more ideas to help you cut through those paragraphs.

Reading and walking
Not everyone can accomplish this feat with the same level of finesse. However, I’ve been known, especially when reading something particularly gripping, to make the journey from the parking structure to my office desk with my nose in a book. In my youth, I lived close enough to work to walk and read the whole way in both directions. So I guess I’ve perfected the task. I can see how one might get a headache or even motion sickness, so attempt with caution. But if you can accomplish it, depending on the length of your trek, you can pull down a page or two in each direction.

Feeding on pages
By law, just about every working individual gets a lunch. If you’re not spending the entire time grabbing something to eat and sucking it down, clock in some quality time with your favorite book. Or if you brown-bag-it, you’ll save money and have more time to read. I’ve been known to lay a stapler across the pages so they won’t close on me while whipping my sandwich out of the plastic zipper bag. Or you can get the handy-dandy book holders available at to keep your reading hands-free.

Lining up
It seems like everywhere we go, we have to stand in line. The grocery store. Restaurants, especially of the to-go variety. The movie theater, indeed at the ticket booth, theater entrance and concession stand. I’ve even been known to have a book on hand at Disneyland, where you’ll find lines to get onto the tram, lines at the security checkpoint, lines to get into the park, lines for attractions, lines for eateries, lines for stage shows and parades, lines for bathrooms and lines to leave the park when you’re done. If your book is your constant companion, you’ll be prepared to whittle away the time in line with something enriching. Of course, don’t be rude. If you’re with your family, talk to them. But if you’re alone in line like I am when I pick up dinner on the way home from work, you’ll spend less time thinking about what you’re waiting for and more time hacking through those book pages.

When you’re stalled
I must admit from the outset that I do not practice what I preach in this instance. However, if you’re one of those guys who take an entire newspaper or magazine to the bathroom with you, why not substitute whatever book you’re hacking through? Just don’t drop it into the bowl. The pages will never again be the same.

The waiting room
Your dentist has one. Your doctor has one. Your barbershop or hairstylist has one. Your auto mechanic has one. The room has one purpose, which can be found in its very name. It is the room in which one waits. Each of these rooms are equipped with several chairs and an array of shallow magazines, none of which you would ever subscribe to, much less read. And yet, when you visit, you inevitably pick one up and thumb through it. Why? Because you have nothing better to do! Ah, but if your book is your constant companion, not so! Delve in and enjoy.

Read only what interests you
Life is too short to read a book only because you started it. Don’t waste your minutes on this planet plodding through something that bores you to tears. Follow this simple rule: If you can put it down, you probably should. Then, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, read something enthralling. Something that captivates you. Something that you can connect to. Something that speaks to your heart. Something you cannot put down. That’s what reading should be about.

Paul Carhart’s book, Zooming Thru Life: Creative Tips To Bring Sanity To Your On-The-Go Lifestyle, will be available from your favorite online bookseller, August 2009. Stay up to date:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Zooming Thru Life:
Keep The Pages Turning On
Whatever Book You're Reading

by Paul M. Carhart

I used to read a lot. I guess I can blame The Hobbit for that. I encountered that book in seventh grade and I’ve been a sci-fi and fantasy reader ever since. I also like to read nonfiction on subjects dear to my heart. Indeed, like many writers, I read what I write. However, I have found it harder to find time to read, especially since adding a family to my adventures. And yet, friends still ask me how I manage to get through one book and into the next, as if I actually am making headway. Of course, to me, it doesn’t really seem like I am making headway. But I’m still burning through books faster than most people I know. So here’s a few of my tips to help get you more quickly from front cover to the back.

Your constant companion
Carry a book with you wherever you go. I’m serious. My wife often gives me “that look” when we’re going out to the car and I have my book in tow. But you never know when you’re going to end up with idle time to burn through a few pages. Just don’t read when people are talking to you or replace family time with reading time. Save your book for when “they” aren’t looking. If you’re afraid of screwing up your new paperback book by dragging it around your world, you can pick up protective covers to keep your books pristine (check out If you don’t bring a book with you wherever you go, the rest of these tips will be useless to you. So bring it. You’ll be glad.

Brought to you by…
So you’re watching your favorite television show and suddenly you’re hit by those obnoxious louder-than-usual-TV intrusions into your privacy known as commercials. Rather than mindlessly flip channels, it’s a perfect time to scoop up your book and get through a few pages before your show returns.

In the sanctity of your car
It’s bad enough that your commute to work is time out of your life that you’ll never get back. Stoplights are even worse. What a waste of time! It’s part of your commute and you’re not even commuting! But if you have a book along for the ride, you might get through a page before the light changes in your favor. Just don’t try to read and drive at the same time. Also, if you arrive early for work or a meeting, it might be worthwhile to spend a few extra minutes in your favorite fictional world before taking care of business in the real one.

Flying solo
There are plenty of times when we’ll be out and my daughter will fall asleep in the car. Rather than try to move her when she’s asleep and chance waking her, Lori will sometimes dart into the store, leaving me to watch over our little angel. This is the perfect time to lock the doors and whip out a book. I stash mine in a pouch on the side of the car door. Sometimes I can even get through a whole chapter before my wife comes back.

Into the darkest hours
We usually wind down at night with something on TV. Even so, Lori will inevitably hit the hay before I do. Here’s yet another time to plow through another chapter or two in your book. It’s a lot less noisy than flipping channels so she probably won’t complain. The down side is that you need to keep a lamp on. This is fine when your spouse faces the other direction. But when she decides to roll over… well, it’s nighty night time. Of course, there’s a wide variety of book lights available. But sometimes it’s best to let sleeping wives lie.

Come back next time when we’ll look at another batch of tips that will keep your pages turning just as fast as your time seems to fly.

Paul Carhart’s book, Zooming Thru Life: Creative Tips To Bring Sanity To Your On-The-Go Lifestyle, will be available from your favorite online bookseller, August 2009. Stay up to date:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Zooming Thru Life:
Take a Day Off to Refresh,
Regroup, and Rejuvenate

by Paul M. Carhart

Most people with a standard 9-to-5 job get vacation days and sick days. Sick days, in fact, are often not bankable from year-to-year where vacation days sometimes are and are even can be paid out when you switch employers. If you’re self-employed, hopefully you’re busy enough to make a successful living but still not too busy to take time some occasional time off. The point is, it’s important to have down time, even when you’re on-the-go most of the time.

So we’re in agreement, taking time off from work is important. If you can afford it, take your allotted days a week at a time and journey to some foreign land. But not everyone can afford to do that, especially in the budding years of parenthood. Whether you’re using your vacation days here and there or taking a sick day when you’re not really trying to sleep off a bug, here’s a few things that you can do during your day off to help you regenerate your batteries.

Sleep In
You don’t have to sleep in until noon, but there’s a certain joy to sliding out of bed after your work shift has actually started. Just knowing that all your colleagues started their wage-slavery an hour before you hop in the shower is somehow satisfying.

Grooming Thru Life
Having a day off is a great time to get your haircut, trim finger and toe nails, etc. Ladies, make manicure, pedicure, waxing, tanning or hair appointments to make the most of your time off. When you return to work, it will be evident that you have recharged.

Spend Time With Your Family
Work is there for you to have a life, not the other way around. So, if you’re married and you have kids, you probably don’t see enough of your family. Take the day to go out for lunch, go shopping, visit a playground. Hold hands with your significant other and tell him or her you love them. After all, we’re not on this planet forever. Let them know they matter.

Get Your Oil Changed
Have you ever seen the line at Jiffy Lube at about eleven o’clock in the morning? There’s no one there! Don’t waste your weekend on this chore. Drop your car off and, if it’s going to take more than fifteen minutes, come back for it later.

Knock Out A Few Small Projects
I don’t know about you, but my daughter is always bringing me something to fix. And usually I say, “Okay, when I can get to it.” Then it goes on the shelf with the other four things I’m supposed to fix. Most of these items just need a little glue and to sit upright overnight. Take an hour or so on your day off to address a couple projects you’ve been putting off. It’ll feel good to have them done and, if it’s something for your kid, you’ll have fostered eternal gratitude by keeping your word and actually “getting to it.”

Cleaning Time
Whether your spouse also works or stays home to do the most important job (raise the children), he or she would naturally love your help around the house. So be proactive! Volunteer to take out the trash, dust the piano, vacuum the dining room or fold a load of laundry. The goodwill you will generate will be profound and your spouse will probably grateful enough to extend your daytime frivolities well into the night.

But that’s another article.

Paul Carhart’s book, Zooming Thru Life: Creative Tips To Bring Sanity To Your On-The-Go Lifestyle, will be available from your favorite online bookseller, August 2009. Stay up to date: