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The Power of Reading (And 16 Things We’re Improving This Week)

Jul 17, 2014 6 min readSelf-Improvement
Photo of Courtney Seiter
Courtney Seiter

Former Director of People @ Buffer

Escaping into a good book is one of my favorite activities, so I could hardly believe it when I learned that working at Buffer meant a free Kindle and the license to grab any book I wanted, anytime! (In fact, I snagged two today.)

You’ll notice that reading shows up again and again in our improvements—fiction and non-fiction, business books and pleasure reading.

Why? Because we know that reading makes us better writers and can even change how we act in life. For lots of us, it also helps us sleep. :)

Need a little reading inspiration? Here’s what we’re reading:

Follow Buffer’s board What Buffer is Reading on Pinterest.

Here are 28 life-changing books recommended by our awesome community:

28 life changing books

And here are the best tips we have to offer on reading more and remembering what you read.

Happy reading!

Buffer team weekly improvements

Here’s what each Buffer team member is working on this week!

We love hearing your improvement goals, too—tell us about them in the comments so we can cheer you on and learn from your goals!

(Psst: We love chatting about each other’s improvements, too. See all of our comments here.)

Niel – I’m still going strong with running! 3 runs a week. This time I’m going for 2x8km and a 10km on the weekend. I’ve also joined the gym to start working out on other types of exercise, besides cardio. My reading has definitely taken a hit lately so I’m looking do some more in the evenings.

Rodolphe – Woohoo! Meditation seems to be well set, 4-5 times a week is much easier now (10min average). This week, more fiction reading before bed, just good some great books! I’m also drafting a small syllabus for a lecture planned for later in the year :) Finally, I’ll be in Amsterdam Wed-Monday, that’s exciting too!

Octavio – Last week it was a very unusual one for me, I completely missed working on my self-improvements due to different reasons. This week I’m decided to change that and go back to a positive/healthy routine, this will include a daily time to exercise, which helps me a lot to decompress and find an inner balance. Another aspect related to this will be getting a good sleep every night. I’m also looking forward to get back to having a reflection/gratitude time, a very important part of my day that I’ve been forgetting about lately.

Dave – With the last couple of weeks being a little mixed up, I’m looking to get back to being grounded this week. My core focus is steps (10,000) and sleep (8hrs), and I’m also looking to boost my mental clarity and settle my mind with some daily meditation this week. A daily 10-minute session after my morning walk feels like a great way to start my day!

Sunil – The last few weeks have been quite hectic for me moving in. This is the first full week, I’m all settled in DC, and I’m so excited get into a great routine! My focus this week is to continue my running. I’m aiming for 3 days this week and to play 2 games of pick-up ultimate frisbee. (As I prepare for the yearly beach tournament I participate in! )

Kevin – I’ve been sick for about two weeks and is finally back to normal again! This week I want to get into the habit of working out again. I want to go to the gym 3 times this week. I’ve also decided to get better on remembering those tiny things I usually forget or remember way to late. So this week I’m going to purchase a little notebook which will serve as my to-do list (I’ve come to conclusion that using a digital notebook/todo list isn’t working for me).

Adam – I finished a Code Academy course just a bit over two weeks ago and find myself a bit puzzled on the next steps to take. Part of me wants to jump into learning a bit more about MongoDB and the other part is wanting to jump into Javascript. My goal is to do a bit of reading and make a decision by the end of the week. Along with that, I am going to continue the trend of reading in the evenings and working my way up to a 5 mile run.

Courtney – My productivity experiment this week is to plan my most important items the night before (quite reminiscent of Kevan above!). Started this Sunday night and it feels very focusing! I was so inspired by Rodolphe’s amazing 100 Happy Days challenge that I’m starting my own challenge this week. Really looking forward to focusing on gratitude and taking special time to make note of all the many awesome things to be happy about.

Nicole – I’m on a continual path of de-cluttering both the physical and mental spaces in my life. It’s been incredible to read some works on essentialism and minimalism that have really inspired me. So far I’m feeling the freedom of it all and will continue to tackle a few different rooms this week for de-cluttering and donating items that I no longer need. Along with this, I’m hoping to get closer to my step count and sleep goals. :)

Kevan – My Tomorrow List is very nearly habit, so I’d really like to cement that with a consistent run this week. Also, it felt really good to get back in an exercise habit last week, and I think a key for me was to view it less like a quota/schedule and more like a choice. I’m aiming to choose exercise over leisure this week whenever possible (and not necessarily shooting for a set number of days). Lastly, I’ve felt an urge to share my appreciation for writers/content folks whom I admire. I’m hoping to get up the courage to write a note of encouragement/thanks to at least one this week.

Dan – After a great few weeks and weekends filled with steps, I’m back at my parents place for a few days and need to keep active. I’m hoping to get some walking/biking/running in this week while I’m here in the burbs (not much to walk to). I got a new book that I’m excited about and would love to get some reading in this week, get into a routine of reading a little bit before bed.

Carolyn – Back to basics for me this week. :) Continuing on with my 30 day challenge of Intermittent Fasting (breakfast 14 hours after last calorie in the evening), and a focus on sleep, steps (trying to hit weekly average of 11K/day), and reading. Also, aiming to get back to Buffer gmail IBZ status this week, before the weekend. :)

My goal for this week is to keep maintaining my last weeks goal of going for a swim at least 3 times per week and do at least 1km on each session. Also, I’ve been using for two weeks for doing some high intensity workouts at home, and I’m really digging the results. Now, with the joys of being remote, I can fully follow the diet plan they gave to me, so the other goal for the day is to keep with four workouts at home and follow the meal plan!

Mary -I had a tricky time fitting in daily exercise on Maui between early mornings and hot, hot sunshine (two of the best things about Maui!). This week I’m excited to fit this back into my daily routine in some form of hiking, biking, going to the gym, etc. I’ve also been working on disengaging from work when I’m not at my computer. Trying to not check Hipchat on my phone while I’m spending time with loved ones! :)

Leo -This week, after an awesome week with my family I’m trying to build certain elements of my routine back up. The key thing I’m focusing on is the daily meditation session in the office after lunch. I’m also working on hitting the gym 4 times again this week.

Joel – My plan for this week is to get my early morning routine, meditation and gym habits back into action after I struggled to keep those up in the last couple of weeks :) Planning to hit the gym at least 3 times and do meditation 3 times also. Also aiming to go for an evening walk 4 times this week, and try to get up at 6am at least twice.

Want to share your own improvement goals? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!

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