is reading fiction a waste of time

Is reading fiction a waste of time?

Fiction and fantasy: Are they a waste of time?

Reading fiction is absolutely not a waste of time. They have the power to transport you through space and time, increase your attention span, improve your vocabulary, better your reasoning skills, increase your patience, and help you finish important tasks

Your home office should be stocked with books, but they don’t all need to be practical.

Self improvement books absolutely have their place in the working world, but it’s important to realise they aren’t the only place to look when you’re hoping to ‘Improve’ yourself.

These are the ways in which fiction and fantasy books can help improve your work ethic, productivity output, and recharge your mind when you need it the most(Change this):

1. Increased attention span

attention span
The poor goldfish has an attention span of 9 seconds, but that’s longer than humans!

We live in a day and age where the average attention span is 8 seconds. Thats dropped from 12 seconds in the year 2000, just before the introduction of smart phones.

When you read fiction or fantasy, you’ll be sucked into a world you know nothing about and train your mind to enjoy longer build ups instead of instant gratification.

How this translates into your work:

You’ll be able to focus on your work for longer periods of time with a higher quality of effort.

YouTube videos of cats have their time, but it’s not whilst you’re working. Naughty!

2. Improve your vocabulary and communication

increase your vocabulary
Anyone fancy reading an entire dictionary?

When talking about words in the English language, there are 3 numbers you need to remember:

Over 1 million words in total

170,000 words in use

20,00 – 30,000 by each person

I don’t know about you, but I want my work to be as well presented as possible. That means hitting as close to 30,000 as possible.

So reading fiction books becomes a great way to increase your vocabulary. This isn’t just the case with fiction or fantasy books, but they’ll tend to feature more peculiar and interesting words you aren’t likely to come across. Especially fantasy!

Task: Make a point to lookup any words you read and don’t know, then use them in your work. It might seem hard to find places for them at first, but soon enough it’ll be second nature and your vocabulary will be flipping amazing!

2. Evokes thoughts and feelings and puts you in situations you’ve never been in before

I wonder if eggs have feelings? :/

One great reason fiction or fantasy books make such an impact on us is because they constantly put us in situations we haven’t been in before without any danger or pressure.

Whether consciously or sub-consciously, as soon as you’re (and the character) is put in a problematic situation, your mind will attempt to find ways out of it by drawing from past experiences and previously read passages from the book.

How this translates into your work:

No matter what you’re working on, you’ll come up against problems probably quiet frequently. Whether this is work that requires continuous problem solving like coding, or something completely different your mind will have to figure ways out of a situation.

By reading fiction and fantasy books you’ll begin to train your brain to systematically scan all your available options by drawing on similar situations you’ve encountered before only this time it should come more naturally and wont feel like such a task.

3. Imagination and creativity

Creativity from fanatasy books

Non fictional books absolutely have their place, but a lot of them leave something to be desired in terms of imagination. Many of the self help or self improvement books are interesting enough to read but tend to only provide me with facts and instruction.

Fiction and fantasy books truly take your mind on adventures you could get nowhere else other than books. They feel personal, unique, and experiences like you could only ever dream about.

Another way fiction books can improve your productivity is through creativity.

As a photographer by trade I’m often looking for sources of inspiration to help me get out of a creative rut. Normally this is in terms of Instagram or Pinterest but that can only take you so far as they only show the ‘On trend’ photos that pretty much everyone else copies.

Fantasy and fiction are a bit of a golden gem when it comes to ideas and I’m slightly annoyed I never thought to turn to them when I was in Uni.

How this translates into your work:

If you work or study involves anything even remotely creative, you should be reading fiction.

You’ll end up being inspired by some of the most unlikely things no matter what field you’re in.

It’s also likely you’ll come up with ideas vastly different to the majority of people searching for inspiration on the internet

4. Learn the importance of finishing tasks

Almost there! Just a little more!

I suck at finishing tasks.

As much as I strive to be a productivity powerhouse, I often find myself spreading way to thin over a whole host of projects and not being able to complete things.

When you read fiction books, especially long ones, you’ll hopefully be hooked to the story and aim to finish the entire book. And if you don’t, you’ll be missing out on arguably the most important part of the novel.

How this translates into your work:

This sentiment carries over to the work you do. If you find it’s normal for you to start a whole host of things but only complete a few of them, you’ll gain valuable skills from reading fiction.

We often look for instant gratification in the tasks we complete which is useless in helping us see a task through to the end.

Sure it’s nice to know we’re on the right track and moving in the right direction, but instant gratification often leads to complacency and may even stop us from completing our tasks all together.

It’s imperative to understand that the projects you set your mind to are bound to be challenging, but that means the payoff at the end is more likely to be bigger as well.

5. Increase your patience

Patience is a virtue you can build.

Whilst reading fiction books, you’ll likely to come across a nail-biting moment or cliff hanger that you absolutely must find out the result to.

Aside from somehow randomly flipping to the exact correct part in the book, you’re gonna have to slog it out and read on until you know what’s happened.

Sure we live in a society that favours short attention spans and rewards little to no patience, but you’ll find that by sticking with that book passage that your experience becomes richer and purer.

How this translates into your work:

Just like we discussed, finishing tasks is important and one key aspect of completing a goal you’ve set out to achieve is learning to have patience.

You’ll come across short-cuts and get rich quick schemes throughout your entire life, but there really isnt any substitute for hard and smart work.

It will take a long time, and it will be hard work. But that shouldn’t even for a moment stop you from chasing your lifelong goals or at the very least completing that piece of work that’s due in.

6. Insights into human behaviour

Learn human behaviour
Interested in body language? Watch Lie to Me. It’s a great series!

Fiction gives us such a fantastic look into character profiles we’re likely to come across in life.

Even if you’re reading about an alien race from a planet that doesn’t exist, it’s likely you’ll notice some similarities in the way they interact.

Those can be good or bad, but the key is that you listen and understand their reasons behind it.

How this translates into your work:

This is sort of a curve ball on the list in that it might not help you at your home office or even at the point of completing your work.

Having said that, it might help you to see certain situations from other people point of view which could be extremely handy depending on the type of work you’re attempting to complete.

What it absolutely will do to everyone who reads fiction is allow them to communicate to others on a higher level than they used to.

That’s great for networking, pitching ideas, discussing problems, or anything else where it’s important to get your point across.

7. More useful than other forms of entertainment

Books rule. Instagram suckssss.

Lets be honest.

I’m sure that even without reading this article you could have suggested one or two of the reasons as to why reading fiction was a good idea.

At the very least, reading fiction will improve your reading skills so for that reason alone it’s worth spending your time doing it.

One thing that’s for certain is reading fiction or fantasy books is going to improve your learning/productivity/intelligence/state of mind far more than any forms of social media.

How this translates into your work:

Taking time out from work to read fantasy or fiction should never be something you feel guilty about.

I completely understand the need to use every waking hour as productivley as possible, but sometimes giving your brain a rest and time to recharge is the best thing you can do.

But make sure you do that by reading or anything else in the recharge section, and it’s not spent mindlessly scrolling through social media. That’s not going to help you in the way you want it to and will probably leave you more on edge than you were before.

8. Travel anywhere

Nasa photo of earth with clouds
Time to become an astronaut I reckon ­čśë

Ok so this entire website was designed to show you how to work in your home office in the best way possible and to show people how great working from home can be.

But, even I know working in the same office day in and day out (even if that’s your super awesome home office) can be a struggle.

Fiction books offer a great form of escapism and they cost little to no money whilst having the ability to transport you through space and time at a moments notice.

Give yourself some time to explore these places and your mind will thankyou for it after!

How this translates into you work:

By periodically reading fiction, you break up the monotony and routine events the day throws at you.

Of course the events that take place are only in your head, but a great book has the power to evoke emotions, paint pictures, and challenge your mind on almost every page.

In a similar way to the Pomodoro method, this allows you to focus solidly on the work in hand whilst you’re completing it and leave the creative day dreaming for when you pick up the book.


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