I want to read blogs but don’t have time. I want to read that awesome new book but can’t seem to be able to fit it in. I want to be a leader who reads, but who’s got time? I want to grow … but I’m too busy helping everyone else grow. Help!

Now, I actually haven’t ever heard people say those things; we think but don’t verbalize I’m sure. Plus everyone else seems to have figured it out by themselves! So I wanted to share with you how I find great blog posts, how I read great books, and how I record what I’m learning. It as simple this: always have something handy.

One of the cheats I’ve used for a long time to help stretch my time is to always keep a tool or resource handy. I want to be a learner, I want to grow and I need to be continually developed. Rarely do I have time to just dive into a book for an extended time, so I do these simple but strategic things:

Get a great RSS reader
I love Newsbar for the iPhone/Mac that automatically syncs all of the feeds that I subscribe to like magic! It quickly goes back and forth with what I’ve read or not across all of my devices. Really it is a simple little app that keeps me in sync with 250+ blogs that I follow every day. I can quickly scan them all, scroll through a few and dive deeply into 1 or two. Grow by keeping a reader app handy!

Always keep a book in the car
I can’t count the number of times I’ve been stuck in the car after dropping off one of my kids or waiting for something to wrap up. Often times I waste time on Jetpack Joyride or Flappy Bird, but a great investment is to knock out a few pages of a book. Grow by keeping a book in the driver’s side door! David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell is my current jam.

Keep a journal in your laptop bag
A great for you to grow is to record your learnings! Process a problem, manage to do lists, write down a list of failures or a list of improvements you need to make. Moleskin for the win, skip technology on this one. Keeping a journal handy will help you grow!

Call to connect with a mentor
Sometimes when you have a little downtime it’s a great chance to steal a few minutes with a mentor in your life. Because phone is so precious, having a few minutes keeps the connection fresh but also gives both parties an out. I know sometimes when I call someone they decline because they think hours instead of minutes. Don’t have access to a mentor? Get a virtual one by subscribing to a great youth ministry podcast and become part of the team!

So those are a few of my methods to grow in the moments since that’s about all I’ve got to work with. What do you keep handy to help you grow?