Last year, I decided I wanted to read more. I spent a lot of time trying out different methods for becoming better at reading efficiently and proactively, and so I thought today I’d share what I learnt!
Here are things that have helped me read more, and might help you, too:
Read what you love until you love to read
Devote more time reading things you like and less on reading things that you don’t. Be free to read comic books, mystery books, and anything else that piques your interest. By reading what you love, you will develop a love for reading.
Give priority to the things you like. Once you have a habit. It will become easier to read topics that you don’t like.
Reading habits don’t need to be complicated, you can start a simple 25 page a day habit right now. While it seems small the gains add up quickly.
Quit reading books you don’t like
If you are not getting anything out of the book, put it down, and pick up another book.
Whenever you realize that you aren’t enjoying the book you are reading, give it up. Remember reading shouldn’t be a chore.
Giving up doesn’t mean that you are a quitter. Giving up books that you don’t enjoy reading actually frees up your time for books that you would enjoy.
Surround yourself with readers online and offline
The best way to stay motivated to read is to surround yourself with people who are reading. There are many ways that can help you stay in touch with reading. Like, Book clubs and reading communities.
Join Discord or Slack groups of like minded people or spend some time in Reddit’s Book communities to stay at the top of your reading schedule.
Read Multiple Books
Reading only one book means that you will have to stick with it to the end. While it may be good encouragement for some people to finish what they started, if you get bored with the book, it will mean you lose interest in reading altogether.
But, if you have multiple books going, you can switch between them. That way, you can come back to the first one refreshed and ready to read more. This is especially helpful if the book in question is heavy reading, because it allows you time and space to digest what you’ve read so far.
Listen to Audiobooks
Audiobooks can help you meet your reading goals because you can view them as bonus reading to your established reading habits. I listen to audiobooks while doing other things—driving, cooking, cleaning, walking the dog. It helps to multi-task while also providing a unique experience.
A great narrator in Audiobooks inhabits the character; their voice becomes the character’s voice. It’s one reason I love listening to fiction on audio—it gives me a window into the characters I don’t get when I read in print. I think about how each character sounds—their accent, their vocal quirks and idiosyncrasies, how emotion changes the way they speak. All this imagining makes my reading experience so much richer.
Set a Reading Goal
It’s much easier to read more books when you set a reading goal. With a goal in mind, you can stay motivated and make sure you’re staying on track to reach it.
The Goodreads Reading Challenge is an excellent way to track your goal, as it can tell you how you’re doing and help you stay on schedule. But make sure the goal you set is attainable; it will only discourage you if you set a goal you aren’t able to reasonably reach.
Carry a book with you at all times
Get used to carrying a book around with you wherever you go and reaching for it in all the spare moments you’d usually pull out your phone. (Commutes, lunch breaks, grocery store lines, etc.)
Go to bed early and bring your book with you. If you fall asleep while reading, pick it back up when you wake and read for a bit before you get out of bed.
Always have a book queued next in line for when you finish the current book you’re reading.
Feel free to read promiscuously — date 3 or 4 books at the same time until one makes you want to settle down with it.
Keep your phone in airplane mode
If you’re gonna read on your phone, switch it into airplane mode so you’re not even tempted to go online. Or better, Buy a Kindle.
When you sit down to read a paper book, either put your phone in airplane mode, or plug your phone in across the room so you’re not tempted to reach for it.
Share books you love with others. (They’ll give you more books to read)
Keep track of what you read, whether it’s in a private notebook or on a site like Goodreads.
Share the books you love in whatever way you can. (Every week, I share what I’m reading in my weekly newsletter, and every year, I make a list of my favorite reads.)
The great thing about sharing your favorite books is that you meet other people who love those books, and they’ll share with you even more books to love.
Making Reading A Daily Habit
Reading is still very much like going to the gym. There are times when you don’t want to do it and times when it gets boring, but once you do it every day for long enough, it becomes almost effortless to start reading.
That is why it is important to turn it into a habit.
When you make something into a habit, it doesn’t require much energy or motivation. You just do it. For example, I do most of my reading in the morning. I eat breakfast and start reading afterwards. The best time to read is also before bed, it’s a great way to unwind after a long day and it will keep you away from social media or other distractions that may cause stress or anxiety before going to sleep.
Quotes on reading more
“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.” ― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
“Nobody is going to get any points in heaven by slogging their way through a book they aren’t enjoying but think they ought to read.”
— Nancy Pearl
“Read the books you love, tell people about authors you like, and don’t worry about it.”
— Neil Gaiman