Given the numerous benefits of reading, we might wonder why we sometimes find it so difficult to read more books. Do you know any other activity that you can practice anywhere and that has such a variety of advantages? Apart from reducing stress and being entertaining, among other things, reading can help you improve your memory, verbal skills, capacity to concentrate and general knowledge.
Well, as usual, the number one culprit is time. As parents, we already have so much on our to-do list, that we often assume that there’s no time left for reading. So I have put together a list of six strategies that will help you read more without having to necessarily invest more time than you already do.
1. Optimize your reading efficiency
Reading more efficiently will allow you to read more in less time.
- Improve your reading skills: Try to focus on word chunks and stop sub-vocalizing (pronouncing the words in your head) to read faster.
- Create a distraction-free reading environment: Put your mobile on silence, switch off the TV, read in a quiet place.
- Do some pre-reading: Check the table of contents or chapters to get familiarized with the topic and know what to expect.
Check out my speed reading guide to know more.
2. Set reading goals
- Schedule time for reading every day, e.g. 30 minutes.
- Determine the number of pages you want to read every day. Reading 20-25 pages a day does sound feasible, doesn’t it?
- Decide how much time you want to spend on reading a specific book. Let’s say you want to read a 250-page book. Then you would just divide the number of pages by the number of days: e.g. 25 pages/day if you are planning to finish the book within 10 days.
It is essential that you set achievable goals to stay motivated. E.g., make sure you decide on a number of pages or an amount of time you can commit to. You can still re-adjust your objectives at a later stage.
3. Always carry a book with you
Make sure you always keep a book on you so that you can take advantage of any expected or unexpected downtime you might have throughout the day. Be it in the waiting room or at the playground, you will always be ready to dive into your book. You might be surprised at how many more pages you will be able to squeeze in and, personally, I think it’s a much better alternative than scrolling through your social media feed.
Especially nowadays, this is an easy thing to do. What works best for me is the Kindle app: I have it installed on my mobile and with a few books that I have downloaded. Of course, there’s nothing against carrying a book or an e-reader with you but having the book on my smartphone is one thing less I need to think about or carry around with me.
4. Keep a list
Maintaining a list of books you want to read is a great way of keeping up with your reading. This will prevent you from losing time looking for the next book once you’re done with one. Plus, looking forward to your next title might motivate you to dedicate to reading on a regular basis.
Easy ways to track your readings:
- Create a spreadsheet including information such as book title, author, number of pages, date you finished the book. You could even add a comment section.
- Maintain an Amazon list with the books you are planning to read. I like this option because I can directly access the book description and purchase the book.
- Set up a Pinterest board listing the books you are interested in
- Use a project management or to-do list app such as Trello or Evernote. These apps will allow having your list on all your devices.
5. Read only what you enjoy
Do you remember when you had to read a book you didn’t like at school? Well, this time is over. It’s OK to move on to the next title if you don’t enjoy the one you are currently reading. Reading books you like will keep you motivated and dedicated. And who knows, you might come back to that book at a later stage. Personally, I think you need to be ready for a book, so if the timing isn’t right, there’s no harm in putting it aside.
6. Read multiple books
Reading multiple books can be a great trick to read more. I find it especially enjoyable to be reading different genres at the same time (e.g., a novel, a biography, and a self-help book). This will avoid you getting confused, make your reading experience more interesting, plus, it allows you to choose the book you’re in the mood of reading. Another way of reading various books is to have them in different locations and on different mediums: a book on your night table, your smartphone or e-reader when you are on the go, a magazine in the bathroom.
And if you still struggle to find time to read, or if you just want to expand the pleasure of books to situations in which you cannot hold a book, you still can reach out to audiobooks, but that’s another story…
I’d love to know if you are using any of these strategies or if you have other tips to read more.