How to Read More Books
This article is for those who have heard that you should read more books but have no clue how to make it happen.
But for many people, reading a book is a waste of time. It’s not as instantly gratifying as watching TV or playing video games, and it’s easy to postpone, skip, or get distracted with something else.
But if you read more and learn to manage your time better, you can develop your reading skill, too. It’s much easier than you might think.
I read 200 books per year and have been steadily hitting this goal since 2014
Here are some of the many hacks I use. I’ve been managing my time in single-digit hours per day since I graduated from college. Pick and choose whatever works best for you.
Books are by far the best investment you can make. You may not realize it, but they are fueling you with more information than you realize. They keep your head above water as you progress through your career.
We’ve built a product team (and company) that relies on books as a foundation and a tool to shape our thinking for our customers.
If you’re worried about finding the time to read, here are some tools to help you. I’ve found that mixing together the right amount of tools and the right amount of willpower, you’ll find that time.
15 Simple Hacks to Read More Books
Reading is fun. And nothing is more satisfying or fulfilling than being a book worm.
Books provide a window to the world, even if it’s a fictional world. It’s a way to learn more about a specific subject, the human psyche, and even help you deal with life better.
For some, it’s really satisfying to just hold a book in your hand, while for others, it’s the sense of accomplishment after finishing a great book.
Include Reading In Your Daily Routine
If you’re like me, you read more when you’re at school or just graduated from college. But once you enter the workplace, life gets so busy that you don’t have time to read. And you say to yourself: “Reading is for school. Now that I’m working, I don’t have time to read anymore”.
However, when you’re at the office, you’re surrounded by some of the best resources that money can buy. And you should take advantage of that to read more.
But you should also alter your reading environment. Walk around and read while you walk. Keep a book with you and read whenever you have a spare minute. If you can’t read while standing, then find a place to sit for 15 minutes a day and just read. You’ll be amazed with how much you’ll read just by adding a bit of environmental support.
Identify Your Reading Blocks
How many times have you started a book and set it aside? How many times did you start reading a book but feel totally disinterested and never got through it?
It’s natural to think that you can’t read a book without challenges. However, this is not true.
Reading does not require your complete attention. Rather, it is an activity you can do as you do other things. It’s a simple but profound reminder that whether you read a book or not is up to you.
How would you like to harness the power to pick up a book and read it without getting bored? It’s simple, really.
What you need to do is figure out what works for you and what does not.
Here are some popular excuses why people don’t read books. Pay attention to which excuses resonate with you, so you can avoid them in the future.
If you’re an avid reader, chances are you have a bookshelf full of books you’ve bought and haven’t read. It’s always hard to motivate yourself to crack open that book and start.
With audiobooks, you can listen to the books you’re reading while you’re doing something else. Instead of zoning out with the TV, you can listen to a book and learn something new.
If you don’t want to spend money on an audiobook, you can go to your local library and borrow books on tape. You can also check out sites like Overdrive to borrow audiobooks.
Not Enjoying It? Quit Reading That Book!
As Shumi mentioned, reading a book is a solitary activity. Hell, even reading a book is a solitary activity.
If you’re not enjoying a book, you can’t laugh at a buddy telling a joke or nodding at a friend ranting about whatever your quirky friends rant about? You can’t even scowl in disgust. That’s right. And this is why you need to stop reading that book.
Even if you don’t want to.
So many books get boring, for instance. They’re not even boring by the writer’s design. The writer’s design is simply to transport you to another land. Another life. But for you, it just so happens to suck ass. And you can’t put it down, but you also don’t want to put it down.
What do you do?
There are two things that you can do.
Force yourself to keep reading and hope you grow to like it.
Read What Makes You Happy
We aren’t born with a predefined set of favorite genres, types of books, musicians, or places. Instead, it’s our experiences that shape us into the people we become. Our backgrounds, cultural upbringing, uneventful yet seminal moments from childhood all help add layers to the person we become.
These unique experiences also determine the way we approach the world and process the things we experience day in and day out. For some, these experiences direct their tastes in entertainment, music, literature, and film.
The majority of them prefer nonfiction titles or non-genre specific books skewed towards a set of designated topics, such as current affairs, spirituality, and city gossip.
For you to maximize the value you get from reading, approach it with the same attitude you do other activities in life. Formal education, social upbringing, and the hardships of life will all make you more resilient and cast a wider net on what appeals to you in literature.
Always Bring A Book
Reading a book is no longer a mere activity, or even a habit. It has turned into a lifestyle choice. People join book clubs, they buy the books they love the look of like a piece of furniture and they use apps like Goodreads to track the books they’ve read.
But, buying books, joining book clubs and signing up for an app is not all it takes to make reading a daily habit. Because, as James Clear writes, “The hardest step of any new habit is the very first one.”
And that’s why it’s important to have a strategy to make reading work for you.
Engage In Challenges
When I was a kid, I used to love the traveling bookstore in our town. I must have bought two or three books every time the truck came by and I would read them in one sitting.
But my reading habits changed when I reached the stage of high school and couldn’t find interesting books to read. I drifted away from reading books, and it wasn’t until a few years back that I started to read again. The reasons for that were several, including the fact that a strong recommendation by someone I respect flipped the switch and got the reading process going.
My reading skills were itty-bitty at first, but I managed to overcome that barrier. One method that has worked for me is to challenge myself to read certain books before I can read others. Remembering that I want to read a specific book, I have to finish another book every time I finish the initial target. That usually works wonders. Most of the times I finish a book just so I can have the freedom to pick up another one.
Find a Reading Buddy
You’ll read more if you are accountable to someone. Pick a friend who can help keep you honest. Meet for lunch every week to talk about your reading adventures, books you’re thinking about reading, and books to avoid.
Alternatively, if you would rather not randomly ask people to read with you, you can join a book club or start your own based purely on your reading tastes. Don’t join a book club just for the conversation. Find one with enough of a reading requirement for you to fit the bill.
Reorganize Your Down Time
It is never too late to learn to read more. You need to dedicate time for reading books and other content. One effective way to do this is to re-organize your down time.
Instead of watching the evening news, try reading the newspaper or a book. If you catch yourself surfing the web just for entertainment, change that habit and replace it with reading.
Use this time to start small. Set a goal to read a few pages or one chapter per day. Then slowly move up to a more aggressive goal.
This works because we are creatures of habit and we get comfortable with things. Reading is just another habit.
You have to create the habit and feed it to make it stick. Don’t depend on inspiration alone. You need to be intentional and set up a daily habit.
Read Multiple Books
I mentioned this in the “Everyday was a hustle” post but I think this is worth mentioning again.
I think the best way to keep up with new information is to read multiple books at the same time. This way you can compare ideas and go deeper into concepts that interest you.
Also, to finish reading a single book, it can take months. That’s a long time. Unless you’re reading a few books, you’ll be on the same book for a long time and forget about it.
The best way to multitask reading is to take shorter books and read a few pages at a time from each book. When you’ve finished with each book, then take another one.
Share Your Opinions On Books
Reading books can be one of the most enriching experiences of your life. The kind of knowledge you gain through reading is powerful, and if you can’t get it from a book, you are likely to never get it at all.
But how do you get yourself to read more books?
If you are not an avid reader, you may find yourself anxious to start, but not knowing what to read. I started with the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which opened my mind to thinking differently about my work and personal life.
So, if you’ve been in this dilemma, the best advice I can give is that you start with a book that has been read by many people who are ahead of you in life.
Based on the positive feedback of the readers of that book, you can assume that you’ll get something valuable if you give that book a chance. Another piece of advice that I would give you is to share your thoughts on the books that you read, with friends, family, and advertisers on Goodreads.
Read Smaller Books
If you’re really busy and think that even 15 minutes is impossible, make the most of a small time frame by reading smaller books/chapters.
You can read multiple shorter but related books. Find interesting articles instead of reading only one long book.
Reading shorter books makes an impact because you’re forced to concentrate more on one topic.
For easy reading, spread out your reading over the course of several days.
Read for five minutes first, then put the book away for a few hours or days.
You get time to avoid distractions from both work and home.
Once you go back to the book, you approach it with refreshed enthusiasm and can read it more easily.
To help you take the time to read, create your own routine to incorporate your reading. This might include getting up a few minutes earlier so you can read before work or going to bed a few minutes later so you can read before going to sleep.
Get Your “Triggers” Ready
When your triggers are ready for you, it becomes really easy to fit reading into your schedule because these triggers will make you want to use that time.
Utilize Your Spare Minutes
If you want to be a voracious reader, relearn how to use minutes in your day in ways that allow you to expand your reading time. One of my favorite strategies is to set an alarm to ring every 60 minutes during the day. When the alarm goes off, I take a short break to read anything interesting I find on the web.
Instead of letting a to-do list build up over the course of a few days, write down three or four things that you want to do in the next 60 minutes. When you’re finished with one task, you can move on to the next one.
Turn off the TV and eliminate any distractions for one hour each evening. Use that hour to read.
Have A TBR List or Pile Ready To Go
Even if you already have a couple of books on your shelf waiting to be read, make a list of the books you want to read.
Go to your local library and take a look in the books section. Which books are you most attracted to? Which one are you willing to pay the deposit for? Write down their names and add them to a research list.
You can even go a step further and go online. Find a site that lets you add books to your wish list, and collect books that appeal to you into a virtual list.
Just make sure you get the titles of books you are interested in, so you can make your first book a priority and get it read as soon as possible.
Buy A New Book
If you don’t have a regular habit of reading, why not start a new one? Get a new thrill every week by buying a new book. Buy a book. Read a book. And then buy another book the next week. This way you’ll ensure a steady influx of new material and will soon have more books lying around than clothes.
If you think that you’ll forget about that novel you bought, but didn’t get time to read, don’t worry. Download the Kindle app on your phone and the Kindle App for PC and devices. This way you will have that book with you all the time.