I’ve always been a fan of reading ever since I was younger, however, there was a time where reading was a big core of my life as a younger child and then as a young student due to academic reasons. But when I became a teenager, there was a pretty clear disconnect where I stopped reading as much. It always seemed like a constant battle against procrastination or spending time on games or even more productive things to try and convince myself to get back into a reading habit. The problem I always found was the acquiring or applying the time to read and finding something enjoyable to read. This post is of course accompanied by the usual video as well as a write up below of each point that I discovered was useful for staying consistent with reading.
Get a kindle
Getting a Kindle was perhaps the single most powerful thing I did in terms of applying myself more in my reading. There’s multiple reasons why a Kindle is so great so i’ll try to do my best to sell it to you, which of course is a surprising occurance since I have no affiliation to Amazon whatsoever, although it’s a product I believe in. In fact, you could use any E-Reader or perhaps a Tablet, but my personal experience lies with the Kindle specifically.
The first reason why I found a Kindle so powerful is because it saves space. I always had an issue when I was younger with having a small room so having a bookcase full of books was a space issue and once I got rid of it, I wasn’t reading as much, since i’m sure you can tell there’s a correlation between owning books and reading them. The Kindle lets you store hundreds of books in digital form without having to have physical space to put them, letting you literally carry around a whole portable library with you in your backpack. This is the main reason why I love to bring it when im travelling.
The kindle also has a glare-free screen. What this means is that it emulates the feeling of reading off paper in the sense that it doesn’t give off a bright artificial light that hurts your eyes. My old model didn’t have a built in light so I had to use a USB clip on light which was less than ideal, however, the newer models, and the one I own, have a built in backlight which illuminates the screen for night time reading but without the added eye pain. When you read the Kindle when looking at it’s screen, preferrably with the light off at first to notice it, you don’t feel the powerful light you’ve most likely previously experienced with your mobile phone.
Not only can you physically store countless books on the devices internal memory, you can also very easily acquire books providing that you own a PC or Laptop with an internet connection. If you’re looking for free books, you can find certain free books online in the form of EBooks and any books you’d usually buy can easily be purchased from online sites, more specifically, the Amazon store which is already built into the Kindle’s ecosystem, this lets you buy a book and get it directly to your device without the usual transfer method via the Computer. This means you have a huge open storefront to obtain the most popular and well received books in moments whilst still supporting Authors you love.
Set READING GOALS
One method which I find really helps is to set two different goals, being a daily and a monthly reading goal. The daily reading goal is the goal that I set myself each day which is how much of a particular book that I plan to read in that time frame. If you own a Kindle like myself, you can see the percentage completed of your current book in real time as you read. Usually as a ballpark figure, I aim to read about 10% of an average sized book a day, this of course can be downsized if it’s a huge book or a larger than average read. If you don’t actually own a Kindle, you could set yourself a daily page goal, for an example you could challenge yourself to read 50 or 100 pages a day for an example. As for the monthly reading goal, that is how many books I plan to get through per month. Personally, in a normal year I aim to read atleast 12 books a year, this means my monthly reading goal would be to make sure to read atleast 1 book a month which is very doable if you’re a slow reader or wish to enjoy a book or if you’re busy a lot like I am.
READ BOOKS THAT INTEREST YOU
One of the biggest tip that I realised over the course of my reading journey is that you should only read books that personally interest you. One thing I’d always find myself doing is trying to read really popular books or well rated books such as classics. I’d find myself almost fighting against my boredom in order to get through it just to say that I finished that particular book, only to drop it or stop reading completely in most of the cases. This would lead me to take multiple weeks off reading or month long hiatus’ from reading due to burn out or from a lack of enjoyment. It doesn’t matter if a book is super popular or well received, if you personally don’t enjoy it, you should probably choose something more accustomed to you. There’s so many book genres out there, go pick a better book.
DROP BOOKS YOU’RE BORED OF
This is another point that basically ties into my initial point beforehand. If you’re not enjoying the current book you’re reading, don’t be afraid to drop that book. No I don’t mean to literally drop it off a bridge or your 6 story apartment block, I mean close it or put it down or just move on. If you’re not getting what you need out of a book or if it’s ultimately long winded, go find something more appealing. The reason I’m re-outlining this specific point is because you will often find yourself sometimes already half way through a book, or further if you really pushed yourself, before you feel like you don’t want to continue it. It doesn’t matter how far through you are, if you don’t enjoy it, put it down or cut the classics if you’re guilty of that too!
One very popular method of reading, especially nowadays, is skimming. People have always skimmed through material, more notably magazines, in order to see whats inside before committing to reading it or to absorb as much as possible without paying for it in some situations. The same can be said with books. You’ll usually see many videos nowadays, some with much more outlandish titles than my own that I showed above. Some claiming “I read 200 books this Month” or “How to Read 150 Books A Year”. Of course this is doable, but when you watch the video, the majority of the people are not reading the book from cover to cover like you and I perhaps expect, they’re skimming every book and consuming perhaps 10% of it and then classing it as reading a book a day or every other day. This is all well and good as some books do in fact have a lot of dead air and filler text in them. Personally, I don’t like to skim things as I enjoy reading if i’m reading the right book. This method doesn’t work so well with fiction as you’ll skip over the majority of the story, however, it can be useful for factual material or books like business or self development books. You can skip through to see chapter titles or gloss over the index and wall of phrases to soak up quick information and tips and re-gloss over them to affirm them in your mind. I prefer to read the book fully and re-read it at a later date, but skimming can be beneficial for some people.
taking notes & summarizing
Note taking and making a summary of a book is especially important for those who heed the advice of my previous point in relation to skimming. If you are skimming a book, or even if you are genuinly reading it from cover to cover, the majority of us will subconsciously skip over words in our mind or not actually absorb everything we read. This could be because we might day dream in the middle of reading and our mind can wander or maybe due to an odd distraction or two. Taking notes in a factual book is one of the best things to do in order for it to resonate in your mind. This is also great for preventing the need to go back and keep re-reading the book to learn it. In self help books for personal development, it’s a really great method to list all of the tips and advice points and make a list of them to recall. Another example is a relationship book that gives you advice on improving your relationship skills or getting rid of bad social habits, these are things we can easily forget and this is why making a list of the key points of a book is really great for recollection later. There’s also great websites online that offer summarized versions of books that have already been done for you. If you head over to Google, you can find the most popular and helpful books written up in summary form so you can easily absorb the key points without giving time to completely read it, Reddit is also a great spot for this.
GoodReads is a website I didn’t hear of until I actually acquired my first Kindle. The reason for this is because the website is actually in-line with the device itself. This is great because it lets you interact with your account via your Kindle device which is especially great for before reading your next book and after. Perhaps you’re lost right now if you have no clue what the website is and that’s why I’ll explain it a little. GoodReads is basically a reading community and website where people can open an account and recommend their favourite books, make categories and groups based on genre and resemblance and also give them a rating or review. The review system on GoodReads is also another motivator for reading. For me personally, I actually really look forward to writing up a review of a book I finished reading and it also lets you put your start and finish dates to see how quick you read it. The site is great for searching by your favourite genre and finding great books you wouldn’t have normally found by yourself and also sometimes authors of books respond to your reviews.
listening to audio books
Ok so this may come as a big surprise for you all reading this blog post in hopes of tips for reading physical books. Well, let’s face the reality, not everyone has the time, or let me be more honest, not everyone can make the time to read. However, a lot of people can enjoy a book via audio form. The reason why I can recommend audio books is because you can listen to them whilst doing something else, making them perfect for multi tasking, they’re relaxing – providing the narrator has a calm or strong voice and they’re extremely convenient. For many of us who want to be productive throughout the day, AudioBooks (as well as Podcasts which are similar) are great for learning whilst being productive or studying if you’re a student. Although I make time for physical reading, reading an Audiobook is something that I do from time to time, usually for books that I’m not sure I will fully enjoy yet or that I would prefer being spoken to me. For Audio Books I would really recommend Audible, it’s the most popular website to purchase and listen to Audio Books and I’ve tried it out myself for 30 days from somebody else’s trial link in order to listen to 2 books by Authors Tim Ferris and Corey Wayne and I have to say I did really love it. The reason why I really liked Audible is because not only do you get 2 free books credits a month with the cheap subscription, you can also speed up the narration to 1.5x, 2x or higher in order to shave hours off the completion time, saving you time and making it a better experience.
If you want to get 30 Days FREE on AUDIBLE to listen to 2 FREE AUDIO BOOKS and help support this website and the general project whilst you’re doing it, you can use my link over here for a free trial: https://amzn.to/3vffhA2
mouthing written words
This isn’t specifically a method to read more, however, it’s a strategy I employ in order to make sure what I’m reading is actually resonating with me. When I’m reading normally, I notice that I may lack concentration in the moment for many reasons or be disturbed. In order to negate missing out on multiple crucial pieces of information, I like to mouth out words that I’m reading in real time, this sends an affirmation to my brain that this is something that I need to take note of and remember and it also feels like im reading it double the amount.
find a quiet reading place
One major contributor to my reading withdrawal phase over the years and why I didn’t read so much is because I didn’t really have a place to disconnect and relax. Reading is something you have to put full concentration into, you can’t do something on your computer or watch TV and read at the same time, or atleast you won’t learn or remember anything if you do so. Since I spend so much time on my computer for productivity and work reasons in order to run my businesses and also to play video games and generally browse the web, it’s very easy to get side tracked and sometimes procrastinate from certain priorities, one being reading. One thing that I found that helped was actually buying a second desk. I call this desk setup my “Productivity Desk Setup” or “Productivity Workspace”. This is basically a secondary desk in my room where I have my laptop (which I don’t use as much as my PC), my Kindle and any other productive things I want to do like utensils and paper for drawing for an example. This is the perfect spot to move away from my computer, that is only metres away, and sit somewhere out of the way in order to dedicate my focus to reading. This seems trivial but it really helps and it’s something I’d recommend as a room upgrade for anyone who is home a lot or who works at home or generally goes on their computer a lot. Nowadays I’m usually walking a lot in the city and I stop by a lot of parks on my daily walks which is where I sit down on benches and pull out my Kindle to read. There’s a lot of places for quiet reading and it depends on what suits you and your daily schedule and habits.
put down your phone
Phones are one of the biggest distractions in the modern age, especially for the younger generations. Unfortunately, I fall into one of these generations. However, I’m not as glued to my phone as a lot of people, but I do use it quite a lot throughout the day, mostly when im on the move walking or to respond to friends and family. The biggest reason phones are such a distraction is not only because we always have them nearby or on hand, but because notifications or sounds from our phone can make us become distracted from what we’re doing and throw us off. This is especially so with reading as breaking concentration kind of disconnects you from the experience. I found that putting my phone on silent, turning down the volume or putting it away for a while lets me focus more on reading and then I can get back to it later. Remember, you don’t need to reply to your messages within moments unless it’s an emergency, which, you’d hope youd get a phone call or a clearer sign if that were the case…
JOIN THE LOCAL LIBRARY
For those of you that are more classical and old fashioned or if you’re an older member of the community, libraries are still a really great resource to utilize. Local Libraries have a slew of really amazing books on hand that are totally free to borrow. The great thing about the Library is that you can borrow a book, read it pretty quickly and then take it back and exchange it. In fact, you can take out multiple books at once and read them without having to pay a dime and then return them and not require permanant space to hold them. What’s more, you can even ask the Librarians usually to order in new books you want to read or request your favourite books from other Libraries to collect.
If you just love paper backs or hardback books and I can’t convince you to go digital, then realise that you still don’t need to give an arm and a leg or pay a small fortune for your next reads. Just like people go bargain hunting for cheap foods or commercial items, books fall under this category too remember. Make sure to keep an eye out for discount books in your local libraries clearance or at the super market for some really great deals. There’s a lot of great bookstores that sell under RRP/market price or have regular deals. For an example, back in the UK I would always go to “The Works” which was a store that always had some great books for a fair price.
BOOK CLUBS & READING PARTNERS
If you’ve tried everything and still found yourself floundering over finding time to read or to apply yourself, don’t fret as there’s still one last secret. Humans are social creatures right? That’s what we’re always told so perhaps we can apply that here. If you’re a social butterfly, there’s a lot of options on offer. Book Clubs are a great social resource to take advantage of, you can find physical book clubs in the community via flyers or advertisements in the paper for an example or local and online book clubs via social media such as Facebook groups. There’s many ways to connect with people and if you can’t find a book club, you can always ask a friend or your partner to read the same book or a different book together or seperately as a challenge to see who can finish it first or just so you can talk about it as you go through it. Reading can be a social experience and it’s always great to share it with others and it’s a good motivation to help you read more.