Wanting to read more is something many of us want, me included. We all have books we want to buy but keep postponing. We all have unread books piling up by our nightstand or bookshelf. We all need more time to do so, or at least that is the excuse for not reading those books. More particularly, that is my number one excuse, followed immediately by work and fatigue. So I thought I need to implement some changes. I need to get organized and I need to insert some structure into my days in order to optimize reading time. Oh… have you noticed the words I used? ORGANIZE, STRUCTURE and OPTIMIZE are big words and whenever I see them, especially in the same sentence I feel like cringing. They are words adults use and people who always seem to have their sh** together.
Can I do it, is one of the essential questions here, but it pales in comparison to how much I want to do it? That is the bottom line. Do I really want it? One way to find out is to think about how often the thought of reading more is popped into your head throughout the last year. Of course this would be an approximation, but if you have thought about it often enough you will know. And I have.
Another though question is do I want it as bad as to do something about it? This is the point where many of us fail. We all want to do certain things. We wish to go places, learn new skills, start a business, and get out of our comfort zones… But do we really achieve those things? Or do they remain in the realm of wishing? OK, there are many things I could write about here, but let’s not get sidetracked. The fact is that I want to stop wishing to read more. I want to read more. And I want it bad enough to do something about it. I am hereby exiting the realm of wishing and entering the one of doing. Here are some ways to achieve that.
(1) One way to start is to look at your day, and see where you might have any dead time. Dead time is for example when you drive, or take the bus. You are engaged in an activity and can’t really do much else while doing it. I have about 1.5 hours of travel time to and from work every day. Instead of just sitting there (the bus, in my case) and scrolling endlessly through social media feeds I could read a book or listen to an audiobook. For me, listening to an audiobook proved to be a better option as sometimes I get dizzy while reading in a moving vehicle. I have started this month and have already listened to two books this way.
Audiobooks don’t need to cost you a thing, if you don’t want to. Check out your local library. Many of them have e-shelves or some sort of option for listening to books. It can be as easy as downloading an app and you get instant access to the latest releases.
(2) One good tip is to carry a book with me at all times. It is a habit I picked up a long time ago. I can read while standing in a queue or waiting at the dentist. It does require some self-control and also habit, not to reach for the phone instead, let me tell you that. I would recommend picking something light and fast paced, something that will want you to keep turning the page. And if you only have time for two pages then those two are better than no page.
(3) Are you a fan of to do lists? Do you get that extra pump of adrenaline whenever you tick off an item from that list? If so, one simple way to read more is to add reading to that list.
(4) Set aside some reading time before you go to bed. Reading is a great way to wind down after a long day. It is a much better option than staring at the screen of your phone.
(5) Now, this next point will be a hard one. We all have that one activity we wish to do less of. Less TV, Netflix or YouTube time. It’s so easy to just sit back and relax in front of the screen. Do you also tell yourself that you’ll only do it for a little while? I do, but it always ends up being more. And the guilt… You don’t need to give up your favorite series, but don’t get into all the new ones at the same time. Set aside a time for watching the one you’re really into and that’s it.
(6) This one I have mentioned already but needs to be mentioned separately as it is something which consumes a lot of time. And that is scrolling endlessly through bottomless social media feeds. How many silly cat videos one needs to watch on Facebook after all?
(7) And finally, some short pointers. Keep a list of the books you read and share your favorite reads with friends and family. Join a book club. And don’t waste time trying to read books you don’t enjoy from the start.
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