How to Get More Reading Done
It sits there, taunting you. That stack of books, whether it’s on your Kindle, your nightstand, or bookshelf. The books that you swear you’re going to reading one day. You can’t part with a single one- you will read it! And you will read this new book at the store too. You’ll read them all!
Whether you are reading for pleasure or self-education, reading is a great habit to develop for your personal growth. Reading promotes a larger vocabulary, creativity, and ultimately, is relaxing. And who couldn’t use a few more relaxing moments in their day?
But time slips away, that new years resolution of reading a book a week quickly fades away and gives into late nights at work, drinks with friends, the kids soccer games, etc. So your pile gets larger and larger, and then eventually the only time you see with your precious books is when you’re dusting them.
What is the solution to this problem? Treating reading like any other habit you’d like to develop for your personal success and advancement. By treating reading like a habit, you will quickly see your TBR (To be Read) pile shrinking.
But how do you create a reading habit? Here are three simple ideas for you to try to build your reading habit:
Read at a set time every day.
Have a few spare moments in the evening after the kids go to bed? Do you enjoy a coffee every morning? Work your reading into these already established habits. By working reading into your normal routine, it becomes part of that routine, and will feel odd when you don’t get your daily fix.
Keep it small.
Set a daily reading goal. This can be done in minutes, pages, chapters, what ever works for you. I personally read 25 pages every evening, and in a week, that’s 175 pages! In a month, I’ve read 700 pages, minimum.
If you’re really serious and want to share your reading addiction, I mean habit, get an accountability partner. This can take shape in a fellow bibliophile, a book club, a ladies coffee brunch, etc. A friend and I get together once a month to go over what we’ve read, chat, and to escape the boyfriends (and in her case, baby) for an hour or two on a Sunday afternoon. By sharing your progress with others, it taps into the shame of failure that all humans seem to have.
Now that you’ve decided to make reading a habit, and have figured out how to make that habit work for you, let’s talk about how to make it as enjoyable as possible. Reading is supposed to be fun! To progress in your reading goals, you need to develop your focus.
It’s funny to say that. People like to crow proudly that they are great multi-taskers, superheroes when it comes to getting it all done at once. But humans aren’t wired that way. To truly understand the material that you are reading, you need to focus on it.
But how do you develop your focus?
There are many systems, apps, and ideals that claim to have the market cornered on developing your focus. I like to use the Pomodoro technique, the mobile app Forest, and the Do Not Disturb feature on my phone.
A full post on the Pomodoro technique is coming, but the gist of it is you divide your work into 25 minute increments, with five minutes breaks between each session. I like to use this technique when the material I am going through is more technical, and requires more thought processing or taking notes. During these 25 minutes, you ignore every possible distraction. You can find many apps to use to time yourself, although a simple kitchen timer works just as well.
Another technique I use is the app Forest. It’s available on both iOS and Android, and is built on the idea of punishment and shame when you fail. When you launch the app, you set a timer. If you exit the app before the timer is up (answer texts, emails, etc), the tree that is growing dies. Over time you build a forest of digital trees, and any dead trees stick around and ruin your pretty forest! This is a cute quick way to reward yourself for being distraction free.
Finally, use the Do Not Disturb feature on your phone or computer. There are plenty of apps and extensions that block the internet while you’re reading, and Do No Disturb quiets distractions from your phone, letting you focus on your reading.