Every single time I post a review of the book I have read — I have read 11 books so far this year — I have people asking me how I find the time to read as many books as I do.
How do I consistently read 40+ books every year and how can you read more this year than you did last year? I offer a guide I hope will prove useful to you…
It’s not uncommon to see someone who did not read a single book the past year decide to read 10 books. It’s already a recipe for disaster. It’s difficult to make that kind of leap and it often results in frustrations and discouragement. When you put that kind of pressure on yourself, reading becomes a chore and not an enjoyable activity it is meant to be.
Instead, simply resolve to read this year more than you did last year, even if marginally. If you read no books last year and you are able to read 2 books this year, you have improved by 200%. That’s huge progress. Even if all you are able to read this year is 1 book, that 100% progress should not be scoffed at.
Don’t Force Books
Again, reading is meant to be fun. If it is not fun, there’s no point. So start with only the books you perceive you would enjoy. If you find a book boring and you feel there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, dump it. An unenjoyable book is an unenjoyable book. It’s not your fault it’s boring so you don’t have to feel bad that you dump it.
You should know that the reason you are not forcing the book on yourself is because it will give you the chance to pick a book more to your taste.
A little caution: Some books have slow starts and would need some sticking to to get to the interesting parts.
I am a personal finance buff and believe that everything should be budgeted for, including books. Truth is, if you are serious about reading books, you need to buy books. Of course, most of us don’t have the funds to buy as many books as we want but it is necessary to buy as much as we can. Buying books gives you an extra motivation to read as you have skin in the game. It works. Physical books are especially good as studies show that reading physical books are better than computer screens in terms of retention and comprehension.
Also, in this age of increasingly high book piracy, buying books incentivizes the writing of more great books we can enjoy.
Create Format Options
My favourite reading format used to be physical books. While growing up and till my undergraduate, it was the only means of reading I knew. But once I started my working career, I started finding it difficult to read as I wanted because I had to wait till I got a hold of a physical book. Fortunately for me, that was when there began a rise in eBooks. It was a lifesaver. I would buy a book, get the electronic copy (preferably in pdf), and still get it on a book app. I tried audio books but they didn’t work for me. They might for you.
The more format options you have, the more access you have to reading and the more time you can spend reading.
Put Books Around You
I like to surround myself with books. At home, I have book shelves everywhere in the house. This way, I can pop into a room and pick up a book to read. Even when I didn’t plan to read, seeing a book around encourages reading. At work, I have books on my table, in my drawer and on the shelf.
You want to read more, put books everywhere around you. Get comfortable around books
Create Reading Time
Without creating reading time for yourself, you may probably never make any headway.
For me I am an early riser, so I sleep early (to get my 7–8 hours of sleep) to wake up at 4am every week day. I read for about 1hr30mins before preparing for work. I accomplish more reading between those hours than I do the rest of the day. If you are a late riser, you should attempt creating your reading time before going to bed. 30 minutes. 1 hour. It depends on you.
If you will set this time aside, you must ensure that your phones and internet services are off. Distractions often don’t help with reading.
Yes, you can create time. Cut back a bit of time you spend on social media and you will have an extra 15 minutes you can use. A survey shows that Nigerians spend an average of three hours 30 minutes on social media. Cutting back 1 hour still gives you 2 hours 30 minutes. It’s totally doable. I would read way more books every year if I spend less time on the internet reading dozens of articles on all kinds of topics everyday.
Use Traffic Time
I don’t like driving. I live in Lagos and traffic congestion is factored into our daily routine. So I sometimes use traffic time to read. I know some who read 20+ books yearly simply listening to audio books while driving. Our time in traffic adds up and if you can use these opportunities to read, you will be surprised how much you would have achieved by December.
Join a Book Club
Listen. The best way to learn to be a better accountant is to work with great accountants. The best way to be a better doctor is to work with great doctors. Iron sharpens iron. If you want to be a great reader, start with joining a book club. You will meet great readers there. Interestingly, there are now online book clubs. These clubs will spur you and push you to read more. They have book(s) of the month and provide avenues to discuss the books read. Sharing what you read has tremendous advantages and these clubs provide platforms to share. I am in one of such book clubs. You can request entrance if you want to join.
Joining a book club may be the best way to improve your reading habits.
Follow these tips and I assure you that you will be able to read this year than you did last year.
If you have other tips you use, please share.