Doesn’t it seem like the next 24 hours of your life is already filled up with tasks, duties, meetings, and what-not? In such a fast-paced and dynamic world, 24 hours feel like a short time. But even though you cannot change the number of hours in a day, you can still make the most out of it. Reading should be a part of your everyday life. It seems unimportant but reading is a mental activity. It improves your memory and encourages a better understanding of the world.
Reading feels like a big commitment when you have a jam-packed schedule. Plus, it is hard to motivate yourself to read more books when it seems like you’re in way over your head with work commitments. Books demand special concentration from their readers. But like with routines, constantly reading things will form a healthy reading habit. If you stick with the habit long enough, you’ll surprise yourself with how many titles you’re crossing off your list.
Turn off Distractions
By distractions, that actually means your phone’s notifications. You will be amazed at how much time you can save by not checking social media every time your phone sends a notification. Don’t turn off your email and message notifications. Those are for emergencies. However, you shouldn’t feel the need to check your newsfeed every minute or so. That distracts you from reading. And when you are reading fiction and already in the zone, it’s hard to go back to it once you’ve been distracted by your phone.
If you are a traditionalist reader who only wants to read books and is not open to e-books, you should learn how to change your ways. You can still read your books at home but when you’re commuting or stuck in the line in the grocery store, e-books are a great alternative. Instead of browsing your social media feed, you can open the e-book and read as much as you can. The great thing about an e-book is that publishers offer monthly subscriptions, so you can have access to many titles every month.
Set Time for Reading Specifically
Set a schedule that you will use only for reading your books. Be deliberate in wanting to read more titles. That means setting aside a specific time each day—an hour before bedtime, for example—to read a few chapters. Slowly, you will realize that you’re reading more than you planned. On weekends, set longer periods for reading. While it’s nice to go out with your friends and family on weekends, make a plan to schedule an afternoon with just your books.
Find Bite-sized Books to Read
Bite-sized books are popular because they can explain big concepts in small chunks. You can dip in and out of these books, whether you have a minute or an hour to spare. The content is digestible, so it’s easy to open and dive yourself into it when you feel like reading. Most bite-sized books are 200 pages long. They give you valuable insights without needing to write 500 pages about it.
You don’t always have to read books. You can also read essays, news articles, and journals on the internet. These will provide a great mental activity for your brain, too. They will add information and knowledge to what you already know about the basics of a topic. Rather than forcing yourself to read a 700-page book, you can depend on bite-sized write-ups to gain more information about the topics you are interested in.
Ignore What You “Should” Be Reading
Every year, different publications will release a list of the “best books” to read. You will feel the need to read these titles as well. Don’t force yourself to read something you are not interested in. It’s easy to get lost in the stories of the books that appeal to you. But when you start forcing yourself to read books that don’t resonate with who you are, that makes reading more of a task than something you do for fun.
Practice Speed Reading
There are many techniques for speed reading. You can group words instead of reading word per word. You can use a ruler or a pen to guide your eyes across the page. Some also hold their breath and finish a paragraph before exhaling. Depending on what’s comfortable to you, speed reading will help you finish as many titles as you can.
Pick the techniques that work best for you. Combine them or adjust them according to your liking. Reading shouldn’t feel like a chore. In fact, finding time for it and being deliberate about reading should be the easiest thing in the world if you really want to read a book.