Books are wonderful.
Through the written word, whole new worlds open us. We gain access to knowledge, experience, stories–even revelation–previously beyond our grasp.
But many of us feel too busy to read! How can we find the time to explore the many great books with the little time we have?
If you’ve ever wished you had more time to read, these 6 simple habits will increase your reading immediately, guaranteed.
- Take reading with you. I’ve been doing this for years. Why? Because there are unexpected moments in your day when you find yourself waiting–waiting for a prescription to be filled, a kid to finish sports, or a pot to boil. Learn to expect those “unexpected” moments and whip out that book! By carrying a book with you wherever you go, you will read more. And with e-readers and tablets, this is easier than ever. Never be without a book.
- Read at least 15 minutes a day. Setting yourself a modest reading goal will lead to significant reading over time. And as you set and achieve this goal, day after day, you will find your reading increases as you are able. But the point is this: even a few minutes a day, over time, leads to significant amounts of reading. 15 minutes a day is over 90 hours of reading in a year!
- Explore different genres. Don’t get addicted to the same stuff, be it heavy theology or light fiction, memoirs or romance–mix it up. Yes, this may be a stretch, but it keeps you from getting bored or stuck. The key to a good reading habit is that you look forward to your reading. More than that, exploring different genres ensures that your increased reading will lead to expanded thinking, not just perpetually grazing the same content over and over again.
- Mark it up or write it down. Engage with your reading. This is perhaps easier with non-fiction, but good fiction should contain quotable moments, too. Capture them somehow. Memorize them. Create memes. The more you engage your reading, the more likely it is to stick. I use highlighters and pens, and occasionally I take notes.
- Talk about what you are reading with others. For me, this is key. As a verbal processor, talking about what I’ve read cements what I’ve been learning. The more interesting the book, the more likely I am to share about it! Fellow readers love to hear about books, and you’ll find that talking together increases your understanding, introduces you to new reading and keeps you wanting more!
- Listen to your reading! More than ever, we can listen while on the move. Gardening, biking, driving, filing, walking, whatever–audio books are now mainstream and can be accessed through your local library, subscription services like Audible.com, or by simple purchase.
I know that some purists might not think “listening” qualifies as reading, but that’s just a myopic, cultural bias we have for visual over audio. Listening to a book is a great way to “read” and enables you to access far more reading than would otherwise be available to you (on some devices, you can even speed up the reading speed a little). You might find that certain genres work better on audio than others; find your personal preference and go with with it. I find that by having audio books on the go, as well as printed books, I’ve been able to dramatically increase my reading time.
We can create daily reading habits, even if we don’t have much time for it. And by practicing even a few of these 6 habits, I guarantee you’ll be surprised at how much more you are reading. Enjoy!
What has helped you read more?
What habit would you add to this list?