Making time to expand your mind
I haven’t always enjoyed reading. I do a lot of reading at my job so I would find it tiring, after reading all day, to go home and read more. So I ended up not reading as much as I think I should have and felt like I was missing out on something.
Make a reading plan
Set simple goals; if you’re like me and can read 1 or 2 books a month then there’s no pressure to read 4 or 6 books a month like we hear other people doing.
Setting these small goals will keep us motivated as we see that we can handle this pace. I set a daily goal of reading 10 pages per day per book, sometimes I exceed that goal, sometimes I don’t.
For me, this is a comfortable pace and I typically finish a book on time. When I finish a book early, I don’t start a new book, I take a break until the next month.
I find when I tell people what I want to do, that task doesn’t reach completion. So keeping your goals to yourself is a researched way to keep your yourself set towards that goal.
Sticking to it
I created a book list comprised of contemporary and classic books. Some of these books are challenging to read. I used to have a habit of powering through a book just to finish it but realized I was just wasting my time.
I wasn’t absorbing the narrative, the messages from the author, and not really enjoying the book.
So instead of quitting I take it off my monthly book list and keep it as a side book to read when I had extra time. This was a better experience than slogging through pages waiting to get to my 10-page goal.
I also try to read my 10 pages in a sitting. I’ll set aside 30 minutes at a time to read. Sometimes I go beyond that time or less, depending on the words per page and my motivation for the day.
If you don’t want to create a book list then find books you think you’ll enjoy reading by browsing best seller lists. I think reading something is better than reading nothing.
Mix up it and try a genre that you wouldn’t normally read, maybe you’ll find something you like. Not everything we read has to have a life improvement goal, though finding a book you enjoy reading and that will help you is great.
I like to take notes when I have a hard time understanding what the author is telling me or if I find something interesting. I keep index cards of quotes I find interesting, these acts help me remember important points, and notes help me connect with what the author is trying to convey.
Access and environments for reading
This will sound funny and a little gross but keeping a book available in the restroom gives us a great opportunity to read a few pages. It might sound extreme but why not read a page or 2 while getting ready for your day?
I think we should say yes to audiobooks. I use the free service from librivox for some of the classic books and it’s great for long car trips or waiting at the airport or while grocery shopping.
While we’re saying yes to audiobooks, let’s say yes to ebooks too. We can get free ebooks from public libraries, or borrow them from friends. I’ve been using Amazon Kindle for years and that’s one of the reasons why I read more, the availability of books on my phone or tablet makes reading accessible.
Create an environment for reading
We have busy lives, there are places we have to go, things we have to do and then there’s the exhaustion at the end of the day so who has time to read? I get it. There are days when I just don’t have the time.
Then there are days where I make the time. Do I need to watch TV? Nope, that’s time to read.
Getting in the habit of making time to read has changed the way I use my time at home. I don’t want to isolate myself while others watch TV so I read while they watch and it seems to work out.
Try to create a library. I didn’t think I would have a little library but now I see my collection growing every month. Look for used books at local stores, you can get good books at a very low price and it helps local business owners.
I recently found the complete works of Shakespeare at a local antique store, the 3 volumes were printed in 1898 and they were relatively cheap and in good condition. This helped me knock out 2 goals: building a library and reading Shakespeare.
If buying books are out of your budget then please visit your local library, librarians are a great resource for locating books if they don’t have them at that location.
I can read in noisy environments, it’s from years of practice. If you have a hard time reading with distractions then find a location comfortable for you but not too comfortable that you’ll fall asleep. This is why I recommend not reading in bed.
The last week of the month I look at my book list and pick 2 for the next month. This gives me time to find the book at the library or used bookstore. It also helps because it’s 1 less decision I have to make regarding reading.
Change perspectives on reading
I used to think of reading as a task or more like a chore, pushing through chapters just to finish the book. Reading a lot of work felt like it took the fun out of reading for fun but I changed my perspective on reading.
Try starting small and building to 2 books a month and it’s something I enjoy. Changing our perspectives can do a lot for our motivation and help keep us disciplined to keep going.
I got into the habit of skimming books at bookstores and libraries. Picking out a chapter or 2 from subjects or authors I might not be used to reading has helped me broaden the scope of what I read and how the author conveys a story.
(Side note: there are very few story types in the world but each author can present the story in interesting and new ways)
Keeping things interesting is a good way of staying motivated when reading. For my 2 books a month, I select works of different genres; this way I don’t get fatigued by reading the same type of work. This also helps my attention by alternating between stories.
We make time for all things important and all things distracting, so why not add reading to the important list? I’m sure there’s some time we can take away from social media or television so we can read a few pages.
There are so many reasons why and how to make time to read, to join the great conversation through time. Challenge yourself and create a reading list and make reading goals, you’ll be glad you did.
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