How to Read More Books
Finding a way to read some of the books I own before buying any more
I go through phases of reading a lot of books, to barely reading anything at all.
My focus and concentration were at an all time low during the pandemic and various lockdowns, and I’ve never picked up my reading routine since then.
However, I’ve not stopped buying books. I love books, so why would I? But the problem is I’m buying and not reading, and that’s making me sad.
Right now, I own 186 books. 48 of those are Astrology books, which I often use as reference guides, but there are a few in there that I would enjoy reading cover to cover. I have probably around 20-30 books which are not cover to cover reads, as they are reference books of all kinds of things such as gardening, art, herbal medicine, wildlife and nature etc.
That still leaves a lot of books to get through, and as I said, I’m still buying a few books a month as they bring me joy.
Why did reading become so hard?
As I mentioned at the start, my focus and concentration were at an all time low during the pandemic. I found sitting and reading so hard to do with everything going on in the world and the stress and worry associated with it.
Stress and Anxiety
I now know that I can’t indulge in the pleasure of reading if I’m struggling with prolonged stress and anxiety, which is a good incentive to keep that in check.
High Intensity Content
Also, I didn’t change the intensity of what I was reading. I quite often read pretty heavy going books. Most of my books are more like textbooks than novels. Although I love a good story, I tend to get my sci-fi fix in the form of an audio book.
Watching too much Netflix
During the pandemic, I became a box-set binger and found this to be a hard habit to shake. With only so many hours in the day and my free time devoted to Netflix, it was impossible to sit and read a book.
How can I read more?
To read more, I need to create a habit, so I started with a simple one. Read a minimum of 20 pages every day.
To make this happen, I switched out a Netflix break for a reading break, and introduced a reading session into my early mornings before I start work.
Eventually 20 pages a day turned into 30, then 40, then 50. Very quickly, I chose to read whenever I had a free moment, and habitually picked up a book instead of the remote control.
To make things easier, I started with a book I knew would be an easy and entertaining read to give myself the least resistance to the process.
Top Tips to Read More Books
- Commit to reading a minimum number of pages a day to create a reading habit
- Set yourself up for success with a reading goal that is easy to achieve
- Start with a book you know will be easy and enjoyable
- Pick a time of the day when you can read with limited interruption
- Switch out the remote control for a book
- Carry a book with you everywhere you go
- Download a reading tracking app, such as Bookly, to help you set goals and celebrate your success.
Setting Reading Goals
Since starting my commitment to reading more a few weeks ago, I have read two books and I’m half way through a third. My goal is to read around 2-4 books per month, depending on the intensity and size of each book.
Tracking What You Read
I’m a big fan of tracking whatever I am interested in, as it helps focus my attention.
I use Bookly on my mobile phone to track what I read. I love the little stats section, which let’s me know my average pages, time and reading streak information.
Taking Book Notes
I’m a note taker when it comes to books. Probably because most of the books I read are educational. I read very few novels.
As I read, I underline sections, write in the margins, and sometimes make additional notes on my ReMarkable 2.
Up until now, this is as far as I’ve been getting with my book notes, but I’m in the process of changing that after recently reading Building a Second Brain by Tiago Forte.
I want to take the notes I’ve highlighted and capture them in Notion using a system where they won’t just go into a digital graveyard, never be seen again. At the time of writing this, I am just beginning this process and will share more in an upcoming blog. You can sign up for email blog updates by entering your details in the sign up box at the end of this article.
I just want to highlight that I am not a fast or proficient reader. I’m easily distracted, require total silence, and I get very absorbed in the information and often end up taking mountains of notes. Yes, I am that person!
And still, I can read 2-4 books a month by creating a habit, watching less TV, tracking my reading, and choosing a book over Netflix some of the time.
Tell me your thoughts
- Do you already have a reading habit in place or is this something you are trying to establish?
- What are you reading at the moment?
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