When I tell people that I read 83 books last year I always get some variation of the same response: “How do you read that much?”
Some people think I read at the speed of light, which is astoundingly far from the truth. My mother can read a 300-400 page book in thee hours. She is a fast reader. I can read a 300-400 page book in about eight hours. That’s faster than some, but in a race I would be the octogenarian on a vespa. My secret is that I just read all the time. I read when I’m making dinner, in the car (when I’m not driving, of course), before bed, and even in the bathroom. I read whenever my workday is going extra slow and any other time I can manage it. So if you think you can’t read as much because you’re not fast, here are a couple of things I’ve found to make it easier.
- Schedule a time to read.
We’re all busy, so finding the time to add something else to our day is not always easy. When I decided to start exercising everyday it was definitely hard. I had to schedule a time first thing in the morning, which also meant waking up earlier in order to get it done. But that means that you can do the same thing with reading. Schedule a time each day specifically for reading and commit at the same time every day.
- Put your electronics in time out.
We live in a technological age. We all have TVs, computers, smart phones, tablets, or any combination thereof. Being bored is not something we experience much any more. So when you want to read, turn off all your electronics and put them in time out. You have now eliminated most of the distractions in your life (though if you have kids, investing in a sound-proof room or heavy padlocks will probably help as well).
- Pick up a book.
This may seem obvious, but it isn’t. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve finished a great book and went to move on to another one and couldn’t pick a single book I wanted to read. When this happens, which it probably will if you haven’t read frequently in the past, start by grabbing the first book that remotely catches your attention. Remember, you can always put it back and grab a new one if you don’t like it, but the key is to start.
- Find somewhere to sit.
This one is also remarkably hard for people today. It goes back to us being busy; we want to constantly be doing things. If you can fight this urge, take your book, sit somewhere comfortable, turn on some relaxing music if you think it may help, and open up to page one. Do not get up unless you are done reading for the allotted time or your child is threatening to break down the door. It may be hard at first, but if you keep going it will get easier and you’ll start to look forward to reading time.
- Begin reading!
Again, obvious, but this comes back to what we talked about in the second step about getting distracted. As soon as you sit down and begin reading, if you’re anything like most people, you begin feeling guilty about taking time to relax and start thinking about all the things you need to get done. Resist this urge as well, but even saying that I know that it’s not easy. In fact, this will probably be the most difficult part for some people. But just keep reading! Those things will get done eventually. Who actually gets all the things on their to-do-list done every day anyway? I’m lucky to get half each day. And no, it’s not because I read so much… That’s preposterous.
So remember: reading isn’t about how fast you can plow through a book; it’s about how much time you spend reading and how much you enjoy it when you do. If you begin to love reading (and if you read books you enjoy, I promise you will), then you won’t be able to stop. It will become a habit that will only ever make your life better. So go make time to read that book you’ve been putting off. Take some time out of your busy day to relax and enrich your life. You absolutely deserve it.