I love to escape into a good book. Letting everyday life drift away as I immerse myself in a completely different world not only relaxes me, it expands my horizons.
I get to travel, learn new things and meet interesting people. Okay, fictional people, but nonetheless fascinating.
The one thing that prevents me from reading more? Time!
There never seems to be enough of it in a day to get everything done. And then I’m going to read a book?
Maybe you’re like me, a book lover that made a vow to read more this year. Or maybe you’re somebody that just wants to start a healthy reading habit. After all, studies have shown it reduces stress, increases focus and improves your memory.
Either way, it turns out the best way to start reading more books is with a plan of action. Just like diet or exercise, being a prolific reader is a lifestyle choice.
So with the goal of turning more pages in 2020, here are 15 hacks to help you start reading more books.
1. Start Slow
To take the stress off of yourself and make reading more enjoyable, start with a reasonable goal. You wouldn’t sign up for a marathon if you were new to running, right? No, you work up to it slowly.
The same mindset needs to apply to your reading. Start small and work your way up. Try starting with 10 pages a day. Totally doable, right?
And once you get into the swing, you can start increasing your page count over time.
2. Quitters Prosper
Most of us have done it. We buy a book that we don’t end up liking but have this guilty compulsion about finishing it. So we slowly slog through it until the anti-climatic ending.
Here’s where you need a mindset change. Because reading a book out of obligation only takes time away from reading books that DO actually interest you. Remember, your book is not a person, and you don’t need closure with it.
So if you find yourself not wanting to read that novel you bought, don’t. Donate it and move on! You’ll be happier and you’ll get more reading done.
3. Read What You Want. Not What You Should.
Embarrassed about reading that bodice ripper? Don’t be! You shouldn’t feel guilty about reading something you enjoy.
We all have different tastes, so give yourself the freedom to pick up whatever interests you. Crime novels. Romance. 50 Shades of whatever. Dig in! Whatever you choose to read will help you flex your reading muscles.
And if that eventually tempts you to read Anna Karenina, good for you. If not, who cares!
4. Seize the Moment
Another way to read more books is to keep one with you at all times. So maybe you don’t have two consecutive hours to keep your head in a novel.
But most of us do have little bursts of time between the events of our busy day. Maybe you’re waiting around at the carwash, or hanging out before you get your teeth cleaned. Maybe you decide to grab lunch alone.
Instead of whipping out your phone and checking emails, read! You’ll be surprised how many pages those little moments add up to.
5. Set a Definite Reading Time
Besides taking advantage of little moments throughout the day, it also helps to have a dedicated reading time.
For you, maybe it’s best first thing in the morning with your coffee. But there’s also a lot to be said for reading before you go to bed. Powering down your devices early will actually help you sleep better.
And if you only make it 10 minutes before you start snoozing, that’s okay too. 10 minutes is better than no minutes.
6. Steal Time from TV Watching and Social Media
If you take the trouble to add up the time you spend on social media and watching TV, you’ll find it surprising. Um, maybe even disturbing?
The point is we can all afford to cut back a little. Or a lot. Even if you only steal 30 minutes away from the digital world, that’s 30 minutes you didn’t have before.
7. Try to Remove Distractions
When you do settle down for your reading time, try to remove distractions. Find a quiet place away from the TV where you’re comfortable hanging out for a while. If you’re really brave, turn off your phone!
Chances are the rest of the world can do without your immediate attention for 20 minutes!
8. Pack a Book When Traveling
This may be an obvious one, but always bring a book along when you’re traveling. It doesn’t mean you can’t still watch a movie on the plane, train or whatever. But bringing a little interesting reading along is a great way to break things up.
And if you’re on your way to a relaxing vacation even better! Books make great travel companions!
9. Put Reading Lists on your List
With all the choices we have, finding a good book may seem like a lot of work in itself. Checking out a curated list will help you narrow things down and prevent decision fatigue from setting in. Yes, that’s an actual thing and it cuts down on your productivity.
There are plenty of curated lists around. Maybe it’s the New York Times or Oprah or Goodreads.
Even Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg share what they’re reading. Checking out the reading list of someone you admire can be a great way to pique your interest!
10. Join A Book Club
Joining a book community is great motivation. The group will hold you accountable for reading, and it will give you a chance to talk about what you read.
You may even end up liking some books you would never have considered reading on your own. Always good to expand those horizons.
Don’t have time to head out for a weekly meeting? That’s okay. There are plenty of virtual book clubs you can join. Check out Goodreads, Wired Book Club or the online version of the Oprah Book Club.
11. Find Yourself A Reading Buddy
If the idea of a book club is a tad overwhelming, find a friend that wants to read more and work the buddy system. It’s like the gym but for books.
It will motivate you and give you, even more, to talk about. It may even open a whole new chapter for your friendship!
12. Check Out a Podcast or an Audiobook
No, it’s not reading. But there are a number of podcasts or audiobooks that you can tune into that are informative and may even inspire you to keep up your reading habit.
Try the New Yorker’s Fiction. Or if hearing an author read their own work interests you, try The Writer’s Voice. Each week a writer reads their own short story aloud. Yep, you’ll get it straight from the writer’s mouth. Kind of cool! And a pro tip, you can listen to them at 2 times the speed making it easy to crush through content.
13. Get Yourself an E-Reader
I’m old school and still love to hold a book in my hands with a cup of tea nearby. Still, there’s no denying the convenience of devices like a Kindle where you have access to thousands of titles with the touch of a finger.
Many for only 99 cents! Hard to beat!
14. Check out Used Bookstores
On a budget but still like to rock it old school? Check out a used bookstore. You may be surprised at what you find. And if you give them the books you’ve already finished, many places will give you a discount.
Another economical place to grab a book? The Library. They still exist and they’re free. Um, if you turn your book in on time. But that’s more motivation to finish!
15. Always Have Your Next Book Picked Out
Having your own curated list of future reads will save you time. That way you can go straight from one book to the other. So make sure you always have a book on deck!
Time to Crack a Book
We’ve hope this list of hacks has given you some inspiration to kick off your reading habit. Again, it is a lifestyle. But with a few small changes here and there, we’re sure your page count will add up faster than you think. Happy reading!
You might also be interested in: The 10 Best Forthcoming Novels Of 2020