Make a Reading Goal
One of the best ways to succeed in reaching in an accomplishment is to set a goal. Not just a vague notion of wanting to ‘read more’ but something more definitive. Did you know you are more likely to accomplish your goal when you write it down? Come up with a measurable amount of what reading more means to you, whether it is in number of books or time spent reading.
Your goal can be weekly, monthly, or yearly. The most popular way to track a reading goal out there is the goodreads yearly reading challenges, where you can pick a number of books you want to read.
Once you make a goal, you need to make a plan on how you are going to achieve it. Below are some tips and tricks to make the most of your time and resources and the different forms of books to increase your reading.
More Tips Under the Break
Embrace the Audiobook
Audiobooks have taken on such accessible forms lately, mostly in the form of digital audiobooks you can download or stream right on your device of choice. Public libraries also have audiobooks in various formats (digital, on cd, playaways) to be borrowed for free for the price conscious. Also, if you are visually impaired or otherwise have a physical or learning disability so that using audiobooks would be of great benefit to you (and live in the US), look into your state’s Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, where you can get free audio materials mailed to your door.
Listening to audiobooks is a great way to get in some reading time when doing other activities. During the commute to and from work, while doing household chores, and while working out. Basically, anytime you might be listening to the radio or have earbuds plugged into your ears. Do this to your personal preference, as some might, say, find it too distracting to concentrate on a book and drive at the same time,... but otherwise look for times you can squeeze in some book listening time.
While putting on make up on the morning, while mowing the lawn, while walking to the grocery store… The possibilities are endless when you start thinking about it.
Open your Mind to eBooks
I know there are still some holdouts to ebooks out there. I, too, personally, prefer physical books and do the majority of my reading with physical books. However, I have opened up to ebooks since getting a smartphone in 2016. (Yes, I held out with a flip phone until then).
If you always have a smartphone with you, you always have an ebook with you. In fact, if you always have a smartphone with you, you always have access to library of ebooks with you. They can be purchased at competitive prices, borrowed through libraries, or even gotten for free through organizations like Project Gutenberg, that hosts legal, free ebooks for use.
Use your Breaks During Work
App games on your phone are pretty much designed to be addicting time killers. However, when you go on your lunch or 15 minute breaks at work, consider putting away the phone and picking up a book instead. You’ll be surprised how your reading increases when you have that built in reading time during your work day, and plus you’ll feel accomplished for these little successes.
If your still in school and reading this blog, totally read during lunch period! I used to.
Find Ways to Always Carry a Book With You
Whether this is a physical book you carry in your purse or pocket, or an ebook you carry around on your device…find a way to always have a book with you. Have something to read while you are waiting in line or are bored at a party. (This where the ebook on your phone is great. No one thinks you're weird if you’re looking at a phone at a party. They do think you’re weird when you pull out a book!) Just today, while I was waiting to check out in a long line because there was a big sale, I was reading a Neil Gaiman short story. Or how about when you are sitting in the movie theater, there early to stake out your seat, and your have time to waste until the picture starts?
Basically, don’t let all that time you have to deal with waiting around be a waste. Read, read, read, instead!
Read More than One Book at Once
This is a bit of a testy suggestion because there are some people that do not like to split their attention. However, I would like to suggest it because it is something I do, and because to get in maximum reading time, you might need to. Consider if you are listening to an audiobook on your commute to and from work and also reading a physical book when you get time to read, that’s already two.
Also consider, what if you want to or have time to read, but you’re not in the mood for the book you’re in the process of reading? For example, you’re in the midst of reading a dark thriller, but there's something bad on the news and you’d prefer something lighter at the moment? Or, you’re reading a denser text and you want something easier to skim because you’re too tired after work to make your brain work that hard?
Mix it up by having a couple ongoing reads at the same time, which best works if they are in different genres: nonfiction and fiction, a classic you’ve been meaning to get around to and a chick lit romp, a procedural mystery and a literary book. Whatever works you for and your tastes.
Set Aside Reading Time on Weekends & During Free Time
Most people think that they are just going to fall into free time where they can leisurely fall into a book. That’s not the case with most people lives, with jobs and other responsibilities. And when free time does roll around, it’s easily gets filled up with other activities, like television and internet browsing.
You need to set aside time to read when you have it. You have the power of that scheduling. I, for one, on weekend mornings, like to dedicate an hour to reading (while sipping my coffee) before doing anything else. If I get really into the book, that hour might stretch longer, or I’ll find time later in the day to read some more. If I don’t get into the book, at least I got an hour of reading in.
Join a Book Club
There’s nothing that will get you reading more than being responsible to other people. Books clubs are traditionally in person groups, but online book clubs do exist if you can’t find an in person group that works for you.
Now, if you have a high humber reading goal, book clubs will only attribute to a small portion of your reading numbers. But being in a book club has the benefits of reading on a deadline, having a built in group of people to discuss you reading with, and may have you picking up books you’d never pick up by yourself.
I hope this list of hints, tips, and strategies to increase your reading will come in handy for you, especially if this is a new year’s resolution. Any strategies I missed? Please leave them in the comments!
Insights from the life of an aspiring, struggling writer; a passionate reader, and a working librarian.
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