Whenever I share a photo of my library haul, I inevitably receive a slew of surprised comments about the amount of books I borrow, with many people wishing they had more time to read.
So, given that I’m just about to hit my goal of 100 books this year (almost double last year’s total), I’m sharing some helpful ways I managed to squeeze a LOT more reading into my regular routine.
(Note that you don't have to read 100 books. Pick a number that seems challenging but doable to you.)
A quick word of warning before we dive in: Reading should be enjoyable. My aim with the 100 books challenge was to make reading a bigger priority in my life, not to race through as many as I could just to hit an arbitrary number.
If you’re not enjoying it, find a different way to do it, or don’t do it at all. The real goal is to be entertained and informed.
As with so many other things in life, it’s not about the numbers. 😉
Assuming you’re doing it for all the right reasons, let’s dive in.
If you want to make progress you need to turn reading into a daily habit. Look at the things you do every day and figure out where reading can fit in.
Maybe you’re more of a morning reader and can enjoy a few pages over a cup of coffee. Or perhaps your lunch break is a better time for you to crack open a good book.
Personally, I do it at night while in bed. It helps slow my brain down so I can drift off a lot easier. I don’t always notice any detrimental effects on the odd day I don’t do it, but I definitely notice how much deeper I sleep when I get back into it.
If you can find a regular slot for it in your schedule, you’re much more likely to stick to your reading plan.
2. Scratch some screen time
If you want to make more time for reading, it has to come from somewhere, and the reality for most of us is that we spend too much time staring at a screen. Recently I’ve significantly reduced the amount of time I spend scrolling through social media and it’s opened up a large chunk of my day for doing other, more enjoyable things.
So cut back on the amount of TV you’re watching, time spent scrolling on your phone, or the number of hours you spend playing video games.
Even just swapping a few minutes of screen time for a few pages of a book will add up massively over the course of a year.
3. Know what’s next
Always know what you’re going to read next, or at least have some options on hand, because if you finish a book and don’t have another lined up, you’ll break your momentum.
As soon as you finish the last page of one, the first page of another should be ready and waiting for you.
(Of course, some of us bookworms need time to digest what we’ve just read before we’re emotionally ready to move on. Ha ha.)
If you can, buy or borrow more than one book at a time so you don’t have to wait until your next trip to the library or bookstore (or for a delivery) before diving in again.
4. Find pockets of time
Think of all the little breaks in your day where you might otherwise do nothing but wait – ad breaks, microwaving food, boiling a kettle or brewing a coffee…
Instead of standing around, use it as an opportunity to read another page or two. Again, you’ll be surprised how many extra books that adds up to in the space of a year.
5. Always carry a book
Sometimes those pockets of time appear when you’re out and about - waiting in line at the bank, being early for an appointment (or someone else is running late), sitting in the school pick-up line, going through the car wash (is it just me who finds those things slightly terrifying), etc.
And sometimes you have other slots in your schedule where you could choose reading over another activity, like when you’re commuting (as a passenger, obviously), or if a meeting is cancelled.
If you have easy access to a book, you can take full advantage of all those opportunities.
6. Use a reading app
Hand in hand with the above point, the easier access you have to reading, the more likely you’ll be to engage in it. And my guess is that there’s very little in life that you have easier access to than your phone.
Maybe you don’t want to carry a physical book, or maybe the lighting conditions aren’t favourable. Maybe you just don’t want people to know what your reading material of choice is.
In those instances, having a reading app will improve your experience.
I can’t tell you the number of pages I’ve been able to read on my phone while waiting at the doctor’s office, or suddenly finding myself out somewhere with unexpected time to kill. The fact that I always have my phone with me means I can easily whip it out and plough through another chapter instead of wasting my time checking my social feed for the five hundredth time.
(It also comes in handy when I’m eating something. It’s much easier to tap and read from a screen than to try hold a book flat and turn pages.)
7. Go audio
This isn’t my cup of tea but I know it’s a wonderful option for so many people. Audiobooks have many advantages – they’re hands free, they don’t require good eyesight or adequate lighting, you can listen while engaged in another activity such as walking or driving or cleaning…
Basically, they’re great for getting in a few more books in situations where it might otherwise be awkward or even dangerous to read a physical copy.
And TOP TIP ALERT: if you increase the reading speed you’ll get through them even faster!
8. Mix it up
Some books require a little more time and effort than others, either because of the type of content or the sheer volume of it.
I often read a few shorter stories throughout the year to give me that “quick win” feeling, particularly if I’ve just finished one that took a long time or a lot of mental energy. These can be books with a shorter number of pages, a larger font size, more photos, or they may be partially or entirely animated.
I also include a few “easy readers” – books where the topic doesn’t require a huge amount of concentration and I can skip through it quite quickly, as is the case with many novels.
I’m not at all saying these aren’t worthwhile reads, but simply that they can be a lot less “dense” than some other tomes such as non-fiction books, textbooks, etc. Often with non-fiction I like to take some notes or think through an idea. This slows my progress.
With novels, though, it’s easier for me to read right through.
If you find that you’re really struggling to make time for reading and other things that are truly important to you, and you’re ready to make a big change in 2020, the Productivity Power-Up is my step-by-step guide to planning your most efficient, productive day.
Use code BOOKWORM30 at checkout to knock a whopping 30% off the price, and follow the clear process for how you’re going to make the most of the new year. You’ll feel calmer and more in control, you’ll have a fully ticked-off to-do list, and you’ll have more time than ever before to enjoy the most important things in life.
Click here to see everything included, and then use code BOOKWORM30 at checkout to lock in your 30% discount and get immediate (and eternal) access to all 9 modules.
Between the Productivity Power-Up course and all the extra books you’re about to read, you’re right on the brink of levelling up your life in a MASSIVE way.
EEP, I’m so excited to welcome you in!
If you have any questions at all, leave them in the comments below.
And tell me...
Do you have a reading goal for 2020?