Secrets To Reading More Books
Practical tricks which helped me to read 41 books in 2018 and 42 books in 2019
Since my childhood, I loved reading books. The passion for reading started with comic books and spilled over to history books and fiction novels. Somehow along the way, I lost the rhythm and stopped reading. I suspect computers and cell phones have a lot to do with this change. I swapped reading for browsing the Internet, Facebook, and Whatsapp messages.
Even though my focus changed, my desire to read never died and I became frustrated. I continued to collect books — I collected Audible, Kindle, and physical books in the anticipation that one day, I would read them. I was finding more books to read every day through podcasts, YouTube videos, and from the references section of the other books. My frustration about not reading books continued to grow, and I felt stuck. I needed a change.
Finally, I overcame the struggle between my desire and my action. I want to share a few tips with you so that you may also go through this transformation.
Trick #1 — Observe/Audit Your Time
Make a log of your time that you are spending browsing the Internet, Facebook, WhatsApp, and phone calls. Some phones have “Screen Time” logs built-in, and this can be an excellent place to start. We spend approximately two and a half hours a day on social media, YouTube, TV. Include the time you spend listening to music or news during your travel to work. You could use some of this time to read books.
The trick is to choose your book before you open social media intentionally. Instead of picking up your phone to check social media or emails, pick your book. Tell yourself that you will only read for 5 minutes, this will make it easy for you to choose a book over other tempting activities. Do this as your first activity in the morning. Reading has to become your priority over social media, YouTube, TV, Netflix, podcasts, etc. if you want to read more books.
Trick #2 — Make a Book Log
Make a list of the books you have already read. You can make this log in a notebook, a computer program such as a text file, Microsoft Word, Excel, or websites such as Goodreads.com. You may have heard of the phrase, “You become what you measure.” Measuring the number of books you have already read creates a psychological effect of fulfillment and encourages you to read more. I started my log in an Excel file and then transitioned to Goodreads.com. You can visit my Goodreads page
Vinod has 185 books on Goodreads, and is currently reading The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter, I Am Malala: The Story…
Trick #3 — Join a Reading Challenge
Join a reading challenge, such as Goodreads reading challenge, in which you commit to a number of books you will read during the year. Once you join Goodreads reading challenge and set your reading goal, it will show whether you are on track to achieve your goal, or if you are ahead or behind.
Signing up for the reading challenge made a massive impact on my reading. Last year, I signed up to read ten books. When I signed up for the challenge, I was not sure if I could finish ten books. Once I finished ten books then I increased my challenge to 15 books and then gradually increased to 20, 30, and 40 books. I finished the challenge with 41 books. 41 is the highest number of books I ever read in one year. Because of the goal, I stayed focus and pushed myself to finish each book.
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it and you can’t manage what you can’t measure” — Peter Drucker
Trick #4 — Listen to Audiobooks
Audiobooks are a very powerful method to read books. I will admit, listening to a book is not the same as reading a book. You don’t get the same feeling after having listened to a book as reading a physical book. There is no replacement for a physical book, but listening to a book is better than not reading any book.
Audible is my go-to place for audiobooks. I also use Libby mobile app, which allows me to check out audio and kindle books from my local library. Do you know that Audible allows exchanging books? A feature that one of their customer service personals told me.
Trick #5 — Squeeze Wait Time
We all waste a lot of time while waiting in life. For example, we wait at the doctor’s office, wait for food, wait when picking kids, wait in transportation, and so on. By utilizing these random moments during the day, you will squeeze several extra pages. To be able to do this, ensure that you always have easy access to your book. Kindle, Audible, and library mobile apps have made it easy to access your book any time and anywhere.
Trick #6 — Mix It Up — Duration and Genre
Mixing up genres will keep your reading interesting, especially after you complete a non-fiction book. Continuing to read non-fiction books may slow you down, and you may get distracted by entertainment, like listing to songs or watching TV/YouTube. Leadership and management books are a great knowledge source but require thought and energy, while fiction books can restore energy and make you feel relaxed. I finished The Silver Linings Playbook, a 7-hour book, in just three days because it was captivating. It was like watching a good movie, and I could not stop listening. Around this same time, I also read David Baldacci’s Will Robie series, which are approximately 11 to 15 hours each book. I was able to finish each book in approx 7 to 10 days. Once I completed these long fiction books, finishing 4 hours or 8 hours of non-fictional books did not feel a huge task.
Apart from reading fiction book genres, mix short books with long books. Short books will finish faster and increase your motivation.
Trick #7 — Make Your Reading List
We are in this predicament because there are lots of books to read! Some of them are the all-time bestsellers, and some are recently released, get your list organized. To get the best out of your reading efforts, be very intentional about what you are reading. To do so, make a list of books to read in advance. Don’t wait until you are about to finish your current book to find the next book to read. This delay makes it easy to put off the decision to begin your next book and lose steam. To make a list of the books to read, you can try the Goodreads Award page, which lists winners within various categories. You could also use the New York Times bestseller list, Audible recommendations, etc. One advantage of using the Goodreads website that it will recommend new titles based on your reading log.
Trick #8 — Join a book club
There are many book clubs available which you could join. There are online as well as in-person reading clubs and groups. You can find these reading clubs on Meetup.com, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit. Celebrities have “book clubs” that offer new recommendations every month like Hello Sunshine and Oprah’s Book Club. The pressure of meeting to discuss the book or a new recommendation can help motivate you to finish the book.
My Book Reading Log
Below is my book reading log, and you can see a considerable jump in the number of books I read during the last two years. There are so many great books in the world. To be able to read even some of them, you have to level up your game.
2019–42 books (so far)
2017 — one book
I hope that this article will help you in increasing the number of books you could read during the rest of the year and coming years. Leave a comment with how many books you would like to read this year. Give us a recommendation for a great book I should add to my list!