How To Finish More Books With The 50-Pages A Day Rule.

So Many Books, So Little Time

Shaheen Sultana
Nov 8, 2020 · 6 min read
Photo by Liana Mikah on Unsplash

We all wish that we finished more books.

When I hear people say they wish they read more, I believe what they actually mean is that they wish they finished more books.

But doesn’t reading more and finishing more books mean the same thing? No, and that’s our problem.

Most of us love to read and read on a somewhat daily basis, yet we find that at the end of each month we have hardly completed a book. We spend hours per week reading but still are not able to get through more books.

We might be reading but that doesn’t mean we are effect readers.

As we approach the end of the year and reflect back on our accomplishments, we will also look back on the books we have read. For most of us that would probably be less than twenty books. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this. If you enjoyed them and gained something valuable from each book, then it was truly worthwhile. Reading is not a competition.

But, for those of you who like me set yourself a target but are unable to meet it despite reading consistently throughout the year, it is time for us to reflect on our reading habits.

The problem is that we don’t have one and that is what’s letting you down.

We don’t need to read more to finish more books, we need to develop an effective reading routine.

The 50 Pages A Day Rule

Back when I was on my English undergraduate programme, I was set around 1- 2 novels to read per week, not to mention the plays, poetry, critical essays, and further reader I was also expected to do for class.

To say I was drowning in reading would be an understatement but surprisingly I would manage to finish all the set novels. I definitely had last-minute binge-reading sessions the night before class and thought I had discovered the best reading hack ever by speed-listening to the audiobook version (I do not recommend). But, for the most part, I was able to stay on top of my workload by developing a reading habit.

I did this by setting myself one simple rule; to read 50 pages a day.

This might not seem groundbreaking at first. I mean, how does reading 50 pages suddenly transform you into an effective reader? Surely reading as much as you can every day helps you get through more books. No, because the key to a successful habit is consistency.

Here’s how reading 50 pages a day can help you to both finishes more books and become an effective reader.

1.Helps To Finish A Book A Week

On average, books have around 400 pages. I’ve noticed that I usually pick books that are 250–300 pages long especially for non-fiction books. By reading 50 pages a day, I am able to finish these books within a week.

When I pick up a 250-page book, my mind is usually telling me that I can easily finish it within the next few days. But that is not what happens. There are some days I won’t read and some I only read a few pages. So the few days I thought it would take me to finish the book stretch into two or three weeks of reading.

The problem here wasn’t that I didn’t read or that I was a slow reader, it was that I needed to meet a consistent number of pages so that I could finish it sooner.

Like any habit, it is alright and better to start off slow. Start off by setting yourself a smaller target of 20 or 30 pages and build up your ability. However many pages you choose to read, do it with consistency.

Your goal should be to reach 50-pages so that you can finish a book within a week. If you stick with this routine, you would reach 50 books by the end of the year.

2. Helps To Determine If It's Worth A Read.

The 50-page mark is a good place to determine if it worth continuing with a book. With some, you can tell even before that. And when you know, let it go.

A lot of us put up with some pretty awful books. As you trudge through them, not only does it slow you down, but can put off from reading altogether.

I hate abandoning books. Seeing the neglected DNF (did not finish) books pile grow and sit miserably on my shelf demotivates me as a reader. So I stick with bad books for weeks and months. Eventually, I do give up but by then not only have I wasted so much of my time but I am not motivated to pick up another book.

If you are not enjoying a book up till the 50-page mark, or are not intrigued in the slightly of where it could lead or what you could gain further from the topic, then put it down.

I know it can be hard to DNF some books, especially the ones you buy and think you are really going to enjoy. My hardest DNF was a book I went to the launch for and had signed by the author, who was someone I really admired. But I had never read their work before and frankly, I found it awful. I spent more than six months trying to get through it until it got buried under other, more interesting books. I should have left it earlier when I knew it wasn’t for me.

If you really struggle to DNF a book, then WRL (will read later) it. When you are building a reading routine you are trying to reach a certain number of books per month so it is important to meet that target first before you go back to the WRL books. Let it be an extra read for that month so it doesn’t disrupt your reading routine.

For most books, if it didn’t work for you up till the 50-page mark it won’t for the rest of it so it is better to leave it and find a better one.

3. Helps To Absorb The Context

Once you begin to consistently read 50-pages a day and improve your reading speed, you probably would want to increase this number. I recommend you stick with 50-pages.

For some fiction books, it is enjoyable to binge-read especially those books that have extremely gripping plots.

However, for literary fiction, I would recommend sticking to the 50-page rule. Literary fiction, in most cases, does not focus on plot but rather explores characters, themes and motifs which conveys a deeper message and utilizes a complex writing style. It is better to take time which such books to fully understand and appreciate its nuances and deeper themes.

This also applies to non-fiction books. Ultimately we read non-fiction for knowledge; to gain a new understanding of the world. By binge-reading these books, you are very unlikely to retain that information. You want to walk away from that book having a sound understanding of the topic but if you just rush through it in order to finish it then the information won’t stick.

What is the point of finishing a book if you don’t gain anything from it?

So by sticking to 50-pages you are able to absorb the information as well as allow yourself to appreciate and enjoy the writing style and themes the book is conveying.

So the key to finishing more books it to develop a consistent reading habit of reaching 50-pages a day.

Reading should be fun and enjoyable and each book you read should impact you and develop your perspective.

By reading 50-pages a day you develop a consistent reading habit that will help you to not only finish more books but also develop your reading abilities.

Happy Reading!

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Shaheen Sultana

Written by

Passionate about Literature: Stories create people create stories

Curious

Curious

A community of people who are curious to find out what others have already figured out // Curious is a new personal growth publication by The Startup (https://medium.com/swlh).

Shaheen Sultana

Written by

Passionate about Literature: Stories create people create stories

Curious

Curious

A community of people who are curious to find out what others have already figured out // Curious is a new personal growth publication by The Startup (https://medium.com/swlh).

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