You’ve probably heard it before; leaders are readers. In fact, a study by Pew Research has shown that the average person only reads about 4 books per year, while the average Fortune 500 CEO reads about 48 books per year. That’s no coincidence.
But unfortunately, most people struggle with reading on a consistent basis. For years, this used to be the case for me as well. I wanted to read more books, but I couldn’t find the time, energy, or willpower to read consistently.
All of that changed when I implemented these 7 smart tips in my life. I invite you to use them to your advantage so you can fuel your personal growth.
Tip 1: Schedule Your Reading Sessions
If it doesn’t get scheduled, it doesn’t get done — at least not consistently. Every now and then, on the rare moments where you feel like it, you might read for half an hour.
However, if you want to read a lot of books, you should protect the time for it by scheduling it in your calendar. When you schedule your reading sessions, it becomes a real appointment with yourself.
In general, scheduling is a very beneficial habit for your productivity. A study in the British Journal of Health Psychology has shown that scheduling an activity increases the success rate of following through with the activity from 34% to 91% compared to not scheduling it.
Therefore, at the end of every week, take 15 minutes to schedule the upcoming week, including your reading sessions.
Tip 2: Make Reading A Morning Routine Habit
The key to reading more books is to make it a part of your morning routine. By reading for 15–30 minutes in the morning, you start your day inspired and productive, which you carry throughout the rest of your day.
Furthermore, by reading in the morning you make sure you actually get your daily reading done. Later in the day, you might not have the time, energy, or focus left to read a book.
Obligations get in the way, your willpower has worn out after a day of work, and it becomes harder to pick up a book and read without getting tired or distracted. In the morning, however, this isn’t a problem.
Take a look at your average mornings and analyze which activities are relatively useless. Maybe it’s checking social media, watching Netflix, or anything else. Replace these useless activities for 15–30 minutes of reading, which actually fuels your personal growth.
Tip 3: Make Reading A Part of Your Nighttime Routine
Another way to read more books is by incorporating a 15 to 30-minute reading session in your nighttime routine. Put your electronic devices away 30–60 minutes before bedtime and use some of that time to read.
Not only has this been proven to improve the quality of your sleep, but you’ll also fuel your personal growth and go to bed satisfied.
Did you know that by merely reading 15 minutes every day, you’d read approx. 18–23 books per year? That’s the power of consistency. You don’t need to read for hours and hours on end (even though you can), as long as you are consistent with your reading.
Tip 4: Listen To Audiobooks On-The-Go
Do you love reading business and self-development books, but somehow struggle to find the time in your busy schedule to read? That used to be the case for me as well.
Before you know it, you fall behind on your reading — and your books are just collecting dust on the bookshelf. Fortunately, there’s a way to ‘read’ books no matter how busy your schedule is.
There’s always some ‘lost time’ in your day. You could see ‘lost time’ as the moments in your day when you’re doing things you have to do, which aren’t cognitively demanding or contribute to anything meaningful.
Things like your daily commute to work, grocery shopping, showering, waiting, walking, sitting in a 4-hour flight, and cleaning are all examples of ‘lost time.’
Fortunately, with apps like Audible, you can transform this ‘lost time’ into productive time by listening to audiobooks on your phone.
By listening to audiobooks, I’m easily able to ‘read’ an extra 30 minutes per day. This equals about 182 hours of additional reading per year — which are roughly 30 books per year.
The crazy thing is that it doesn’t cost any extra time in your day as you’re using the ‘lost time’ that’s already there. By listening to audiobooks, you can use this lost time productively and fuel your personal growth instead.
I don’t necessarily believe that audiobooks replace physical books — both methods complement each other incredibly well. I prefer to have a physical copy of the more technical and complex books. For most other books, I prefer the audiobook version.
Tip 5: Don’t Be Afraid To Put A Book Away Or Skip Parts
Don’t be afraid to put a book down if you don’t like it, when it lacks value, or when it just doesn’t fit your life at this moment in time. This will free up your time for other books that are more valuable and more applicable to your life.
Furthermore, some authors fill pages and pages with fluff that’s not that important anyway. Don’t be afraid to skip those parts and skim through it until you’ve arrived at the valuable sections.
I used to feel guilty when I did this, but it makes no sense. Instead, I should’ve felt guilty for wasting my time reading low-value stuff.
Tip 6: Download The Blinkist App
With Blinkist, you can get the most valuable insights of more than 3,000 business and personal development books in under 15 minutes. This way, you’ll be able to read a lot more than usual and use ‘lost’ time productively.
(For example, trade it for 15 minutes of mindless scrolling through social media or use it during your daily commute.)
I use Blinkist not as a replacement for my ‘normal’ reading, but as an addition to my reading habit. I use it to check out books outside of my usual scope of interest or books I doubt buying.
Aside from that, I use it to review the most important lessons from the best books I’ve read in the past. This way, I easily gain the most valuable lessons from an additional 30+ books per year.
Tip 7: Carry A Book With You
Billionaire investor Sir John Templeton was famous for always keeping reading material with him wherever he went. He even contributed a large part of his success to this habit.
That’s why I almost always carry a book with me — no matter where I go. When you have to wait for a few minutes, your time is better spent reading a book than scrolling through social media.
Now Do It
Reading more books isn’t done by just knowing about it — you have to take action. Therefore, as an action point for this article, take at least two of these tips and implement them in your daily routine.
To Your Personal Growth,
Founder Personal Growth Lab
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