For the month of January, I read a total of 20 books. This is a pretty good amount (although my personal best is 25, so I’m still aiming higher 😂), especially considering that my overall goal for total books read in 2020 is set at 50.
I’m asked so often about my reading, and about how I manage to keep up with it when I have other obligations and responsibilities. One person on Twitter implied that he doesn’t have the time to “sit around and read all day” like I must, to which I responded with a less kind version of what I’m going to tell you: I have just as much time as the next person, and we all have our own things to do.
In my daily life, I work 3 jobs, write for my blog, sometimes to contribute to other blogs, cross-post reviews and update social media to promote the authors and books I love, and I also have an Etsy shop that I run by myself that requires several hours per week of undivided attention to fill orders and manage inventory. I volunteer at my local library when I can, and I spend a lot of my free time on art and my hobbies. These hobbies include reading, but also include a whole slew of other activities that I love.
My point isn’t to make it seem like I have some bananas busy life, but to stress the fact that I have to intentionally choose to make time for reading in my life. If I don’t, it’d be way too easy for it to get placed on the backburner of my life – along with things like self care, but she’s a work in progress, okay? 😂
I have to choose every day that I want to make reading a priority, and it’s only because of that daily choice that I manage to read 100+ books in a year, or 20+ books in a month. It’s not something that just happens – it’s something I make happen. And you can, too!
1) Set specific reading goals.
For some people, reading goals can be intimidating and anxiety inducing. If you know you’re one of those people, feel free to skip this tip! For me, goal setting is an important part of accomplishing the things I set out to do. I set goals for everything, and often break larger goals into smaller, more manageable chunks for easier completion.
You don’t have to set a goal to read 100 books in a year or anything big like that, so don’t be too nervous about setting your goal. I urge you to start small, especially if goal setting or regular reading aren’t normal for you. (Don’t worry, they will become normal over time!) Something like “Read 1 book per month” would be easy to shoot for without making you feel overwhelmed.
Another important note: remember to be gentle with yourself about these goals! Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t hit one, or if you have a reading slump and don’t pick a book up one month. It’s okay! Just try again later!
2) Bring a book with you everywhere.
I love the portability of books, especially digital copies. I know not everyone has a device for this, but if you do, the Kindle app is great!
For those who can’t invest in digital books, that’s okay! I find lots of cheap mass market paperbacks in used bookshops, thrift stores, and libraries! Some cost as little as a quarter, and they’re the perfect size to fit into my purse or the middle console in my car.
Every lull can be an opportunity for reading. Long line? Pull out a book. Waiting for the doctor? Grab a book. On your lunch break? There’s a book for that! Sprinkling your reading time throughout the day can really add up by the end of the week.
3) Listen to audiobooks at 1.5 – 2.5x the normal speed.
Audiobooks are amazing in general, and I implore you to give them a shot if you haven’t. Even if you have, keep trying them! I tried several audiobooks over the span of many years before finding out that a full cast of characters is one of the only ways I can actually get into listening to a book. That, or a really funny narrator!
I always suggest that people adjust the reading speed when listening to audiobooks because a lot of the time, people tend to speak more slowly than the average reader can read. This makes the stories tend to drag on, and makes it difficult for some people to maintain focus on the story being told. To combat this, I tried speeding my book up, and it helped so much!
The faster speech might be a tiny bit jarring at first, but after a minute or two, you won’t be able to go back. And with this method, you’ll make your way through books so much faster than you did before, adding lots of finished titles to your ‘read’ list over the course of all those daily commutes and grocery shopping trips alone. 😉
4) Make reading a priority.
This one seems very general, and that’s cause it is. Making reading a priority will mean something different to every single person because we’re all different, and we all lead different lives. I’m not a parent, so I obviously don’t have to balance my reading with keeping my kids safe and nourished every day – so other tips may be better for you if that’s your situation, just as other tips may work better for other people not in my exact shoes.
That said, it’s important to realize overall if reading is a priority to you. Once you decide that it is, brainstorm ways that you can add more time for it in your life – and then stick to it. I’ve even gone so far as to schedule out dedicated “reading time” and put it on my actual calendar and in my schedule so that I would hold myself accountable. This may sound extreme, but it worked!
Find what works for you, and enjoy all those new books you’ll be flying through in no time!
Do you have other tips for getting in more reading time? Share them with me!
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