7 Simple Ways to Read More Books
Whether you’re in it for self-improvement or the pure joy of fiction, there’s always a way to make more time to read.
Many people will swear that reading books is the absolute key to self-improvement. While I think those arguments have solid merit, I think it’s also nice just to read fiction for entertainment.
That’s why I truly do believe that reading in some form — hard copy, ebook, audiobook — is for everyone. There’s something out there for every person and their personal, unique interests.
Beyond personal enrichment, reading also promises some positive health effects. A few years ago, the University of Sussex did a study on how reading can help reduce stress. Even more interesting, their findings revealed that reading is better and faster at alleviating stress than going for a walk or having a cup of soothing tea.
1. Allot time before bed every night to read.
It doesn’t have to be a lot. Even if it’s only 10 or 20 minutes to wind down after you’ve set your alarm and put your phone aside, you’ll burn through an average length book surprisingly fast if take a little time to read at night.
If you’re in it for the stress relief, then reading before bed is a fantastic idea to rest, simmer down, and get better rest.
2. Listen to an audiobook when you’re cooking, cleaning, or showering.
I will bet that even if you’re absurdly efficient at getting ready in the morning, you spend at least one hour per day doing these things.
Frankly, I’d guess the average range is between one and three hours, depending on how exhaustive your personal hygiene is and how much time you spend meal-prepping.
Regardless, the ability to read more is just a few taps away on your phone. Crank up the volume and listen to an audiobook; it’ll even make those dull daily tasks more enjoyable.
3. Determine your biggest obstacle behind not reading more and tackle it.
Is it a dilemma of time or one of interest? If it’s a lack of interest, try listening to different genres. If you don’t know what you like, you can test-drive different topics by reading short stories online or listening to audio recordings of short stories.
Alternatively, if you’re trying to read exclusively books for self-improvement or expansion of knowledge, try reading some fiction for a change of pace. Allow yourself to read for the pure enjoyment of reading and experiencing a story.
4. Listen during your commute.
Do you drive? Listen to an audiobook. Do you ride mass transit? Great, you can get the paperback behind door number one, the ebook behind door number two, and the glorious sound of an audiobook behind door number three. This is one of my favorite ways to maximize the time I spend commuting.
5. Sign up for a library card.
And if you already have one, start using it routinely. If you get into that routine of going every few weeks, picking up books, returning books, and seeing what’s on the new arrival shelf.
If motivation is your barrier to not reading more, having that deadline of needing to finish a book and return it by the due date might give you a push.
6. Make reading feel like more of an accomplishment by making lists or using Goodreads.
It’s shameful, but when I was an undergraduate, I worked full-time and with that added burden of going to school full-time as well, I didn’t read much outside of my required coursework. I did read a fair bit in my creative writing classes as well as literature courses. There’s no use in crying over spilled milk now, but ultimately, I usually didn’t read beyond what was absolutely necessary.
When I experienced the glorious freedom of only working and not also going to school, I turned back into the avid reader I once was. As a post-grad, I’m more of a bookworm than I was as a student. It’s pretty fun to track everything you’re reading; as the books pile up, it’ll make you feel very accomplished.
If you don’t want to mess with a website, you can also just get a notebook and make a list of all the books you’ve read. When I was a kid, I did this and I filled two notebooks, just listing the title of the book and the author on one line. Yeah. I read a lot.
7. Join a local book club.
Beyond good old Google, you can use services like Meetup or Facebook to find an online book club. They might not always read precisely what you’re most interested in, but having people to talk to about what you’re reading can be a big motivator.
Plus, you’re broadening your reading horizons.
Alternatively, if you’re the type who needs a deadline to do something, that book club meeting date on your calendar might kick you into gear to get that week’s reading done. Trying new things and doing a little bit of the gamification that many educators are advocating for nowadays can go a long way to make you read more.
“When we read fiction, we practice keeping our minds open because we can afford uncertainty.”
These words were said by Dr. Maja Djikic, a psychologist at the University of Toronto, while speaking on the scientific reasons you should read more.
There are plenty of reasons to read, so I hope that a few tactics on how to make more time to read will come in handy for you.
Whether you’re reading a personal development book or some fun fiction, it’s worth it to make a little more time to read.