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How to read more in 2021

Tips & Tricks on how to read more efficiently

How to read more in 2021
Photo by Road Trip with Raj on Unsplash

Let's first dive into different ways to get books during quarantine!

1) Little libraries are scattered world wide- with a take one, leave one mentality. If you are looking to declutter your pile of unwanted or unread books this is a great way to do so. And if you are on a budget- it's also a good place to find some gems for free! This is a map where you can find the nearest one to you: https://littlefreelibrary.org/ourmap/. This gives a guideline on how to use it safely during covid times: https://littlefreelibrary.org/best-practices-at-little-free-libraries-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/

2) Libraries- depending on where you reside taking books out is still an option. Or if they are closed- a lot of libraries have e-books or audiobooks you can rent out digitally. Look up your local libraries for details. One of my favorites is: https://archive.org/. It's San Francisco based, but you don't need to be a local to have access to their materials!

3) 2nd hand book stores- if you're area has them open, you can find some really fairly priced books.

4) Facebook Marketplace- please follow local covid safety guidelines and bylaws. But you can find some really great priced ones. Mask up when meeting- electronic payments, and no contact deliveries/pick up can usually be accommodated for.

5) Support local independent book stores in your area. Whether it's in store, pick up/curbside or drop off- they are a great way to support local businesses without having to wait for delivery delays.

By Alfons Morales on Unsplash

Now let's dive into efficient ways on how to conquer your to be read pile. Creating habits to make reading an easier and more fulfilling experience.

1) Pick out books that peaks you're interest. Whether it's a non-fiction or how to on a topic or skill you'd like to learn more on, a sci fi series that get's your nerdy self going, a romance for guilty pleasures (no guilt here), a book that has a nice cover- and flipping thru the pages the writing speaks to you. When you know a book is right for you is when you get excited seeing it. A book crush if you will.

2) If you are going at a snail's pace trying to read a current novel- it may be time to DNF it. Or put it aside and grab for something that is more interesting to you. You can always come back to it- if the mood hits. But life is too short forcing yourself to finish a book that you are not enjoying.

3) If you are just starting or rediscovering your love for literature- I advise starting with smaller & less dense books. When you are reading again after years of a non-book life, it can be quite daunting and as if you are reading a whole other language entirely if you are jumping into Darwin's Theories (unless science is your lingo- and reading it brings you pleasure as stated above) than let's say a non-fiction guide to how to better a skill you are already familiar with- or is on a subject within your field. Working your way up to more dense/sophisticated writing helps you ease yourself into it.

4) When reading- work on not enunciating words or sentences in you're head. The less you do that and read it in a state of flow- the faster your reading count will be. There is a lot of tools and apps out there that helps you read at a faster pace. I highly recommend taking a test- and aiming to increase your speed for reading- it helps achieve your reading goals! https://www.myreadspeed.com/

5) If you haven't already- create a goodreads account, and find different communities online where you can share and talk about books. It helps you keep track of your reading goals- books you want to read, books you've already read, and has reviews on books you are contemplating reading. Having friends or a community whether it's digitally or with close ones around you- gives you a sense of motivation and accountability. It goes a long way!

6) This is more for pre-covid days but if you have pockets of time while commuting, or going to appointments, or waiting for deliveries- having a book on hand wherever you go is a great way to waste time when you are waiting to get to your destination, waiting to see your doctor, etc. If you drive or feel nauseous reading while in motion- audiobooks is a great way to obtain content too!

7) Creating environments that are cozy and inviting to read. Ambience is important! Having high frequency music on (think jazz, classics, lo fi, etc) helps with mental focus elevating concentration. It's great study music as well! There is ample playlists on Youtube designed for this exact purpose. A nice comfortable couch, nook, chair, bean bag, or whatever makes you feel relaxed will create a space that creates less distraction and optimizes reading motivation. Coffee- lit candles- and a furry friend to cuddle with also advised.

8) Schedule it in! Setting aside 10, 20, 30, 60 minutes a day to read. Or by benchmark- like chapter or x amount of page. Makes your dreams more into bonified goals. Dedicating a time during you're day whether it's when you first wake up, on your lunch break, when you get off work, right before- having space and time to prioritize this goal really helps you increase your odds of achieving your reading goal. Whether it's 12, 24, 50 or 100 books this year you want to read!

9) Set a realistic goal. Taking your reading speed, time you have to dedicate, and past reading experience into consideration. Having a goal that feel's too high feels discouraging, and having one that's too low allows you to put it off/and not prioritize it. Something in the middle where it feels like it's slightly dangling above your comfort zone is optimal. Break it down to how many you'd like to read in a week- in a month and go from there. If you are a speed and avid reader; 50-150 books within a year may feel right. If you are just getting into reading after a decade of only reading a book or two; having 12-24 book goal may be best. Also look at the books you are drawn to, or the subjects you want to learn. How many pages are they usually? How dense or simple is the writing? Taking all of that into account will help you finding that sweet spot.

10) When you dedicate to a goal or habit- it's often paired with other successful clusters of positive habits. Pairing reading with other goals, or using your track record of achieved accomplishments gives you the confidence to aim for bigger, better and a more successful life overall. You can do what ever you set your mind to! And if reading more books in 2021 is one of them - than hope these were helpful tips to achieve them!

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