“You have two kids! How do you manage to read so many books every year?”
If I had a book for every time someone asked me this, I’d need a new bookshelf. (I mean… I do need a new bookshelf, but that’s beside the point…) I often share my love of books. I host a popular, annual reading challenge and regularly post book reviews. On average, I read 130 – 150 books per year.
And that often leads to the question: “How do you do it?”
Truthfully, I’d like to be reading more too. But as we all know, life is busy. This season is full of diapers and laundry, packed lunches and school runs, errands and grocery stores and crying babies that stretch bedtime out far beyond what’s necessary. So I get it. We all want to read more. But finding time for it? Well, that’s a different story…
BUT, despite the pressures of daily life, there are a few tricks and tips we can use to maximize the time we spend reading.
So today, I’m excited to share with you twelve of my favorite ways to read more:
Set aside time each day for reading. Start with manageable goals. (That might mean starting with 10 or 15 minutes.) Creating a daily habit isn’t always easy but you’ll be amazed at how quickly those minutes add up in a week!
2. Research Books in Advance
I love picking books based on their cover. But when it comes to reading more, this isn’t always the most effective technique.
Doing a little research in advance will help you find books that are not only fun but also well-reviewed. Using websites like GoodReads can help you find books that others have rated highly. While we all have different opinions, choosing books that have strong reviews should help you find books that are enjoyable and easy to get into.
Which leads me to my next point…
3. If You’re Not Enjoying A Book, Don’t Finish It
There are WAY too many good books out there to waste time on the bad ones. Slogging your way through a boring book isn’t going to help you increase your reading habit. Give a book a few chapters to hook you but if it doesn’t, don’t feel bad about putting it away.
It may also help to set a specific cutoff. Example: “If I’m still not enjoying this book by page 40 (or the end of chapter three) then I’m going to stop reading.”
4. Listen to Audio Books
While some people argue semantics when it comes to “reading” more and listening to audiobooks, this is a great “handsfree” option. It’s also perfect for those with long commutes. As a bonus, some of the books are narrated by the authors themselves — a great addition to the reading experience!
5. Try an E-Reader
One of the best tips for reading more is to carry a book with you everywhere. E-readers are light and easy to stow in a bag or purse. The great part about an E-reader is that you always have multiple books available in case you finish one while you’re out and about.
6. Join a Book Challenge
Book challenges are a great way to motivate you to read more. My annual book challenge, “52 Books in 52 Weeks” invites readers to not only read MORE but to try books they might not otherwise pick off the shelf. Book challenges are a great way to mix things up and add a little spice to your reading life. And if a book a week sounds too daunting, create your own personalized “mini-version” of the challenge.
7. Be Intentional About It
I find time to read during the day because I’m intentionally looking for moments. I usually have my E-reader open and on the kitchen counter while I’m making dinner. While I’m waiting for water to boil or food to cook, I’ll take in a few paragraphs. Sometimes, these “stolen” moments throughout the day mean that I’m only reading a sentence or two at a time. BUT, this adds up quickly!
8. Cut Back On TV
We all like a little TV to unwind. But books can be JUST as relaxing as your favorite Netflix show. Instead of reaching for the remote, spend a few minutes in your newest novel. You might not want to put it down.
9. Start a Book Journal
If you’re the type of person who is motivated by checklists, a book journal might be the way for you! Book journals are not only great for keeping track of the books you’ve read, they’re also great motivators for reading more. You can read more about book journals in my blog post, here.
10. Have Multiple Books On The Go
Sometimes, as much as we may love a specific book, we’re just in the mood for something a little different. Mix up your reading. Have two or three books going at the same time — one in the living room, one by your bed, one in your bag. Mix up genres and book types — one serious, one light-hearted, and one for study. Keeping reading interesting will help you read more too.
11. Work on Increasing Your Reading Speed
According to this speed test, I read over 550 words per minute. Obviously, if I could increase that to six or seven hundred words per minute, I could maximize my time spent reading. There are a lot of tips online for increasing one’s reading speed. The faster we read, the more we read! Just make sure you’re not sacrificing enjoyability or comprehension for speed…
12. Read To Your Kids
It may seem like cheating to add kids books to your “finished” pile. But truthfully, any reading is good reading! The more you read, the more it becomes a habit. Build that love of reading as a family and instill those habits in your children early. (Remember, as they get older, the more time THEY spend reading, the more time YOU get to spend reading too. Win. Win.)
What are some of YOUR favorite tips for reading more?