Happy Tuesday!! The bloggers behind The Broke and the Bookish are taking a quick break from hosting Top Ten Tuesdays this summer, so I thought I would continue on in the meantime with some topics of my own. Recently someone asked me a question I’ve been asked a million times: How do you read so much? Usually my response is something along the lines of: “…I just do?” However, today I’m going to actually answer this question by sharing my Top Ten Ways to Read More. (Spoiler alert: the last reason is the most important!!)
1 || Carry a book with you. This is one of the most important and effective ways to read more because you simply can’t read if you don’t have a book with you. There are so many hidden pockets of reading time throughout the day, from sitting in waiting rooms and taking public transportation to lunch breaks and random bits of downtime between appointments or meetings.
2 || Listen to audio books. Though I would much rather read a paper book than listen to a recording, I must admit that audio books are a golden key to optimizing reading time. I know people who drive, cook, clean, and exercise all while listening to audio books. Just think of how many books they must go through in an average week!
3 || Designate reading time. If you’re anything like me, you thrive on structure, routines, and schedules. I find it helpful to set aside certain times for reading, such as before going to sleep or when I have a free Sunday afternoon. This doesn’t have to be a daily occurrence; rather, it could be as simple as deciding to read for an hour instead of watching Netflix on a Wednesday night after dinner.
4 || Set realistic, achievable goals. Telling yourself you’ll be able to finish the entirety of Tolstoy’s War and Peace in one night and still have time to paint your nails before bed is probably not the most realistic goal to set. (Unless you can actually do this, then by all means LET ME KNOW YOUR SECRETS.) Instead, set yourself small goals that can be achieved fairly quickly and easily. I usually like to do this by focusing on chapters or page numbers.
5 || Find a reading buddy. For those of you who work best alongside others, find someone or a group of people to read with. Book clubs are great for helping you read more: not only do they hold you accountable for reading on a regular basis, but they also spread enthusiasm and a contagious bookish excitement. A reading buddy could also just be someone you talk to about books occasionally or even a fellow blogger
6 || Take breaks. This might sound counterintuitive, but hear me out. As with any activity, it’s possible to feel burnt out after reading so much. When you feel a reading slump coming on, do yourself a favor and set the books aside for a while. Sometimes all you need is some time away from the page to recharge your bookworm batteries. Then you’ll be ready to read even more!
7 || Be aware of time and space. Where do you feel the most comfortable reading? Are you an early bird or night owl? Knowing when and where you prefer to read will only better the chances that you’ll be focused and engaged in what you’re reading when you finally curl up with a book. For instance, my favorite reading spot is outside on a sunny day or in this particular cozy chair in my living room on a cold night.
8 || Read in bed… at your own risk. I’ve always loved reading before bed, but I do admit that it’s not always the most productive reading time ever. Sometimes I fall asleep, sometimes I get tired and head to bed early after reading only a chapter or two, sometimes I’m sitting in a position that makes taking notes awkward… This is really up to personal preference, but I’ve found that if I solely rely on time before bed to read I usually get very little reading time during the week.
9 || Get rid of distractions. I’m sure we’ve all experienced the temptation to sneak a peek at your phone, check your inbox, or even take a scroll through Tumblr in the midst of reading. There’s nothing wrong with taking breaks to do these things… unless your goal is to get more reading done! To prevent being distracted, try putting your phone on silent or at least shutting off most notifications if you’re sitting down to read for a bit.
10 || Make reading a priority. To be honest, I think this is the single most important and effective rule on this list. If reading is a priority in your life as a hobby you’re bound to do it more often. The real reason I’m able to read so much is because I want to, so I do. Some people spend their free time binge-watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix or watch streams of hilarious cat videos on Youtube, other people enjoy painting or running or dancing or playing soccer—I choose to spend the majority of my free time reading.
What are your tips for reading more? What do you think of the advice I’ve given here? Have you ever been asked how you read so much? Let me know in the comments section below!