Do you want to read more but feel like you don’t have the time? You are not alone. “Not enough time” is the most common excuse I hear people make against reading with greater frequency.
In reality though, there is plenty of time to read a few books a month. You probably “find the time” to watch Netflix or sports or scroll through Instagram, right? Reading more is actually just a question of priorities.
It can be challenging to prioritize reading, though. This is especially true when you have many other mentally draining activities on your plate each day. Of course there are all those friends of yours who talk about the latest TV shows, and you probably want to see what all the buzz is about.
That being said, it can be done. Prioritizing reading takes forming the right tendencies and making a concerted commitment. Here are eight habits that you can begin adopting today in order to devour more books and become a smarter person:
1. Get used to audiobooks.
Audiobooks are one of the best ways to begin reading more. You can download them directly to your phone and listen whenever you like. You could get started with a program like Audible today and receive two free books just for making an account.
Audiobooks are so valuable because of their ease of use. You need to be cautious of listening to a book without retaining the information, but absorbing audiobooks can be like a muscle. Many report that the more you listen and practice listening to books, the more information you retain. You can even begin listening at faster speeds to get through books more quickly.
“I have a hard time processing information that way” is a common excuse I hear about audiobooks. You should try it out, though, and be patient with yourself.
There is plenty of time during the day when you are occupied by menial tasks like walking or doing the dishes during which you could listen and focus some attention on a book. Taking advantage of this underutilized time can skyrocket the number of books you consume.
2. Buy an e-reader.
We are lucky to be in a world where obtaining books is quite easy. You can cheaply buy a Kindle or Amazon Fire and download any book that you want to read within seconds. You can even download them directly onto your computer.
Instead of having to carry a book around everywhere you go, you can bring your Kindle or computer and have as many books as you would like on hand.
3. Find books that interest you.
There is a common misconception that you have to read books that other people tell you to read. Not true.
The reality is that you should read what interests you. That’s what’s going to make you like reading more. If what you like is fiction, read fiction. If it is books about psychology or history or engineering or anything else, then go for it.
Think back to childhood and the way that you likely used to devour books then.
You can get back to that mindset by choosing the right stories. Doing so will stop reading from feeling like a chore. It will, instead, become an enjoyable hobby.
4. Make a commitment to 30 minutes a day.
Make a commitment to reading every day. Hold yourself accountable, and find a part of your day when you think you will be able to always pick up a book. It could be on your commute to work, right before bed or before dinner, for example.
Getting into a routine will keep you more disciplined and it will better prepare your mind for reading. After a week or two, your brain will be accustomed to using the energy it takes to read, especially if you stay consistent about the time of day that you do it.
5. Look for breaks in your day when you can read.
There can be so much dead time during the day when you can easily pick up a book. The trick is to have the mindset to think about it. Instead of surfing Instagram or looking at Snapchat stories during your breaks, pop in your headphones to listen or grab your Kindle to read.
This could be when you are waiting in line for something, when you are commuting and in the numerous other spare moments we have each day.
6. Commit with friends.
Reading with someone else can be a fun way to stay motivated. Pick a book to read with a friend and, separately, you can both read it. You will be able to keep each other accountable and talk about the things you are learning throughout. This makes the experience more enjoyable, and it will make you more likely to actually do the reading.
7. Find people who frequently read for motivation.
Ever thought about joining or starting a book club? There are likely people in your life who love to read. They can be valuable motivation in your journey. Talk to these fellow readers about their tricks, the books they read and so forth. Even their energy and the way they talk about reading can motivate you to get going.
The old saying goes that we are the average of the five people we surround ourselves with the most. Consequently, spending time with readers will rub off on you.
8. Use lists of people who inspire you.
Many successful people tend to be avid readers, and there very well might be a strong correlation between the two. These people also often share their lists.
People like Elon Musk, Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey have all publicly shared some of their favorite books.
Reading the same things as people that you look up to can be fruitful. If they found it valuable, there is a good chance that you will too. Plus, there is something special about reading a book that you know someone so successful spent the time to read as well.
Stop making excuses!
Forming the habits above can be extremely useful in a push to read more. If you commit to them, you will no doubt be able to become a consistent and avid reader.
As with so many of us, the biggest roadblock is probably yourself. You have to stop making excuses and make the commitment to reading. Fortunately, technology is making this an easier thing to accomplish. Remember, doing so can dramatically enhance your knowledge, happiness and productivity.