People who know me, know that I read a lot. People who do not know me are always amazed how is it that I read so much and where do I find time to read. The truth is that I have not always read as much. It began towards the end of my university program and with the establishment of Potentia. I was simply forced to take up a lot of reading, because I somehow had to gather enough knowledge in many of the areas which I worked in. And not only for those areas. But also for my personality. I realized that I need to build myself because the majority of my work was directed towards the ever increasing number of people.
But I didn’t need to force myself into reading for long. Actually, I did not even need to force myself at all. I obviously needed just a little incentive and since then reading became a part of my everyday life. I have compiled 12 tips I follow below for those of you who want to read but are not motivated or you think you just cannot find the time due to a busy schedule.
1. Always keep 5-10 unread books in your queue
No matter if you are reading electronic or printed books always keep several unread books in your inventory. With this approach you’ll never have an excuse of not knowing what to read. At the same time this represents an incentive to read every time you will, for example, look on your bookshelf and see how many books you still have to read.
2. Read 2-3 books at the same time
Some books are really, really long or you sometimes just don’t find the book interesting any more or you find some other book much more interesting. No matter where the cause lies you don’t need to force yourself to read the whole book to the end before you begin reading another one.
3. Determine your minimum daily frame
If you decide that you want to belong to a rare group of people who read daily, I suggest you set up a daily minimum reading frame. This may be the content frame (let’s say 25 pages per day) or the time frame (20 minutes for example). Do not let anything or anyone distract you during that time.
4. Follow the rule of the first 50 pages
It says nowhere that it is obligatory to read a book to the end, even if you find it completely uninteresting. We were taught this bad habit in school, where you get a bad grade, if you don’t do as you are told. But you don’t get a bad grade for any kind of reading in real life. Even if you paid a lot of money for a book you still don’t have to force yourself to read it. Your time is more valuable than any amount of money you paid for the book. If you don’t find anything interesting in the first 50 pages of the book you are reading, discard it.
5. Strive to understand the essence not the details
This especially holds true if you are reading a book in a foreign language, an old language, a highly scientific language or the book is explaining some particular philosophy. A friend of mine once told me that he doesn’t turn the page until he understands every single detail on that page. The book, which I read in less than two weeks he had been reading six months and the last time we spoke he still hadn’t finished it.
6. Be aware of the book’s length
Before you start reading a book check how many pages the book has and specify in how many days you want to read it. Calculate how many pages a day you will read, from this information. This is a very motivational reading plan. At any time, you know where you are in the book and how much you still have to read.
7. Make the majority of reading in the morning
Our brains are completely rested in the morning, therefore we focus a lot easier at those times, which in turn means we will take away much more from the book itself. I often read in the evening just before bedtime and then again the next day in bed immediately upon waking up.
8. Take a book with you wherever you go
In life we experience many unpredictable situations, as well as those where we know in advance that we will have to wait for certain things. Isn’t it stupid when for example we are waiting for our appointment in a medical or dental office and we are staring into a blank wall or we turn around one and the same advertising flyer five or six times and on top of that we burden our friends when we are telling them how long we had to wait in the waiting room? Really start to appreciate your time if you don’t already.
9. Vary book genres
You’ll get bored much faster if you always read books of the same genre. A while ago when I still used to read many professional books from my field, I often threw in a science fiction book here and there, which represented the exact opposite. My favourite genre at the moment are biographies, but I still read many other genres nevertheless.
10. If nothing works listen to audio books
You have tried all the advices I have listed so far and you still cannot get yourself to read. You don’t need to give up. Perhaps audio books are more your thing, where you can listen to a book when, for example you are driving in your car on the way to work or you are going for a walk.
11. Read what makes you happy, not necessarily what others recommend
Quite a few truly classical books exist out there. People have been reading some of them for centuries or even many millennia. But even if a book is considered a classic, it does not mean that you need in any manner force yourself to read it, even if it seems a complete nonsense to you. You must always enjoy reading books.
12. Do not always trust book reviews
Although I would say a higher probability exists that the book with a better rating or more reviews tend to be a more reliable purchase or simply a better book, but this is not always the norm. It has happened many times that I have found a book with less than 100 reviews on Amazon personally much better than the book which had 3000+ reviews. If a book is excellently advertised it does not mean that it is an excellent book.
13. Talk about, think about and practice what you are reading
It’s great if you have friends who also read daily. Your reading will become much richer by sharing views and experiences. If this is not possible or even if it is, you can still think deeply of what you have read and try to connect that with your life experiences. But most importantly you have to take at least one thing of each book that you’ve read and actually use that in your own life. If you read a lot and your life correspondingly doesn’t improve, then you are doing something wrong. My advice is to find out what that is and correct it as soon as possible.