We know it’s easier said than done, but establishing a plan for reading is the best way to make reading part of your daily routine. You don’t have to read for two hours to feel accomplished – 15 minutes is enough to knock out a few pages on a regular basis and is a reasonable goal. We’ve come up with a list of ideas to help motivate you to carve out time for reading.
#1. Set a reading goal. We like to set two reading goals: the first is to shoot for 12 books in a year, that’s a book per month and a very reasonable and attainable goal. If you tend to burn through books much faster, go ahead and double that goal; establishing a challenge and a finish line keeps us motivated. Our second reading goal pertains to longer texts. In order to finish something like Anna Karenina, set a goal of 10 pages a day – it will take three months to finish, but maybe add another book into this routine. We like this as a way to consistently plug away at something a little more challenging in a reasonable, well paced fashion.
#2. Don’t get caught up in what you “should” be reading. This is a sure-fire way to get bogged down and not move forward. What you “should” be reading is what interests you – if that means rereading a beloved favorite or an old classic, then read it! Which leads us to our next recommendation…
#3…find an app that helps you track your reading progress. We like this for several reasons, including the sense of accomplishment that comes when we’ve checked off a book as “finished” as well as the ease with which it allows for adding new titles to our growing book list. And if the app allows you to sync with your social media, there’s a little added bonus with sharing with friends what you’ve just finished reading. This is really easy to do if you use a tablet for reading.
#4. Try a “Reading Challenge”. A quick online search will yield several results for “reading challenges” – find one that suits your needs. These are nice because they help take away some of the pressure to choose a new book and provide a means of goal setting.
#5. Try a book outside of your normal routine. They say variety is the spice of life, so add a little spice to your book list! Die hard fiction reader? Pick up a memoir or biography – sometimes real-life stories are better than fiction! We think this is also a good opportunity to consider audiobooks. If your commute is a long drive, then a great audiobook is a pleasant way to pass the time. Exercise the mind and body by listening to an audiobook while working out – on the treadmill, elliptical, or on the road, a good story just might compel you to push yourself through the next chapter.
#6. Read during your commute. On a train or bus into the office? This is a great time to read! While a nap is tempting, as well as scrolling through apps on a smartphone, this is probably one of the best opportunities to sneak in some reading time. It’s a contained environment with a set amount of time, so you don’t have to carve out a special schedule to get a little reading done.
#7. Read before bed. Put away the smartphone and pick up a good book. Make the bedtime book something accessible – meaning not too heavy but still interesting. Not only is this an nice time to settle into a good book, it just might help you fall asleep! And for that reason, choose something lighter or use this as a good time to set a reading goal: 5-10 pages (or more) and then lights out!