Reading has always been a big part of my life.
Earlier I had a routine. I would block an hour a day to read. That was my ‘Me-time’. And boy, that one hour would charge me up!
Whenever I’m reading, I’m a different person. I’m more confident. I’m sharper, wiser, wittier. I can look at problems from different perspectives. I begin to see solutions that were invisible to me before.
However, for a while, I’ve been struggling with reading regularly. Mostly because:
– I’ve taken a whole bunch of commitments that I have prioritised over reading.
– I get a lot of my learning from other sources: Youtube, Audible, Newsletters etc.
But reading unleashes superpowers like no other. And I want to get back to reading regularly.
So here are a few hacks I’m going to adopt to nudge me back:
- Read 10 minutes before bedtime.
I was reminded of this by a client (thanks Preet!) and boy is it a good one. We all have some night time routine. If you’re like me, it could be replying to WhatsApp messages or mindlessly watching YouTube videos. Give that routine an upgrade by reading just 10 minutes a day. I’ve put an alarm for myself at 10:30 pm that now it’s reading time. That’s the cue for me to drop everything and read. I’m able to read on most days. And I always feel great on having done so.
- Read what you love
I often fall into the trap of reading what I “should” instead of reading what I “love”. So now I often check in with myself, am I enjoying this. If not, I move on to something that I look forward to reading. Which brings me to the next point…
- Don’t force yourself to finish a book
I treat books like websites now. If I’m not getting any value from that site anymore, I move on. No hard feelings either way. I don’t have any guilt for dropping a website (or a web series) so why that obligation with a book. When I’m ready for it, I’ll pick up that book again.
- Find books that will solve your problem
Any problem that I have, there’s probably a book for it. Be it a Business problem, personal, finance, relationship, spiritual etc. I am now more conscious of my current set of challenges and keep books that address them handy in my Kindle. That makes it more likely for me to pick them up and read.
- Download samples on kindle and read it immediately
Most of my reading is on Kindle. I often come across book recommendations. When I do, I download a sample of that book as a trigger for me to read and evaluate it. But I never get down to reading that sample. Now I prioritise reading of that sample the same day during my evening reading slot. That book/sample is relevant to me now. I’m excited about it. What’s the point in delaying that judgement decision. And since I have a dedicated reading slot anyway coming up today, I can make the most of it and read it then.
- Reading Graphic Novels
I love reading Graphic Novels. This is a great cheat to get to reading something heavy in a lighter form. I’m choosy about my graphic novels, but pick up all fiction as well as non-fiction. I’m currently reading Sapiens: A Graphic History.
If you’ve been meaning to develop a reading habit for yourself, hope these hacks help you.
The more that you read,
the more things you will know.
The more that you learn,
the more places you’ll go.
~ Dr. Seuss
On a related note, do read Ali’s post on 6 Steps to speed read a 300-page book in 2 hours, and remember what you’ve read.