You want to read more, so you’re reading about how to read more, right? It is understandable to wish for a greater passion for reading, considering the constant pressures from the likes of Instagram, Snapchat, and worst of all… Tiktok. Hours are taken away from what you thought was going to be a weekend of peace: a time of tranquillity and enjoyment. Your mind is lost within the mass surges of information and around-the-clock entertainment from Charlie D’Amelio or Pewdiepie until the clock reads 2:02 a.m. You realize your habits require changes, and a wise choice would be to start with changing social media into reading. Or maybe that’s just me. I’ve compiled a small, yet essential list of top 5 helpful tips on how to read more!
Top 5 Tips on How To Read More
Tip 1: Finding Your Passion
The first step to create the habit of reading is to find what you like to read. Simply put, you won’t love spending time reading something you find boring or disturbing or gruesome. Maybe 1800s classic literature isn’t for you. Whether you read Ulysses by James Joyce or Diary of A Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney, what you like is going to take you farther than what you don’t. Classics aren’t a necessity so stressing over it shouldn’t be either. Experiment and find what suits yourself. Learn that it’s okay to not like books 400 pages into a 500-page book. An extra tip that many avid readers would love to tell is to not be afraid to stop a book if its plot or other features do not align with your interests. It’s a complete waste of time to invest what is most valuable to you in a book that fails to bring any joy. Change what you think about quitting books. It does not necessarily equate to “I give up” but rather “I have better books to read”. If you’re the minority that continues to purchase books, read the first few pages to see if you have an interest in the author’s language, content, and pace. If you liked a previous book, consider the author’s other works or books that continue down the same genre.
Tip 2: Environment
The second step to enforce this habit is to rid your life of your excuses; change your environment. Especially during the time as these, you may think quarantine gives you the right to talk more with your friends on FaceTime since it may have been months since you have seen them last. No. For the first time in years, people have the chance to be isolated with nothing to do but read a book for hours on end. Simply replace what distractions you may have with objects that encourage reading. This could come in the form of deleting social media, lighting incense, or as simple as leaving your phone and other potential distractions to someone else for a period of time. Whatever works for you, continue to do so.
Tip 3: Excuses and Time
Criss Jami said in Killosophy, “Even if there are instances in which it can be mistook by onlookers, never fool yourself into using misunderstood genius as an excuse to be a fool.” There are countless other excuses that may affect your individual situation. You’ll hear it from me and you heard it before. No excuses. There will always be time for reading; especially when you’re stuck at home, complaining about how there is nothing to do. My personal approach is to read just 10 pages, 1 chapter, or it could even be as small as a single page multiple times a day. I read one chapter in the morning, one chapter sometime throughout the day, and at least one chapter before bed. Instantly, by giving up a few seemingly useless minutes, I’ve already completed at least 3 chapters in a day without feeling as if I had lost any major time or used any large excuse. This isn’t to say there aren’t other strategies. Block off an hour or a half-hour for some time to read every day. Utilize the minutes when you’re standing in lines, when you’re waiting for a friend, or when you’re in the washroom. 5 or 10 minutes is better than nothing and it’s simple enough for anyone to do it.
Tip 4: Accountability
Once you can change your environment from pro-social-media to pro-reading, further encourage reading by taking into account accountability. Robert Cialdini shares the psychology side of making that public announcement in his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by talking about how a study showed people who placed bets a race-horse feel far greater confidence prior to making the bet. Make a similar bet to yourself by joining a book club or friending others on Goodreads where people can see your progress on a book. Accountability could also be letting others know that this habit is really going to be part of your daily life and they may continue on to encourage you or pressure you if all else fails. Between your friends, they probably want you to succeed or even better, join you. Let others’ support help you.
Tip 5: Still Having a Hard Time Reading?
Reading is a constant struggle to fit into your life, just as everything else is. If you continue to have problems of creating a solid foundation for reading consistently, here are some extra tips that may improve the amount of books you read.
- Avoid reading on electronics. Disclaimer: this does not include Kindle. Kindles are amazingly portable, convenient, and affordable in the long run of buying books. I’m talking about your phones or your tablets that can easily be used to log into social media platforms. You may start to read on these but sooner or later, you could be on watching Netflix.
- The minutes add up! Assume you spend 142 minutes on social media daily, the average amount of time a person spends on social media according to Digital Info World’s numbers from GlobalWebIndex. That’s 518 300 minutes of social media in only 10 years. Turn some 60 minutes of social media into reading and it is suddenly deducted to just under 300 000 minutes (299 300) of social media along with 219 000 minutes of reading in the same time span.
- Reading isn’t a monogamous relationship. Why dedicate yourself to just 1 book at a time? Notably for beginner readers who aren’t very aware of what draws them into reading, read several books at a time. There’s no need for focusing on only one book unless you only have one. Just like a polygamous relationship, have enough to satisfy you but don’t have so much to the point where you don’t know what’s happening in which one anymore.
At the end of the day, it isn’t all about how much you read or how well you understand the book. As long as you enjoy what you read, you will be able to create a consistent habit. I use every single tip previously listed but everyone is different. Find what works for you and stick with it. Or I don’t know…
Cialdini, Robert B. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition. HarperCollins Publisher L.L.C., 2006.
Jami, Criss. Killosophy. Criss Jami, 2015.
Salim, Saima. “How Much Time Do You Spend on Social Media? Research Says 142 Minutes per Day.”
Digital Information World, 4 Jan. 2019, www.digitalinformationworld.com/2019/01/how-much-time-do-people-spend-social-media-infographic.html. Accessed 16 May 2020.
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