Tip: Reading More

It’s known in my own social and work circles that I read a lot. All the time I hear how I read a lot, or get questions on how I have so much time to read. Honestly, I don’t have a lot of free time. I keep a pretty strict schedule, especially during the week. However, I still devour a lot of books. Part of that is because I track data on how many pages I read. I set a goal at the beginning of the year, and work toward meeting it. This is my third year tracking my reading data. Originally, I tracked how many books I read in my first year. I found this limiting, as I read longer books, and it would look like I didn’t read much at all during the year. During the second year, I switched to tracking the amount of pages that I read. This freed me up to read whatever I wanted, and I didn’t feel like I couldn’t read something like I did when I was trying to meet a book goal.

My goal this year has been 17,000 pages. I’m over halfway there so far, and all I’ve heard lately was how much time I must have if I read so much. Truth is, I don’t often read much as a stand-alone activity. I do sometimes, but it’s very, very rare. My reading is built into time slots where I’m already doing something. I have 3 key times where I am reading:

– at work during lunch (usually 4-5 times a week)
– at the wellness center when I’m cycling (2 times a week)
– in bed before falling asleep (6-7 times a week)

I am a Kindle reader. I have had one since the 3rd version, the last keyboard generation. I have the most recent one, the Voyage, and love it for its size and the frontlight. The frontlight makes reading before bed a breeze, and I tend to fall asleep in the middle of what I’m reading. I’ll wake up to find my Kindle on the floor, or tangled in my covers. Usually I hope that I’ve not skipped the pages too far ahead.

Of course, one doesn’t have to use an ereader to accomplish my goals. A physical book will work just as well. However, ereaders are nicely suited for gym reading and bedtime reading. I don’t recommend using anything backlit, as that doesn’t help one settle for sleep. Anything else though, is fair game.

If you’re looking to read more, look for areas in your schedule where you’re already doing something that wouldn’t be hampered by you adding a bit of reading time to it. For example, I cycle to work out, and it’s easy to prop my Kindle up on the stand while I pedal. If you want to settle in for sleep easier, perhaps try an ereader or a physical book with a booklight attached. Lunch is another good time, though not always the best option for those of us who love socializing.

Once you’ve found areas in your schedule where reading will fit right in, the next step is to consider tracking your reading data. It’s up to you what you track, and how you track it. I prefer pages read, but you may prefer books read. I keep a simple Word document that lists the book and author. At the top I write my goal for the year. I add a new row each time I finish a new book. Then I add the amount of pages from that book to my running total. The same would be done if you track the amount of books read. Update the file as necessary, and at the end of the year, see if you’ve met your goal. If you happen to meet your goal before year’s end, add to it little by little to see how much you really can accomplish. If you begin tracking data over multiple years, it’s fun to look back and see how much you’ve grown since the first year.

Even so, you don’t have to track your data if you don’t want to. It’s simply another way to help push you forward, but it’s not necessary. As long as you end up reading more, then you’ve already accomplished a small goal!

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