These 3 tips helped me finish more books each year over the last few years.
A few years ago I decided I wanted to read more books. The problem being I do not read fast. I think I started the first Game of Thrones1 on a vacation to Wisconsin, and finished it in Wisconsin…the next year. It was an annual trip.
That 1 per year rate was not very good. I’ve improved quite a bit over the last few years putting up 33 books last year. And only a few of them were comics. But, collections of comic, not just a single one.
This year I’m shooting for 52. I’m a little behind pace, but if it was going to be easy it wouldn’t be a good goal.
Here’s a few tips and tools I used to start reading more. Not including the Tim Ferris method of reading faster. I haven’t been able to master that.
Buy a Kindle and Keep It With You
Don’t get me wrong. I like having a real book. I plan to keep some around the house so my daughter knows what they are when she’s 7. It’s just easier to keep a Kindle on you and more importantly (for me) read it in bed.
Plus with the aforementioned daughter I can easily read it with one hand while I rock her back to sleep at 5:30 in the morning.
I may be able to make a sandwich with a baby in one hand, but I have not mastered flipping paper pages.
Keep your Kindle on you and you can get some reading in while you’re waiting at the doctor’s office, the DMV, or wherever else you’ve got 15 minutes to waste.
My go to is the Kindle Paperwhite. The e-ink screen makes it great for reading outdoors and it isn’t blazingly bright at night.
I’ll still throw the occasional image heavy technical book on the iPad, but I usually finish those slower. The iPad is great for comics though.
Listen to Your Books
I’ve had Bryan Cranston and Steve Martin tell me their life stories. I’ve sat down with the cast and crew of Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show to hear first hand what it was like working in their offices. And heard many, many first hand experiences of running a business.
It may not be technically reading, but the goal isn’t to just perform the act of reading. It’s to gather a wide range of thoughts and ideas to improve yourself. Or just keep yourself entertained while you mow the yard in 100 degree weather. Plus your brain doesn’t know the difference.
Ever since I’ve signed up for Audible my book intake has tripled. I can listen while I commute to work, take a walk, wash the dishes, or go for a run. For some reason books and podcasts distract me from my legs being on fire during a run more than music.
If you want to read and listen Amazon’s Whispersync let’s you easily pick up where you left off switching back and forth between reading and listening.
Pro tip: Listen at higher speeds to get books done quicker.Even if you don’t subscribe to Audible, you can usually grab the audio version of a book on Amazon. Sometimes it could even be cheaper to get the Kindle and Audio version on Amazon than just get the Audio version outright. When you’re checking out a book just look for the “Add Audible Narration” option.
Also be sure to check if your local libraries offer free audiobook rentals through services like Overdrive. I haven’t had a chance to test it out myself yet. I’ve been avoiding the library since I lost my card back in middle school. I don’t want to pay the fee for a new card.
Track Your Progress
One of the best things you can do to build up a habit is to keep track of it. It makes it easier to repeat it and eventually it will become second nature.
My go to for turning reading into a daily habit was the Productive app. It’s easy to setup, fast to load, and it has some stats.
I also keep a list of all the books I’ve read in Google Sheets. So I can review where I’m at and see how close I am to that 52 book goal.
Finally, make a list of what you want to read. I use Amazon’s wishlist feature as well as an Evernote file where I put everything I come across that seems interesting. If I’m ever stuck for what to read next I’ll check either of those out and find something interesting in minutes.
Now go out there and start reading.
Note: There are affiliate links in this post. These are all things I’ve found helpful for myself that I wanted to share. Still, if you despise affiliate links everything in this post is just a Google search away.