One of the important tasks that I aim to complete every year is reading at least 30 books.
To some, that is a meager number, while others find it too overwhelming.
But a familiar question for an avid reader: how to read more books in less time?
This year, I made an ambitious aim to reach 50 books. It’s closing to October now, and I am at book no 31. I am not exactly sure if I will achieve this goal, but I am adamant about having a go at it.
When I do, I will write a blog about it. I should!
I will outline some of the ways we all can read more books (or other types of content) in less amount of time. Some of these tips I am already practicing myself.
Table of Contents
1. Try book hopping
What is book hopping?
Book hopping is reading several books at a go.
Instead of reading one book at one time from end to end, you read a few pages or chapters of one book and switch to another book. The switching to another book can happen at the same session or at different times of the day.
How many titles should a book hopping involve?
That’s entirely up to you, friend. I began with only two books. Now, I read 5 books at a time. Sometimes, I do more.
In my home, the books I am reading are available at easily accessed places. For example, besides my bed, on the dining table, in the living room and in the guest room.
The same goes for genres. You can read books of different genres or the same, depending on your preference. I hardly read fiction; my reads are mainly non-fiction books, especially biographies, self-improvement and motivations.
This brings me to my next point.
2. Read books that you like reading
Don’t read a book just because a friend recommended you.
If you do not like reading crime thrillers, don’t force yourself to read such a book.
An embarrassing confession: I once received a birthday present for my birthday in high school.
The present? A thriller novel.
After more than 20 years, I have not done reading it.
Always choose books that appeal to your individual taste and preference. That way, even if it’s just for 30 minutes or an hour per day, you will enjoy reading the book and be motivated to finish it.
3. Learn speed reading
Speed reading is a skill that can be learned. I have not mastered it yet (I found the technique of moving the fingers, one of the taught mechanisms, difficult to follow), but I am learning speed reading strategies to improve my reading pace.
How do you read faster? Simply by taking in more words at once instead of just one word at a time. We are talking about comprehending the context, not words.
It is not about reading faster than you normally do. It’s just that your eyes can take in more words at once. For instance, if you are reading at 100 words/minute pace now, your eyes can take in up to 300 words with speed reading strategies.
4. Bring books anywhere with you
Whenever possible, wherever you go, grab a book and bring it along with you. Spend your time reading while commuting, waiting in line, commuting to work or school, and during your lunch breaks at work.
If this is new to you, adjusting to the norm may be awkward.
But creating a new habit requires some initial effort and discomfort. Once you get used to it, you will thank yourself for the habit of reading everywhere you go.
You will amaze yourself at how many pages of the book you can read in just an hour or two.
Another good thing to do is bring books with you on your trips, including holidays.
In fact, I make it a special habit to buy a new book at the airport (or a few when the travel lasts for weeks) to read throughout my business or holiday trips.
5. Jump into the e-book bandwagon
Technology is changing the way we do things in all aspects of our lives.
In addition to printed books, why not add e-books now? With many immense benefits, you might like it even better than the printed version.
E-books are lightweight. You can cramp a thousand book titles in a single e-book reader device (or your mobile phone) that does not incur any additional weight. You can carry all of them at once, in total freedom.
Even better, if you have a library of e-books, just borrow one from there when you travel and do not worry about the weight or space issues in your baggage!
And then there is always that last page to finish reading before sleep at night. When you read electronically, you can bookmark the page and pick up again where you left off.
6. Listen to your books
Yes, you heard me right.
With the advent of audiobooks, listening is now the new reading.
Listening to your books is another way of reading more books in less time. Plus, your favorite book can be read by famous actors now! Does it get any better than that?
One can listen to their book on the go (while driving or commuting), but it’s also possible to listen while at home too; make use of this free time during cleaning up and cooking times.
Audiobooks are really a fantastic way to beat procrastination and increase productivity since enjoying audiobooks still allows you to be involved in other tasks simultaneously.
Platforms or apps such as Audible (by Amazon) provide a great convenience for accessing audiobooks at reasonable prices or subscription fees.
7. Keep track of your reading list
Finally, keep track of your reading list. Ensure that every book you completed reading is recorded. Neatly.
I use a simple Google Doc list which I update every single time I finish a book. Every time I add a new title to the list, a sense of achievement and satisfaction kicks in.
In addition to keeping track of my book-reading progress, adding new books to the list motivates me to read even more books and achieve my goal.
Reading books is a great way to sharpen your mind. It exercises the brain muscles, increases vocabulary and comprehension skills, enhances memory functions, stimulates imagination, enriches life experiences, and more.
If we want to continually improve our wisdom and knowledge, then identifying the right ways on how to read more books in less time definitely helps. Chose those few tips that work for you. We will become better.