Truthfully, I don't know how many books I have read last year. I just needed a catchy title for this post. But I feel certain that I have already read more books in the last two months than last year.
My personal reason for reading more books is to learn more about the stuff I am interested in. In the past years, I had interests in personal finance, productivity, nutrition and start-ups. By the way, if you're interested in nutrition, then I can recommend you The science of nutrition by Rhiannon Lambert (5th book of the pic below).
I am not trying to boast here by presenting the books I read. Instead, I want to present the methods which make it possible for me to read more and meanwhile increase my knowledge. I will also explain why other methods were difficult for me to keep up with.
The methods I am currently using are:
- When going to bed, reading at least one page before sleeping.
- Listening to audiobooks.
Methods to (not) read a lot
There are multiple methods to read a lot, but the following two are not one of those:
- Deciding to read 10 pages a day
- Buying books before finishing the one you're currently reading to make a smooth transition
10 pages per day
You might decide to read 10 pages a day to form a habit.
Depending on the book, reaching the goal becomes more difficult. Let's say you can easily read 10 pages of your favourite book. But if you take a bigger book with a smaller font, then you have to invest more time to read and it will become more challenging to reach your goal.
After consequently not reaching your goal, you might lose motivation and some day, you will stop reading at all because of the negative emotions associated with reading.
Decide to read for 5 minutes a day. This way, it makes your day more calculable and makes it easier to go through those 5 minutes. The difference between 5 minutes and 10 pages is that the first one is an input based goal, which is something within your control. But if you decide to read 10 pages a day, depending on the book and the pages, the time you have to invest for each page can vary. This is outside of your control and makes it an outcome based goal, which makes reaching the goal more difficult.
Of course, you can increase or decrease the time you want to spend with reading depending on your circumstances and overall goal.
Now, it's confession time
Actually, I don't use this method. I use the method of reading at least one page every night. I mainly use eBooks where I can set up the font-size however I want. Since I always use the same font-size and the same device to read, this method is actually quite similar to the 5-minutes method, since I roughly spend the same time to read each day.
Buying the next book before finishing the current one
There was one time, when I had the habit of buying books, as soon as I thought, that they look interesting, even though I was already reading another book. This was a really costly move.
I didn't follow up with the books I have bought, because when I wanted to choose the next book to read, I didn't have any interest in them anymore. Now, these books are just lying around in my (digital) book-shelves.
A better way is to buy a book only after finishing the book you're currently reading. This way, you will read the books which interest you at the exact moment. Just put the books you want to read into your to-read-list, so that you can remember which books had previously picked your interest.
By the way, forcing yourself to read a book, which does not interest you anymore, can lead to you reading fewer books. Read something which is fun for you!
Effective method to read more without reading
Start listening to audiobooks. I know a lot of YouTubers promoted audible to the extent that you want to ignore their advice. At least that's what happened to me. But after trying it for two months, I know for sure that audiobooks will change your reading habits.
Choose the right medium
Right now, I have used three different mediums to listen to audiobooks - Thalia's audiobook subscription, Audible and Spotify. They all have their advantages and disadvantages. If you're interested in a deep comparison, hit me up. I ended up with Audible since it suited my interests the most.
Audiobooks are great, because you can listen to them when you do manual tasks, where not a lot of thinking is needed. I use them when commuting or cooking. Sometimes even when working out. It depends, if I have a TV with Netflix in front of me. If yes, then Netflix is the usual winner :D.
When I am not focussed though, I might miss some parts of the audiobook. Even though I can rewind as much as I want, I don't do it. The joy of listening is higher when you do not force yourself to rewind the audiobook. I use the 80/20 principle here. With 20% of effort, you can learn about 80% of the content. If you want to learn the last 20% as well, you would have to spend more energy (80% effort).
Why do I say rewinding costs you more energy? Every time you rewind, you interrupt the thing you're doing by taking out your phone. Then you need to guess how many minutes you have missed and maybe rewind even more. Then you will listen to parts, which are still clearly in your mind. I would definitely describe this stress, time and annoyance as the 80% of effort to gain the last 20%.
With audiobooks, you can listen to non-fiction almost effortlessly and meanwhile increase your knowledge. Using the 80/20 principle, you can make sure that you don't lose the joy of listening.
Reading every day for a set amount of time makes it easier to continue with the habit of reading. (My recommendation: read ebooks. Then, you don't have to track the time and you can use instead the 1-page-method.)
Also, if you read every day, it will actually increase your interest in reading. If you're interested in the evidence, check out my post about motivation.
PS: Here is a summary-video of the book Atomic Habits by James Clear presented by my favorite YouTuber: