10 Easy Ways To Get More Reading Done

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.

-       Charles W. Eliot


“I really should read more books,” you tell yourself.

There’s all this information you want to acquire, all these skills you want to learn.

You’re excited about reading more so that you can become a better parent, friend, employee, boss, writer or entrepreneur.

You want to immerse yourself in a captivating story and learn to see the world from a brand new perspective.

You know there’s plenty to gain from reading more books.

But when you get home after a long day, you give in to temptation.

You turn on the TV and lie on the couch. You login to Facebook and start watching YouTube videos.

Before you know it, it’s bedtime. No time left in the day to read.

If this describes you, you’re not alone. This poll reveals that half the adults in America read five books or fewer over the past year.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. I’ve discovered 10 easy ways to read more books, and I’d like to share them with you.

These 10 tips have helped me to read more than 170 books over the past four years, so I promise that they work.

1.    Always have a book with you.

When you carry a book around with you all the time, it’s less likely that you’ll play with your phone or daydream whenever you’re caught waiting for something.

If you use your waiting time to read, you’ll be able to finish many more books in the long run.

2.    Set aside time to read every night before you go to bed.

10 or 15 minutes of reading before you go to bed is a good way to unwind.

3.    Get enough sleep.

This might sound like a tip that belongs in a different article, so allow me to explain.

Many people want to read on the bus or subway ride to work, but because they’re sleep-deprived, they decide to take a nap instead.

If you’re well-rested, you can use your commute to do some valuable reading.

4.    Use your finger or a pen as a guide when you’re reading.

When you do this, you force your eyes not to “jump” around or skip back over the words that you’ve already read, which is the natural tendency of your eyes.

This tip alone will greatly improve your reading efficiency.

5.    Use an e-reader.

I was initially hesitant about buying an e-reader (I use a Kindle), because I enjoy reading books in their physical form. But I was quickly won over by the convenience of doing all of my reading on the Kindle.

The font sizes are adjustable; you can share one book with multiple devices; you can highlight text and make notes; you can use one hand to navigate all of the Kindle’s functions (this is especially useful for me when I find myself holding on to the handlebar of a crowded bus with one hand, and using my Kindle with the other).

6.    Buy audio books.

If you prefer to do your “reading” by listening, this option will work well for you.

7.    Read one book at a time.

It’s tempting to read multiple books at once, but when you focus on finishing one book at a time, you’ll get more out of each book that you read.

8.    Read while sitting on the “throne.”

It’s not recommended that you spend too much time sitting on the toilet, but since you’re going to be there for five minutes or so, why not do some reading? Five minutes of extra reading a day does add up.

9.    Keep a list of books that you’ve read.

It’s exciting to see the list growing as time goes by, which will further encourage you to read more.

10.  Keep a list of books that you want to read.

This list represents all the knowledge that you’d like to gain in the future. Referring to this list and updating it regularly will help you stay motivated to keep reading!

In closing…

Reading a book is like undergoing a chemical reaction.

You’ll never be exactly the same when you finish a book, because every book has the power to teach you, encourage you and shape you.

I hope these 10 tips enable you to be changed for the better through the power of reading many more good books.


About Daniel Wong: Daniel Wong is the author of “The Happy Student: 5 Steps to Academic Fulfillment and Success”. He is also an education excellence coach and speaker. He writes regularly about topics related to education, career and personal development at Living Large.

Photo credit: ‘Books’ by Big Stock

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  • zyzzyva57

    I keep my eReader library in the FREE Calibre program
    I also keep a running reading program in Word by saving articles from my Google Reader (save in the RTF format), transfer sections over into Calibre, there convert it into ePub format
    This is NOT as hard as it sounds
    When I am done with reading something, I delete it if it is a book, because the book is still in Calibre, or I transfer more Reading from Word when I am done with my current Reading, which I delete
    The pleasure of my Word Readings is these are specific articles I want to read

    • Daniel Wong

      Sounds like you have a whole system! Good stuff :)

  • Derp

    I do keep a list of the books I’ve read and plan to read in the near future. However, I don’t keep the unread list too long. It is fun to let one book influence what you read next, almost take a life of its own. Also, there is a book everywhere I go. That is all great advice!

    However, audio books are cheating. You will not find yourself a better reader by practicing with your ears. That method completely ignores the Visual Cortices. I would remove #6.

    • Daniel Wong

      Thanks for your feedback. I actually much prefer visual reading to audiobooks! But for people who have a long drive to work, I think audiobooks would come in handy.

      • Derp

        First I want to apologize for this quick response. I enjoy this site and have it pinned on my Google Chrome auto-page. 

        I find quality purpose in audio books for people who have lost or do not have the ability to utilize visual stimuli. It may be antithetical to the purpose of this site to suggest readers shift attention from driving to understand what someone is saying in an audio book. The brain does not multitask. I can’t even guess the number of times I’ve barely avoided collision with people not concentrating on the task at hand. 

        Perhaps in follow up to this article you should make a list of hobbies that can be combined without posing a health risk to one’s self or others.

        • Daniel Wong

          You’re right, safety is definitely a concern! Thank you for sharing.

  • Jagi

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  • Doggiepepper

    I started my list of books I have read in 1999. I recently converted the list from a Word document to an Excel spreadsheet and strongly recommend this format. It allows me to sort entries by author or title, which is useful when selecting books to read so that I don’t checkout items that I have already read.

    • Daniel Wong

      Using an Excel spreadsheet is an excellent idea!

    • adoncreative

      Great idea! thanks! You just gave me another way of pursuing my reading. 

      • Daniel Wong

        Good job!

  • dice8up

     Excellent content! all of the points you mentioned exactly hit me. Every year it has been my goal to read at least 5 books. But I always ends up short. Like this year, I have only able to finish one(The Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien) and less half way through another.

    I think what you said about lacking sleep contributes to my reading or the absent of it.

    • Daniel Wong

      I’m glad you found the article useful!

  • Del Mar Dentist

    Good article indeed. Reading is like the brains exercise, It keeps it active and running. Also reading could actually relieve stress. I’m planning to buy an e-reader. What would you recommend?

    • Daniel Wong

      Definitely recommend a Kindle! :)

  • Douglas E Rice

    Awesome, great tips–especially about diversifying the platform from which you read (#5 and #6) I read about a book a week ( ) but have a dream of someday reading one book per day for an entire year. We’ll see…

    • Daniel Wong

      That sounds like an ambitious but awesome goal!

  • Mahinthジョー

    I am using Amazon Reading list provided free I guess, don’t remember paying for this by for maintaing an online and location independant reading list, network updates & industry updates it even has an option to manage my Kindle too via the web interface.

    • Daniel Wong

      That’s cool! I didn’t know about the Amazon Reading list.

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  • Humaira Hamid

    Good tips Daniel – I’ve been practicing 1-4, 7, 9, 10 for awhile now and it’s good to see the tips all in one place & shared.

    I’d add – keep a pencil, highlighter & notepad around for books you read to learn from, and jot down your own interpretations / applications of what you’re reading. Kindle over physical books still hasn’t won me over yet – it’s the tension between “convenience” and “tradition” ;) I personally find I engage more if it’s a physical book – and I always carry post-its or a notebook to jot down my own ideas & tangents to reinforce what I’m taking in as I go along (less so for fiction books).

    For those that like that visual display, feedback, interaction & community around reading (points 9 & 10), sites like or are great. I personally use the latter (

    Happy reading all! ~ H

    • Daniel Wong

      Those are great tips! Thank you for sharing :)

  • Melinda

    This is a great list.  I have found recently, that it’s easier to have a book “with me” if I use the Kindle app on my phone.  We listen to audiobooks in the car, because that’s one of the only times or ways I can get my very talkative 7 year old to be quiet.  And instead of keeping a list of what I have or haven’t read this year, I’ve got stacks.  Currently in my stack of read, about 15 books.  Currently in my stack of to read, about 20.  lol

    • Daniel Wong

      Good job! I’ve got stacks to read in both lists too :)

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  • Jennifer Waggoner Hartling

    Great list :) I’ve yet to buy an e-reader..I was trying to keep it old school. But I’m currently looking for one.

    • Daniel Wong

      Yes, you definitely won’t regret getting an e-reader! The Kindle is my recommendation :)

  • Bsee58

    I have a Kindle Touch and just love it for reading! I also went to in the beginning of the year and signed up for the 2012 Reading Challenge. For the reading challenge you put down how many books you think you might read throughout the year. My goal is to read 65 books and have read so far 37 books. It also shows by percentage after you get a book done how much you have done and tells you if you’re behind schedule on meeting your goal. I’m 4 books behind. I like this challenge as it gives you the incentive to read more, at least it does for me lol

    • Daniel Wong

      That’s awesome!

  • Ami

    I have a tablet that I keep a ton of books on so I am never without something to read, though I’ve always been a one book at a time reader I’ve found that, for me, reading just two books at a time is fine. But, I will keep track of the percentage of reading I’ve done per book and switch back and forth. I tend to phase-genre read. Meaning that I go through phases on which particular genre or topic I’m interested in at a time so there are months where all I’ll read are YA vampire novels and then another month it’s self help fix-it books and then I’ll be all into philosophy books, etc. I believe that buying a type of reading device was the smartest thing, as an avid reader, I have ever done and encourage everyone to get one!

    • Daniel Wong

      You sound like a really organized person, Ami :)

  • Ami

    Also I’ve already read over fifty books this year. My goal is to have sixty read by January 1st. :-)

    • Daniel Wong

      Very impressive!!

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  • bonz04

    I totally love this article because this steps that I  want to do in  my review for board exam next year. I really enjoyed listening to the people who giving me ideas on how to read properly.. Thanks for this steps.

    • Daniel Wong

      I’m glad you found it useful! Thanks for the comment :)

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