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!
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