I’m usually an avid reader, but lately, my monthly book count has been much lower than usual. In an effort to read 50 books this year, I revisited my top tips for making reading a part of my everyday life. If you want to read more books, check out the seven tips below!
I’m a reader. I always have been. In fact, I’ve read an average of 71 books per year over the past 6 years. Because of this, I get asked all the time how I find so much time to read. I usually just shrug it off and say I don’t know, but the truth is that I’ve discovered some tricks over the years.
That being said, this year, it’s already August and I haven’t even hit 20 books yet. This is an all-time low for me, and I realized that I haven’t been utilizing my own tips anymore.
I miss reading. I miss getting lost in a story or learning about a subject I’m passionate about. So I’ve been digging deep, going back to those years I read 80 or 90 books, and analyzing how I managed to read so much.
Here are 7 things I owe my high book counts to:
1. Try A Variety of Genres.
I know a lot of adults who say they don’t like to read. But then they reluctantly pick something up and discover they actually LOVE to read–they just weren’t reading the right things. Maybe they only like reading about parenting whereas they were forcing themselves to read romance novels. Or they really like young adult fantasy, but they’d only read the classics. Or they love regency romance, but had only read personal development books.
So if you struggle with reading, try going outside your comfort zone and exploring book genres you’ve never tried before. You might be surprised to find you enjoy something you never thought you’d like!
2. Read Every Night Before Bed.
This is a tip I always utilize! Some nights I crawl into bed exhausted and only manage a paragraph before drifting off to dreamland, but I ALWAYS bring a book up to bed with me and read before I close my eyes. Even reading just a couple minutes each night would have you reading three to five books per year! And some nights you might be able to sneak in thirty minutes or more.
Make this a habit and watch your book count rise!
3. Listen to Audiobooks.
I’m not a huge audiobook fan (I prefer podcasts), but my husband is an avid audiobook listener. He listens to 1-2 books per week this way. The great thing about audiobooks is that you can listen to them while you accomplish other tasks–dishes, laundry, carpool, working out, mopping floors. Just pop in those earbuds and listen while you work!
Listening to a book is still reading. So if you’re holding on to the fact that it’s not, let that go and get listening!
4. Bring a Book Everywhere You Go.
I never leave the house without a book. I’m a physical book kind of girl, so yes, this means dragging around a bulky book everywhere I go (thank you, giant diaper bag). But you can also bring an e-reader or your phone loaded with a reading or listening app.
Then, when you’re out and about and have a few minutes, you have a book to go to instead of filling your time mindlessly scrolling Facebook. I mean, I love Facebook, but scrolling never leaves me feeling fulfilled. Reading a couple pages in a book, on the other hand, always does!
Get in a few pages while waiting in the dentist’s office, carpool pick-up line, the drive-thru, or the line at the grocery store. Make reaching for a book your new habit, instead of reaching for your phone. Sure, it’s only a minute or two here and there, but those minutes add up. About ten minutes a day translates into about an hour a week!
5. Read More Than One Book at a Time.
This tip took a long time for me to adopt and accept. I’m very Type-A, so reading two books at once was a tough concept for me to swallow. You mean I start I new book BEFORE I finish another one? 😱
But boy did this change things for my reading life! Now I’m always reading AT LEAST two books at a time–typically one fiction and one nonfiction.
Because here’s the reality: we’re not always going to be in the mood for one type of book. Sometimes I’m in the mood to learn, improve myself, and expand my horizons. And other times I just want to relax and escape into a good story.
So if I’m only reading a parenting book, but one night I want to relax…well, I’m probably going to skip the book and turn to the tv instead. But if I had a good fiction option as well, I’d probably choose the book!
Similarly, I don’t like to read nonfiction right before bed because it fires up my brain and I can’t get it stop thinking and let me go to sleep. So I always want fiction right before bed.
This one trick has helped me pick books over other activities so much more often–and I’m much happier because of it.
6. Read When Your Kids Read.
This tip is two fold:
- It allows you to fit 10-30 minutes of reading in every single day.
- It helps you set a good example for your kids.
I’m a huge believer in parents setting a reading example for their kids, and this is one simple way to do it. So when it’s time for your kids to do their nightly reading for their homework, grab your book and sit on the couch next to them. Not only will you get to take a little break from your to-do list, but your kids will probably put up less of a fight to do their homework when they get to snuggle with mom while they do it. Seriously.
And if you want your kids to love reading, they’ve got to see you enjoying reading too.
7. Prioritize It.
If you want to read more, you’ve got to make it a priority. Here is the tough truth: we all have time to read. We’re just spending that time doing something else.
This is at truth I’ve had to accept over the past year. I haven’t been making reading a priority. Plain and simple. And that’s why I’ve only read 17 books so far this year.
If I really want to up my book count, I have to make it a priority. I have to choose books over something else I feel lis less important (ahem, Instagram and Netflix). We’re all busy, and it’s tough to pick and choose how we spend our time, but our choices reflect our priorities. And if we don’t like what that means, we have the ability to change it. But it’s gonna take some work.
Try One Tip.
There it is: 7 ways to read fifty books per year. Try new things, set aside time for it, use those tiny pockets of time to get in a couple pages, but most of all, make it a priority. It’s tough to change our habits, but we’ve got this–we do hard things everyday!
So pick one of the above tips (or another one that came to you while you read this post), and try to add it to your life. It won’t happen right away, but with some time and practice, it will become your new normal.
How do you fit reading time into your busy life?