5 Strategies I Use To Read Long Books

Matt Lillywhite

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Pretty much everyone wants to read a lot more books. The problem is, we often think that long books are intimidating. “It’ll take way too long” is something that we tell ourselves all the time. So, we procrastinate because we can’t be bothered to sit down and read.

The result? We’re unable to enjoy a beautiful book that someone took thousands of hours to write. Nor can we get lost in our imagination or feel inspired by a heartwarming story. Honestly, it’s a shame that our laziness is causing us to miss out on incredible pieces of literature.

For a long time, I was like the vast majority of people. I refused to read long books due to sheer laziness. They seemed interesting. But for one reason or another, I’d always find an excuse as to why “I didn’t have enough time.”

But one day, my mindset changed forever. I said to myself that I was willing to do whatever it takes to read (and enjoy) long books. So, I implemented five strategies that enabled me to read them with ease.

Here they are:

1) Turn Off Your Phone

For a long time, I found it relatively easy to sit down on the sofa with a book. But after a few minutes, I’d always hear a ping, notifying me that I had a message on Instagram or WhatsApp. And from that point onwards, reading was at the bottom of my priority list. I suddenly didn’t care anymore.

If you’re like me and easily get distracted, consider doing the same. Turn off your phone (or put it on silent) whenever you sit down to read. As a result, it’ll quickly become much easier to enjoy the storyline of whatever book you’re reading.

2) Reward Yourself

Whenever I don’t feel like reading, I tell myself that I can have a mango smoothie once I’m done. 99% of the time, that’s more than enough motivation for me to pick up a book and read. After all, mango is delicious.

Find a reward that will motivate you to achieve your reading goal. Perhaps you follow in my footsteps and make a mango smoothie. Or maybe, you feel motivated by the thought of a beautiful walk in the park with your partner.

Whatever the case, giving yourself an incentive will make it much easier to read more books.

3) Interact With The Text

I recently re-read Stillness Is The Key. In it, Ryan Holiday wrote about JFK’s handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis and how he remained calm during a historical period of extreme turbulence.

I was fascinated by similar stories throughout the book. So, I wrote every single one of them down and proceeded to watch documentaries to understand the events in greater detail. Now, I have a much stronger appreciation for the book as a result of implementing this strategy.

Grab a pen and take some notes. Underline or highlight anything that you think is interesting. Then, take a few moments to do some research. The reason? Implementing this strategy will help you appreciate the book even more, as you’ll gain a better understanding of the relevant context.

4) Make A Commitment

Reading a book is similar to a long journey. If you continually put one foot in front of the other, you’ll eventually reach your desired destination. That’s why it’s a good idea to read a specific number of pages each day. The author, Darren Hardy, said it best:

“Since your outcomes are all a result of your moment-to-moment choices, you have incredible power to change your life by changing those choices. Step by step, day by day, your choices will shape your actions until they become habits, where practice makes them permanent.”

In essence, committing to a few pages will enable reading to become a natural part of your daily routine. So if you consistently read for several minutes each day, you’ll inevitably make a lot more progress than you ever thought possible.

Pick a realistic target. I tend to aim for 50 pages. But if you’re unable to read for a long time, that’s okay. The only thing that matters is showing up and making daily progress to finish each book.

5) Find Hidden Opportunities

In 1946, Malcolm Little was arrested while picking up a stolen watch that he left at a shop to be repaired. He was then sentenced to ten years in prison. But instead of planning his next crime spree, he spent the vast majority of his time reading books in the prison library.

Those few years were incredibly productive. Malcolm learned new things, read countless amounts of interesting books, and literally wore his eyes out from reading so much. Now, he’s often referred to as Malcolm X and is considered to be one of the most influential figures in human history.

There’s no such thing as being “too busy to read books.” Because like the old adage goes, we all have the same 24 hours in a day. It’s what you do with them that matters.

There are loads of hidden opportunities to read books throughout the day. For example, you could listen to audiobooks in the car or read for a few minutes before going to bed (instead of scrolling through Instagram). When you take advantage of every moment, you’ll inevitably find yourself reading a lot more books than ever before.

I use the above strategies to read long books in a relatively short amount of time. And once you implement them into your own life, you’ll quickly find it much easier to finish novels with ease. So what are you waiting for?

Start now.

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