Reading is one of my favorite pursuits. Nothing is better than picking up a good book and being transported to a different world while you learn valuable wisdom along the way.
So much knowledge has been accrued over the centuries in books that if you’re not reading, you’re not growing. Books may seem archaic in an age of smartphones and tablets, but they are still around for a reason.
One of the biggest inhibitors many people state when asked why they don’t read more is that they lack time. This is a common refrain I’ve heard from many people when I ask them why they don’t read more.
“I just don’t have the time.” “I’m so busy that when I get home from work the last thing I feel like doing is reading.” Or, “I wish there were more hours in the day so I could read!”
Well, that last wish isn’t going to happen anytime soon. What these responses show is that a lot of us feel like we have little time to devote to reading. My response is that, instead, the real problem is that we don’t allocate that time effectively.
It may seem daunting to suggest that you can read over 50 books a year, but it’s easier than you think. After all, if you were to read 52 books in a year, that’s one for every week. That seems like a lot, but does it really take seven days to read one book?
The truth is, when you break it down it’s much easier than you think to read over 50 books a year. If you structure your time accordingly and develop a reading habit, you’ll breeze past that figure with no problem at all.
This year, I’ve already read over 35 books. I don’t say that to brag but to make it clear that it’s possible to read this amount of books in one year. The pandemic has helped me, but I could have reached a similar figure without the appearance of the coronavirus.
That said, below are a few tips that I have used to help me read more books. All of them are easy to implement and will help ingrain a reading habit that will last a lifetime.
Read a Set Amount of Pages Every Day
One of the best ways to read more books is to read a set limit of pages every day. I read 100 pages a day as a bare minimum. If you’re starting out, this will be difficult to do, so it’s better to set a lower number.
30 to 50 pages is a good number to start with. Once you’re into your stride after a few days, you can up the number and start reading more. The trick with this tip is that once you start reading a set amount of pages a day, it becomes a habit. The longer you persist with this, the harder it will become to drop it.
Once you commit to reading every day, it’s easier to stick to it. By not putting this tip in place, you’re opening the door to reading on an ad hoc basis, which will see you read fewer books over the course of a year.
The beauty of this tip is that it will compound over time. You’ll get to the point where reading 100 pages a day is nothing, and you might even be able to get through books that are 200 pages long in one sitting.
All by just committing to reading a certain number of pages every day. Not bad!
Read Two Books at Once
This may seem like a crazy suggestion, but it’s one that works. I regularly read two books at once and it allows me to get through them quicker than if I read them one by one.
Sometimes I start reading a book and find it hard to make my way through it. When that happens, I’ll pick up another book. Once I’ve read that book or made some progress, I’ll pick up the original one and continue reading.
This way I don’t become disillusioned with the book and the time spent not reading it increases my desire to get back into the book. This is a good trick to use if you’re struggling to get through a book. Give it some time, read another one, and you’ll find your enthusiasm for the original book comes back.
Another way you could incorporate this tip is to read the two books concurrently. For example, you could read one book in the morning and another one in the evening.
This way you’re getting through two books when you would only get through one. You could alternate between days too if you want. It doesn’t matter how you do it, but reading two books at once is a surefire way to increase the number of books you read throughout the year.
Carry a Book With You Wherever You Go
This is one of the best tips that I can give you. No matter where you go, take a book with you.
When I was teaching English in Barcelona, I used to have to take the metro in and out of the city most days. Sometimes, the journey would take 10 minutes, other times it would take 30 minutes.
At first, I just used to stand in the train minding my business. Then I realized that this was a large chunk of time that was going to waste. When a train was delayed, as happened occasionally, this became an even bigger chunk of my time that was gone.
I decided to fill this time by reading. Even if I only got through a few pages, it was better than nothing. The same applies to flights too. I used to just sit there and listen to music. Now, I always take a book with me. Not only do I read more than I normally would, but the flight feels like it’s quicker too. Win, win!
Taking a book with you no matter where you go, means that you can fill any dead time you encounter with a practical activity. Once you start doing this, you’ll soon start reading more books.
Read When You Feel Like Procrastinating
Procrastination is something I struggle with from time to time. I don’t think I’m the only one that suffers from this. In the past, I would sit at my desk and watch YouTube videos or scroll through Twitter rather than working.
Now when I feel the urge to procrastinate or catch myself slipping back into old habits, I pick up a book and start reading. This is a much better use of my time than watching video after video on YouTube.
The benefit of this is that you don’t waste time. I know only too well how much you can waste by procrastinating. I shudder to think how many hours I’ve lost after I fell down the YouTube rabbit hole.
Although you may not be getting any work done, even you only read 10 pages to stave off procrastination, it’s worth it. Although books are addictive for me at least, there is no comparison between them and the algorithms of YouTube and social media.
I guarantee you will spend less time procrastinating by reading than you would by watching videos. That means you’ll be back to work sooner than you think and you'll have got through more pages of your book too!
These are just a few ways in which you can increase the number of books you read in a year. Reading more than 50 books in a year may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.
It’s achievable if you develop the necessary habits. If you always have a book around you’re more inclined to read, it’s as simple as that. That may be the best tip of all. Surrounding yourself with books will allow the other four tips to fall into place. Once they do, you’ll blast past 50 books in no time!