How to read more
I used to read a LOT when I was younger. It was for that reason that I always knew I would go to university and study literature. But my passion for reading tapered off during sixth form and when I first came to university. Other things filled up my free time and I lost a lot of my motivation to read. Now I joke that it took a global pandemic to get me out of that three-year reading slump.
So far this year I’ve twelve books, a number I barely surpassed in 2019, and it made me realise that there might be a pattern in my reading habits. As a teenager I felt a bit cast adrift from the world and books were my escape. Now, with all the terrible things happening in the world, I seem to have retreated back to books again. The amount I’m reading probably has something to do with the fact that I can’t hang out with my friends every day like I used to. But I’m also feeling encouraged that my love of reading will continue into my adult life, now that I’ve been able to rediscover it.
Yet it’s sometimes hard to find time to read when we’re busy. I’ve put together some points that you can implement into your daily life to help boost your reading productivity. These tips can apply whether you’re reading casually for fun, or if you’re a student (especially one studying English Literature like me) and need to get your course readings done.
Make time for it – this is the most obvious thing. Like any other hobby, if you want to do it, you’ll make time for it. Schedule time into your day for reading, be it waking up an hour earlier or reading before bed. Make it a priority. If you read regularly it’ll eventually become a habit. Reading before bed is also relaxing and helps you settle down before sleep, as opposed to spending time on your phone.
Set goals for yourself – tell yourself that you won’t put the book down until you’ve read twenty pages or a chapter, etc. Do what you can achieve. If you want to read one book a month, work out how many pages you need to read every day in order to finish it. This can give you small short-term motivations that will lead towards the completion of a book.
Audiobooks – these are great if you don’t have a lot of time to spend sitting down reading. You can listen to them on your commute, when you’re cooking, on a walk, etc. My personal favourite is the audiobook for Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. It has a full cast and is so well done.
Use Goodreads – this is a website where you can discover new books and engage with a wider community that enjoys reading. It also features a yearly reading challenge. You can set yourself a goal of the number of books you want to read in the year. It’s a great way of providing motivation.
Here’s a picture of my bookshelf (for the aesthetic). Just looking at it makes me want to read: