Because I read a lot (once upon a time I managed 500 books in a year; now it’s more like 200), I frequently get asked what the trick is. People seem to think I have a lifehack or something that I can share with other people. I’ll break that down a bit more below, but here’s what I think (looking back) is the biggest driver for me meeting my reading goals…
I do best when I don’t care about the goals at all.
My reading has slowed down more and more with every goal I add, every challenge I decide I have to meet. It’s also slowed down because I’m an adult working 30 hours a week and studying and trying to be a healthy person with a tidy house — there’s no denying that. And the increased amount of non-fiction I read now is a factor as well. But there’s a fairly large correlation between when I started really worrying about meeting reading goals and when my reading speed abruptly dropped.
Now, I do have some habits which I think help me read a lot, so I’ll summarise them below:
- Always have a book with you. You never know when you’re going to have a tedious hour stuck by the side of the road waiting for a bus or a towtruck. Or a 30-minute wait at an appointment. Even a five-minute wait for the train gives me time to fit in a chapter.
- Pick up the book, not your phone (unless the book is on your phone). It goes without saying, really.
- Give yourself at least a little room to read based on whims. Reading isn’t meant to be a chore. You don’t need a pre-planned TBR. If you’re really excited to read a book, you’ll remember it. You won’t be able to keep your hands off it.
- Buy books you’re excited about. If it’s just a case of “I feel like I should read this”, that book is destined to moulder on the TBR pile forever. And my TBR pile is daunting as heck now because of exactly the wrong kinds of purchasing decisions.
- Make the time. It’s been a shit day, but you can still turn some pages. And if you like reading and you’re reading a book you’re excited about, that’s only gonna make your day better.
That’s it. That’s my magic bullet. Everything else comes and goes, but these things are constant and always help toward meeting my goals.