I’m running an experiment this year. An experiment that I can read more books than ever before, even though I’m considerably more busy than ever before. More on that later though. If you too are interested in learning how to read more in 2020, you’re in the right place.
I love January. I love looking forward to where I want to go for the new year and what I need to do to get there.
It’s like spring for me. There are flowers blooming and bright colors popping up, there’s a feeling of optimism and hope, it’s great.
And this January, per my usual New Year’s tradition, I set a bunch of goals for myself. One of which is to…
Complete two books each month this year.
I was picking up some reading tips over on my pal, Jari’s post, and felt inspired.
I’m normally a pretty private guy (at least as private as you can be when sharing yourself on the internet) but felt the urge to share the details of my reading-related goal with you.
Because everyone knows reading is important.
And a lot of people courageously set out to read more at the start of the year, but few people actually make progress on that goal.
Which I get.
Just like losing weight or “trying to be more positive,” there are a lot of details that go into the successful planning and achieving of your goals (see my goal setting course for everything you need on that front).
That said, I want to make it easier for you to make the reading progress that you’re after.
This year is different
I’ve set reading-related goals for a while now. Numerous years, in fact.
My problem is that I’m a slow reader. So while some people may scoff at my modest goal of finishing two books a month, I see it as a stretch. Plus, life has gotten pretty busy as of late. My wife and I just recently moved, we had our first child, I’m balancing a full-time job and QuickBooost (what you’re reading right now).
There’s a lot going on.
Now, I’ve come close to hitting that number before, but have yet to officially cross the 24-books-in-a-year threshold.
This year is different though.
Because I have six new strategies that I am using (and sharing with you so that you can use them too). So for all those scientists out there, here’s my somewhat scientific hypothesis:
If I implement the six strategies below, I will successfully read two books each month in 2020.
Before I get into the strategies I am using to read more this year, I want to clarify something I touched on previously – that everyone knows reading is important.
Sure, it’s a generalization, but there is truth to it. If you didn’t believe that statement you wouldn’t be reading this post, right?
Reading is important.
Trust me. As someone that despised reading when I was younger but fell in love with it as a post-college adult, I know the value that is to be gained through reading. Now, the value you get out of it may be different than mine.
But in the case that you’re looking for some reassurance as to why you should set a reading goal for yourself in 2020, here are a few reasons why reading is so important. It…
- Gives you exposure to new ideas
- Provides more detail and wisdom as to old ideas
- Helps you learn and improve in myriad ways
The more you learn and apply, the more you will grow. The more you grow, the better equipped you will be to design an amazing life for yourself.
It’s all connected.
How I’m going to read more this year (and what you can do too)
Below are the six strategies that I am utilizing to enhance my reading efforts in 2020. Some may seem obvious, others maybe not as much.
They’re there for you either way. Go into the list with an open mind, consider my concerns and praise for each, and apply what you believe will work best for you.
How To Read More: Audiobooks
I’ve been anti-audiobooks for a long time. Years probably. Why? Personal preference mostly.
I love the feeling of holding a physical book; of adding it to my bookshelf once complete, of feeling its importance and weight when I read it, of how the pages smell and the text looks printed on the page.
And obviously, audiobooks don’t offer that kind of experience.
Plus, I’ve never considered myself the best audio-type learner. I retain information better when I can see it in front of my face.
But with a new baby comes new challenges. Time is a little tighter and because of that, I need some creative solutions to reading while pushing a stroller, for instance.
That’s where audiobooks come in.
While I still prefer the company of a physical book over audio, I’ve been pleasantly surprised thus far that I’ve been able to both follow along and retain the information in an audiobook format.
So here’s to more audiobooks in 2020.
*In case you’re wondering, I use Audible for my audiobook needs. It gets the job done.
How To Read More: Calculate How Much You Need To Read
Another strategy that I’m employing is basic math.
When I’m simply just reading for the sake of reading, I don’t have any set start or stop points. I read for however long I want to read and stop when I want.
In the case of my goal though, I have deadlines that I want to reach. And because I’m a slower reader, I need to keep a daily pace so that I read enough each day.
So to determine how much I need to read, I do some basic math.
- I look at the total number of pages in the book
- Check my calendar and determine how many opportunities I will have to read
- And divide
For example, let’s say I have a book that is 300 pages long. I check my calendar and decide I have roughly 12 days left this month to read.
So I divide 300 by 12 and get 25.
That’s the pace I need to keep. In order to complete the 300 page book this month, on each of those 12 days I need to read 25 pages.
It’s a simple strategy that keeps me (and will keep you) focused on what needs to get done.
How To Read More: Make Note-Taking More Convenient
Taking notes on what I read is critical in my understanding of the material (especially with audiobooks). In the past I’ve written notes in a notebook or in the actual book itself or on some piece of paper somewhere.
It wasn’t the best system.
Instead of continuing that messy cycle then, I’ve instead created a Google Doc that I use to house all my notes. That way as I learn something new I can open up that doc, add the note, and resume reading.
It’s a simpler and, therefore, streamlined process.
So what I’m doing (and what you should consider doing too in regards to how to read more effectively) is:
- Be sure to take notes
- Make sure your note taking process is simple and convenient
How To Read More: Keep A Book By Where You Relax
That could be your desk or the bar in the kitchen. Wherever you find yourself plopping down to take a break most often, put a book there.
Speaking for myself, that spot is my living room couch.
The problem that I would previously encounter was that whenever I would sit down and start relaxing, it was way too excruciating to have to then get up and go grab a book. So I made it easy and played to my inner lazy-person.
I put a book on the table right next to the couch. It’s in my face and within arm’s reach.
And, I’ve started reading more because of it.
Do you see how these strategies are basically just ways to reduce the friction between not reading and reading? If you want to know how to read more often, put a book by where you relax.
How To Read More: Make Time For It
This strategy requires a bit more effort, so bear with me. For this to work, you need to really dig into your schedule, move things around, and make time to read.
It may sound easy enough, but you’re likely the type that is super driven and have a lot on your plate.
So making an hour to read in your otherwise busy schedule may prove challenging.
It certainly did for me.
But by sitting down, planning your time, and being deliberate about when you will read, it’s a surefire way that you set yourself up for reading success.
If you were to ask me how to start reading more, all the other strategies aside, I’d say this one is the most crucial. Like anything you want in life, you have to make time for it.
I’m making time to read in 2020. When? Often.
- An audiobook with breakfast and my first half of lunch time
- A physical book during my second half of lunch time and in the evening
- And an audiobook during other miscellaneous times as well – chores, walks, etc.
How To Read More: Practice Speed Reading
Full disclosure, I haven’t formally started training in speed reading yet, but I will be making time for it this year.
Because I’m a slow reader, I know that an easy way to increase the amount I read without sacrificing comprehension is through speed reading.
Tim Ferriss has a blog post all about it that I plan on referencing. Why his system over someone else’s? Simply put, I love his work and trust that the instructions he put together will prove useful.
His post is right here.
If you’re interested in my progress with speed reading, let me know in the comments or by emailing me and I’d be happy to update this post along the way with my results.
When it comes down to how to read more books faster, I believe speed reading is the way to do it.
*Update 7/17: This works! I’ve been following this practice for seven+ months now and can say that I’ve seen a real improvement in my reading speed. Plus, my comprehension hasn’t diminished at all. As far as words per minute (WPM) go, in January my WPM was 248. When I last tested it in April it had increased to 392 WPM. I haven’t tested it again since April, but feel like my speed has continued to improve.
If you’re unsure if speed reading is worth the effort, it is. Practice twice a month for at least a year. You will see results.
The books I’m reading this year
I have my strategies in place and am now in the midst of the fun part – actually reading. I have a long list of books I am reading this year. Some I already own, some I’ll be purchasing when I’m ready for them.
My criteria for deciding which books to read is pretty simple. I read books that:
- Were recommended to me by someone whose opinion I trust (many of which come from podcasts I listen to)
- Sound interesting to me for whatever reason
- Or are directly relevant to something going on in my life at that moment
That said, you can follow along with all the books that I’m reading in 2020 right here.
How to read more moving forward
Reading is powerful. It will help you grow, consider new ideas, and challenge yourself. Plus it’s entertaining!
So if you decide to set a reading goal for yourself this year, awesome!
Consider some of the challenges that I run into when reading and what the challenges are that have slowed you down or derailed you in the past. Try out some of the strategies that I’m applying this year and see if you can check a few more books off your list as well.
When it comes to reading, some is better than none. Five pages a day is better than no pages a day. Some learning is better than no learning.
Start small or go at whatever pace works for you. Just start reading in any capacity. And from there, let that success carry over into the other areas of your life!