Getting yourself to read more

I’ve nev­er had the feel­ing that I was read­ing that much, or that I was doing some­thing that looked so impos­si­ble to a lot of peo­ple. But as friends asked me this ques­tion sev­er­al times, I came to real­ize that I was indeed read­ing a lot more than the usu­al peo­ple. Of course, every­one devotes one times to what one thinks impor­tant, but it seems that nowa­days a lot of peo­ple regret not being able to read more. So I’m writ­ing this to give you some tips that I gath­ered along, hop­ing it may help you ;)

Get back to reading

I see your read­ing capac­i­ty as a mus­cle that you have to train over time. You wouldn’t try a triathlon if the last time you went out for a walk was sev­en years ago would you? The same goes for your read­ing habits, don’t get too hard on your­self first. Five years ago I real­ized that I hadn’t read a book in two years. Not a sin­gle one. I real­ized that the idea of open­ing a book, and fin­ish­ing it, was real­ly ”fright­en­ing” me. So I decid­ed to slow­ly get back on reading.

You have to start small, and luck­i­ly, there’s a lot of things avail­able. I’d rec­om­mend to buy a book of short sto­ries, in the kind of sto­ries you pre­fer (may it be sci­ence fic­tion, fan­ta­sy, hor­ror, mod­ern, … what­ev­er you want). And just try to read one every night before going to bed. If it’s not doable, then read one each two days, what­ev­er works the best for you. But aim for real­ly shorts sto­ries (around 20 pages is fine). Slowly you’ll train your read­ing mus­cle and you’ll real­ize that you are able to fin­ish a sto­ry quite quick­ly, and a full book faster than you’d have thought. Once you’re at ease, sim­ply switch to small books (under 100 pages), and you’ll be on the right track!

Always have a book with you

I couldn’t stress this one enough, but always have a book with you, seri­ous­ly. You don’t real­ize the amount of time you’re wast­ing every day, wait­ing for the bus, wait­ing in the bus, wait­ing for a friend to arrive, … Instead of wait­ing, refresh­ing your social media feeds or what­ev­er, you’ll now have a book at hand! And you will be sur­prised how fast you can fin­ish it by using those lit­tle time chunks every time.

If you can, bring your book with you to the toi­let. Even bet­ter, every time you feel the urge to go check Facebook dur­ing the day, to breathe a lit­tle, why don’t you read two or three pages instead? You can always have a PDF ver­sion of a book with you, and it’s not worse than check­ing social medias, it’s even bet­ter in a way.

Better, have several ones!

Okay, this one is a bit per­son­al and might not suit every­one. It might even fright­en some of you. But I’m always read­ing at least 3 books at the same times (often it goes up to 6). The idea is sim­ple: if I’m not inter­est­ed in a book, I can pick anoth­er one, instead of not read­ing at all.

The trick is to sim­ply select some very dif­fer­ent books: fic­tion, self-help, busi­ness relat­ed, phi­los­o­phy relat­ed. For exam­ple at the moment the books am read­ing are real­ly dif­fer­ent: The Dice Men (fic­tion), Siddhartha (fic­tion & phi­los­o­phy), The Paper Magicians (young adult fic­tion, per­fect before going to bed), The Bed of Procrustes (busi­ness & phi­los­o­phy), … I tend to also have some books in French, oth­ers in English so I can real­ly switch to what­ev­er I feel like at the moment.

Some even use audio books when they’re going to the fit­ness, but it’s some­thing I’ve nev­er real­ly suc­ceed­ed at (fin­ished just one audio­book in my life), but if it works for you, go for it! I’m also using a Kindle for the last three years and I must say that it’s one of the great­est invest­ment I’ve ever made. While it’s not close to the feel­ing of a real book, and that I can’t write in it, I love to be able to high­light parts of the books and extract them lat­er, and I love to be able to car­ry 20 books with me when I go on hol­i­days with­out it being an addi­tion­al luggage.

I real­ly hope that those tips will help you to get back to read­ing some books for this year. If you want, you can always add me on GoodReads, or share your expe­ri­ence, I’m always ready to learn new things ;)

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Simon Vandereecken

Freelance UX Designer living in Brussels (Belgium), with a deep interest into philosophy, personal growth, self improvement, books, music, ... well in many things ! I use this website to write thoughts going through my head as well as ideas, observations and reading notes. Feel free to get in touch ;)