Creating a reading habit

Ten to fifteen years ago I used to read quite a lot. Then the smartphone came. All those in between moments I grabbed my phone to read the latest news or check social media. 

The only time I did get some reading done was when I went on holiday. The main reason I got excited for my holidays was because then I could read. Which I found kind of bizarre. If I enjoyed reading so much, then why could I not just do it in the comfort of my own home? I decided to force myself to read thanks to a technique I learnt from Jerry Seinfeld.

Seinfeld has a big calendar up on his office wall. When he writes a joke the day on the calendar will be marked with a big red cross. All he has to do now is to not break the chain of crosses. This will ensure that he will write jokes every day. 

I did the same with reading. The difference being that I use an app to track my crosses instead of a physical calendar. Starting from 2018 I’ve been reading every single day. It doesn’t matter how much I read, even if it’s just one page or one paragraph. The act of sitting down with a book usually results in a reading session of at least an half hour.

Reading on a e-reader

I love reading paper books. That being said I read almost all my books on a kindle.

The reason behind this is because it is easier. The format of a kindle fits perfectly in the back pocket of my jeans so I can carry it everywhere. When reading a book with a lot of pages, carrying around a physical copy can be cumbersome.

Another advantage is the backlight. I can read even with the lights off. Handy when the person next to you actually wants to sleep.

Stop watching (linear) tv and following the news

My randomly zapping days are over. If I watch tv it’s because I really want to catch up on a particular series. I never just plunk down on the coach and start switching channels anymore. 

On top of that I stopped following the news. This has several reasons, which I will probably elaborate on in another blog post, but the main reason is that it’s mostly useless information. As a form of education is worthless.

Following the news also made me feel depressed. This makes sense as the news reports mainly on the bad things that happen in the world. Because immediate, bad news has more impact and sells more newspapers, attracts more viewers and delivers more clicks. ‘If it bleeds, it leads’ as the old saying goes.

By quitting these two time consuming activities I’ve freed up a lot of time to, you guessed it right, read books.

Keep some books on your mobile phone

Sometimes you find yourself waiting for something or someone and nothing to do. My initial reaction would be to grab my mobile phone and start mindlessly scrolling to news and social media feeds. Not anymore. Nowadays I make sure I have some books loaded on my phone, in case I’ve left my e-reader at home, so that I can easily read a chapter when I have some downtime. If you are reading on a Kindle this is particularly easy because you can sync the position in your books between devices.

Conclusion

If you want to read more books make sure you can read anytime anywhere by using an e-reader. Stop mindless activities such as reading the news and put some books on your mobile phone. All these little things will add up and set you on your way to read 52 books a year, just like me.

Do you have any good tips on how to read more? Or do you have any questions about my reading habits? Let me know in the comments.
 

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