If you’re an ambitious, goal-oriented person, it’s possible that one of your New Year’s resolutions was to read more books. Books are the gateway to imagination, to worlds we may not be able to access physically, but can emotionally. Books help us to expand what we’re capable of being and experiencing. Based on the math, which I’ll explain below, I’ll likely have read 100 books this year. In order to be a prolific writer, I have to be a voracious reader.
I’ve said before that calendars are more effective than to do lists. If you want to read more, schedule it on your calendar. The Google calendar app even has a goals feature that can help you to do this. Start by scheduling 10 mins a day. Then work your way up to 30 mins, and an hour. As you do this you’ll build your deep work muscle, which in turn will help you sustain the attention needed to read more books.
The principle of activation energy says that the more energy it takes to do something the less likely you are to do it, and the less energy it takes to do it, the more likely you are to do it. You can leverage this by putting books in places that they’ll be easily accessible and you’ll see them.
- Put a book on your desk or breakfast table the night before and you’ll be more likely to read it in the morning.
- If you want to read before you go to bed, put a book on your nightstand.
Reduce the activation energy it takes to read a book, and you’ll be more likely to read.
This is something I learned in an article written by Ryan Holiday. There are plenty of times in our lives when we’re idly waiting (doctor’s offices, the DMV, waiting to board a flight etc, etc). Instead of spending that time on your phone, use it to read a book.
If you read 50 pages a day, that’s 350 pages a week. It’s roughly the equivalent of two books. Multiply that times 52 weeks in a year, and you’ve read 100 books. How you read those 50 pages is really up to you. You can spend an hour reading. Or you can schedule 5 10 minute sessions a day and read 10 pages during that time.
Some books are dense, long and difficult reads. When Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography was released, I knew I wanted to read it. So I decided to listen to the audiobook on a 3-day road trip across the country. The great thing about audiobooks is that you can listen to them while you’re driving, in the gym, or even going on a run.
Combine all of these ideas together, and the idea of reading 100 books in a year won’t seem like such a daunting task. Take it one day at a time. You might not reach 100 books, but you’ll end up doing quite a bit of reading.
If doing the best work of your life is important to you, you’ll love my free guide: “Optimizing Productivity & Creativity.”
The tactics I’ve packed into this guide allowed me to write over 1 million words in the last 2 years. What could it do for your life’s work? Don’t miss it.