Ask someone when the last time they read a book was. Most people will give you a deer in the headlights look, trying to dig through their mind to think deeply about when this was. For a lot of people, it may go all the way back to college.
The reason most people fail to find time to read every day little falls into three different categories:
- They’re preoccupied with modern forms of stimulation (e.g. Smartphones, TV, social media), and have no interest in worldly wisdom.
- They haven’t found any good books to read.
- They’re just “too busy”.
The first group of people I can’t help. Not only do they have no desire to read, but even if you handed them a fantastic book they’ve warped their minds too much in order to be able to get enjoyment from reading.
The second reason is the point of this site: For myself and others to read great books and pass on these recommendations to readers of this site.
The third is what I want to tackle today.
The ‘Busy Trap’
How often do you hear people say ‘I’m too busy’. I’ve said it, we’ve all said it.
And it’s true, all of us have times that we have way too much on our plate to focus on anything else. That said, when someone is perpetually busy, especially someone with nothing beyond a 9-5 job or a few classes, it may be time to evaluate their daily schedule. In fact, these same people who are always busy are the same people who spend 3 hours a night watching Netflix.
The way I look at it being too busy to do something is the adult version of saying you don’t want to do something. This is why a lot of people never read because they’re just ‘too busy’.
The reality is that few people are too busy to spend at least 20-30 minutes a day reading. The average person watches 4 hours of TV a day, so there’s definitely a way to fit in some time to read.
But maybe you have a better reason.
Maybe you have a newborn child that is always in need of attention.
Maybe you work two jobs coming out at around 80 hours a week.
Reading is definitely not a priority compared to family and money. However, it is one of the most integral habits a man can ingrain in his life which is why I stress it so highly.
So if you really want to know ways to fit reading into your life, then here are a few suggestions:
Find a Great Book
A lot of people start out by reading a classic novel or some generic self-help book. Although some of these books are treated as gospel, most people will not enjoy them.
If you find yourself not reading consistently, then pick a book on a subject you will genuinely enjoy. Read the Harry Potter series if you want.
Once you find a good book you’re going to stick with it. You’re going to make time every day just so you can read. Then when you finish the book you’re going to want to read another one just like it. Within a few weeks you’ll have solidified this habit of reading and that’s when you can’t start reading more dense, complex books. Check out the archives for recommendations.
Read on your Lunch Break
When I used to work a retail job, I’d have 30 minutes for lunch. It only took me 10-15 minutes to actually eat so I had the rest of the time to kill. My coworkers would inevitably use that time to mindlessly stare into their smartphones or listen to music. Me, I brought my Kindle and could choose from a plethora of books to read.
On that note…
Embrace Technology (Kindle, E-reader apps)
Although technology is often wasted on dumbing people down, there are still many ways it brings people up. For example, I have a Kindle Paperwhite that I can easily carry around anywhere I go without it being cumbersome.
If you don’t feel like shelling out money for a Kindle, then consider getting apps for your phone, tablet, or computer. Here are two reviews of such apps.
Carry Around a Paperback
Completely contradicting what I just wrote, another good option is carrying around a paperback at all times. Having a paperback, as opposed to a Kindle, is a lot more burdensome, but that’s exactly the point. If you force yourself to lug a book around everywhere you go, inevitably you’re going to have a few minutes of down time and at that point you can read the book.
Another great aspect of carrying around a book is that it often garners people’s attention, and it can help strike up a conversation.
The average person spends about 50 minutes commuting each day; that’s over 4 hours per week! Most people prefer to listen to talk radio or music, but this is a perfect time to listen to an Audiobook.
Audible is a program through Amazon that for around $15 a month, you can have access to a different audio book every month. It’s a great choice for someone always on the go, and is a surefire way to get you in touch with more books. Here are more of my thoughts on it.
(Click here to sign up for a free trial of Audible).
Read Before Bed
Although some people watch TV right before bed, I recommend turning off screens and most electronics 1-2 hours before going to bed. This gives you time to wind down and it tells your brain that it’s time to get to bed.
This gives you time to shun technology and embrace silence and the world around you. Plus, it’s a perfect time to read a book. I also recommend reading fiction before bed, as opposed to non-fiction, because it helps turn off the mind and relaxes you.
Putting it All Together
Don’t try and implement all these techniques at once. Pick one and go all out on it. Force yourself to do it every single day.
It can even be just 10 minutes to start—nearly everyone has 10 minutes to spare every day.
The best way to build a habit is not to think that you have to do something every day, but to think you can’t not do it. Essentially don’t look at reading as something that you need to instill into your life, rather look at reading as something that you can’t live without. It’s like eating, you can’t not eat and survive, right? Apply the same to the habits you want to instill and you will see tremendous results.
What are your tips and techniques for reading every day?
Share them below!