I get asked fairly frequently about how I read as much as I do. I’ll read about 60 books this year (which isn’t going to break any records by the way).
Here’s a few things that I share about what helps me read:
1. I like to read – if you hate reading, there’s no cure that I know of. I used to not like reading, but I was so hungry to learn, I got over it and dove into books.
2. Bring a book everywhere with you – People have tons of time that get wasted (waiting for someone, late appointment, etc…). If you bring a book, use the time to get into it.
3. Give yourself “reading time” every day – I read for 30 minutes every day. Just like I schedule exercise into my daily routine, I schedule reading in as well. If it’s not scheduled, it probably won’t happen.
4. Read while you’re watching TV – Believe it or not, Monday Night Football can be watched with a book in hand. I rarely watch a sporting event without a book in hand. Your brain can handle both activities.
5. Set goals – I try to read 2-3 chapters a day in the books I read. Most books have 10-12 chapters, so I set a goal to finish a book in 4-5 days. It usually works out.
6. Read with a pen in hand – I underline, circle, star, put question marks, and write in all my books. On the inside cover, I write my favorite quotes (so when I go back to the book looking for a quote, I don’t have to fish through a 200 page book. I just open the inside cover). Writing it out also helps me memorize the quote.
7. Get into a rhythm – I try to find the author’s rhythm in the book. That helps me read faster. That’s also why I don’t like reading 5 books at once. It’s very difficult for me to find the rhythm of 5 authors at the same time. Plus, men are conquerers. We want to finish the books we read and move on. Reading 10 pages in 5 different books doesn’t give guys a sense of accomplishment.
8. Skip irrelevant sections – I rarely do this (I need to do this more), but when a books starts going overboard with stories, I skip the section and more on. If a chapter is lame, move on. Most people get stuck in their reading because they hit a dry spot in the book and don’t feel the freedom to skip it.
9. If a genre is working, stick with it – Most people say you need to be balanced in your reading. I agree. But be balanced over the long haul, not week to week. If ministry books are rockin’ you, then keep going with it! If business books are challenging you, read them. If romance novels…let’s not go there 🙂 The point is, sometimes based on where we are in life, there’s a certain author or genre that’s connecting with us. So read that until you want to move on. I’ve gone through periods where all I’ve wanted to read are commentaries, theology, ministry, or leadership books. So I do until I usually read a lame book,s then I move on to something else.
10. Keep a log of what you read – I have an excel spreadsheet that list every book I’ve read for that given year. It says the book’s name, author, number of pages, genre, date I started, and date I finished. This helps me see where I’ve been this year and if I want to add more of a certain type of book in to my reading diet.