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Prioritize Reading. Part 2:

Updated: Jan 17

Today we are only going to talk about the next five methods of increasing your reading volume.  Maybe we will slip in some bonus material at the end!


TLDR Version: (Still… just such a cringe worthy phrase.)

1)      Join a Book Club: Being part of a book club can provide motivation, accountability, and a sense of community. Discussing books with others can enhance your reading experience and make it more enjoyable.

2)      Use Audiobooks or Podcasts: If finding time to sit down with a physical book is challenging, consider listening to audiobooks during activities like commuting, exercising, or doing household chores.

3)      Limit Screen Time Before Bed: Reduce your exposure to screens (phone, TV, computer) at least an hour before bedtime. Instead, use that time to read, as it can also improve your sleep quality.

4)      Prioritize Reading Over Multitasking: When you have dedicated reading time, try to focus solely on the book rather than multitasking. This will help you absorb the material more effectively.

5)      Choose Books Wisely: Pick books that genuinely interest you. If you're excited about the content, you're more likely to make time for reading. Don't be afraid to explore different genres to find what captivates you the most

 

Now, with content.

1)                  Join a Book Club:

Some of what it means to be a reader, or be an XYZ, whatever moniker you want to assign is to belong to that group by means of time. If I call myself a writer but I do not write, I am not a writer. I am a person who wants to be a writer. If I call myself a reader but I do not read, I am only a person who wants to be a reader.

Just like bowling leagues of old, and baseball pick up teams, basketball teams, or mountain climbing groups, skiing groups or any other activity we engage in, reading can be a group activity. Making it into a group activity will do a few things. First you have guaranteed mutual interest. Guaranteed interest means someone to talk to about the book, your feelings about it, and someone to indirectly hold you accountable for reading it.

You also have a time in which you are at a place to do a thing. You are going to be reading a piece over a fixed time with possible meetings weekly, bi weekly or monthly where you are expected to have found the time. Just like many actions in our lives, when we are required to find the time, we do.

Book clubs can also guide our reading to what to grab off the shelf next, which is not always easy and takes time of its own.

Finally, there is the ineffable quality, that humans simply are social creatures, and belonging to a group matters.

 

2)                  Use Audiobooks or Podcasts:

I have talked on this channel before about the use of audiobooks. Some people find that this is not reading, but I lean in the direction that it is. It is not my favorite means of book consumption, and I do not retain books as well, but that is not true for everyone. Audio books if we are truly busy give us the advantage of multitasking. Specifically on the way to or from work we will be able to listen to books we otherwise could not read.

My wife listens to hordes of books during her exercise routines each week, getting through almost 2 a week just during that time frame. (She’s buff.)

Don’t downplay the use of audiobooks, which can be on your phone with you anywhere at any time.

3)                  Limit Screen Time Before Bed:

Sleep, and our ability to do it well, is biologically tied to the activities we do before bed. Smartphones, tablets, computers, television screens, and some e-readers give off short-wavelength blue light that is very similar to sunlight. Not only does this light make people more alert, it also deceives the body into thinking it is still daytime.

In response, the body produces less melatonin, interfering with the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. The longer you spend on your screen, the greater the impact on your sleep.

If you were to swap out the last 30 minutes of any given day with reading instead of screen time, or cell phone time, not only will you sleep better, increasing your energy throughout the day you will also be making time for reading.

In a related study, not only did reading before bed reduce screen time and improve sleep, reading regardless of the time of day, improved sleep.

So shut down your cell phone, and hit the books!

 

4)                  Prioritize Reading Over Multitasking:

If you have the time, read in a dedicated manner. One of the pleasures of reading is that we hear a story and we are transported to somewhere else, or we learn something we couldn’t otherwise learn. However, if we lose the ability to read in a manner which gives us these gifts, or can’t make the time for it, we are reading without most of the benefits.

Multitasking reduces retention of the story and the data we are trying to gather, so consider dedicated time for your reading as a priority. Unless you have no choice, then, see item 2!

 

5)                  Choose Books Wisely:

Similar to item 4 above, careful selection of the books we read is very important. We sat down to read because we wanted something from it. To learn, to expand. If we don’t pick books which match that goal, we have detoured from the SMART goals we talked about last week.

Make sure you are selecting materials that come from your reasons for reading in the first place.

 

BONUS.

We behave in the manner which is most normal for our local group. We pick up on social cues and the behaviors of people around us. If we surround ourselves with people who value TV over reading, we will too. If we surround ourselves with readers, we will value reading more. Talk to people about reading to spread reading as a normal, entertaining and healthy way to spend your time. It might just come full circle for you.

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