Leaders are readers. I read a lot, but I don’t read enough books. I’m on a mission to become a better, more prolific reader. Here are some things that I’ve found helpful lately.
1. Read in a group
I recently finished taking part in a pastors’ coaching cohort with author and former pastor Jared Wilson. Several of us in the cohort are reading Jared’s latest book. The fact that we’re reading it together and sharing some insights has helped to motivate me to continue reading.
I’ve never given audiobooks a serious try until now. I took the bait and signed up for Audible.com’s free trial, ordering James Clear‘s book Atomic Habits.
It’s been amazing. When I’m working with my hands I sometimes like to listen to recorded speeches on YouTube, TED talks, or podcasts, so audio books were a natural fit to move into.
I wish I hadn’t have overlooked this for so long. I think I’ve been turned away by having to pay for the audiobook separately from the written book, but it’s a small price to pay to be able to more quickly and easily digest the information. More audiobooks in my future, I think.
3. Tiny goal to develop the habit
This idea came from James Clear. And it’s very powerful. The concept is that you have to make a habit super easy to get started. So, instead of saying, “I’m going to read 20 books this year,” you say, “I’m going to read two minutes every day no matter what.” Reading two minutes is easy. And it gets me started and I start wanting to read more. I can’t say I’ve been very consistent with this one yet, but I do like the concept and it has been helpful. (This is an update on my earlier attempt at this which was 10 minutes per day.)
I definitely can tell that when I get started on a book, I start to enjoy it more than I thought I would and it makes me want to read it more. Getting started is the hard part.
4. Quickly put down a book if I’m not enjoying it
I used to feel like I needed to slog through a book even if I wasn’t enjoying it, just to finish what I started. But life is short. And the reality is that there’s no way I’ll be able to read all the books I would like to read in my lifetime. So if I’m not enjoying a book, I put it down and start another one. Austin Kleon lists this as a good strategy and I see the wisdom in it.
I have a long ways to go to build the habit of reading books. But I’m getting better.
What reading habits do you have that help you read books?