“That seems like a lot of reading… how do you do it?”
This question was brought to the front of my mind once again thanks to a discussion on Twitter where I revealed I’ve read 67 books so far in 2012.[1. It should be noted that one of those books is actually three books, and another book I’m reading with my daughter is a collection of seven individual ones. So that number might actually be higher.]
Apparently this is a lot.
As readers here know, I read a lot, and although I have my moments when I wonder whether or not books can become a burden, the more I have to read the better. But reading 10, 20, 50 or 100+ books a year doesn’t just happen.
It takes planning.
Because I have a lot going on in life (family, work, writing, study, etc.), it can be a bit daunting to add new things to my plate—in order to do something, I usually have to stop doing something else. And it all requires a plan.
So what’s mine? It’s actually pretty simple:
I try to set aside at least 30-45 minutes a day to read.
The average person reads between 250 words per minute, which works out to roughly 3/4-1 page each minute. In general, I find that I’m pretty average in this regard. Some books I whip through much faster, others I really carefully take my time with. Increasingly I’m trying to vary content so I don’t start skimming unnecessarily. I’ll jump from a book on business to one on theology to a classic work of fiction and so on.
But just like my personal study time, my reading time is one of the few chunks of time I try to guard. For me, this time is immensely helpful for my mental, emotional and spiritual health (not surprising since I’m an introvert).
It’s part of the culture of our home as well, a habit we’re trying to encourage in our children as well. Currently my oldest daughter and I are working through The Chronicles of Narnia series and every night, she keeps asking what’s going to happen next. That’s something I want to encourage and keep her going with.
So we plan to do it.
And if you want to read more, you need to plan to do it, too.
So, here’s my challenge for you (and it’s one I’ve issued in the past):
Set aside 30 minutes every day for the next week and read… well, read whatever will be beneficial for you. 30 minutes a day isn’t a lot of time and you’ll wind up reading a roughly 200 page book in about a week.
How do you do it? Here are three ways you can carve out 30 minutes:
- Cut out 30 minutes of TV a day
- Look for “dead space” in your schedule; you’ve probably got at least one hour a day that could be used
- Read with a friend or with a group (something Tim Challies does a great job of facilitating on his blog)
The point is this: However, you set up your day, plan to read, otherwise you won’t do it. Guard your time, otherwise you won’t do it.
Take up the challenge. Make a plan and get reading.