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…without even trying.
I was a voracious reader as a kid. I read everything I could get my hands on, from encyclopedias to Aesop’s Fables, to books on learning Greek.
Yup, I tried to teach myself Greek when I was 10.
My reading habit slowed and died off in my 20s, but I went through another renaissance of reading when I hit my early 30’s.
Truth be told I actually spent three whole years of my life reading, training in martial arts, and partying – in that order. I had passive income from the Internet. They rank as the best years of my life so far – I truly enjoyed just being instead of constantly doing.
But then somewhere along the line I lost my reading habit again.
I struggled to complete even a handful of books per year, even though I genuinely still loved reading.
And then about 18 months ago I figured out what was wrong.
You’re going to kick yourself when you realize how simple reading dozens of books per year actually is.
I made one single decision that resulted in me reading 40 books last year.
And even 40 books is a fairly conservative goal to set for yourself.
50+ books per year is entirely possible – my target for this year is at least 50 books.
So anyways, what’s my secret?
Did I discover some speed reading secret that allows me to absorb books by touching them?
Or maybe I hacked my lifestyle or created some creative reading habit?
Or did I just cheat my arse off and read short books?
The answer is “None of the above”.
Here’s what I did.
I removed all social media apps and games from my smartphone.
So now instead of wasting my time idly scrolling through Facebook, I read a few pages of a book.
And when I go grocery shopping, or walking my dog, I get in at least one chapter of an audiobook.
No, I don’t listen at double speed.
I just stick on my Bluetooth headphones and pick up from where I left off the previous day.
Note: Currently listening to “Can’t Hurt Me” by David Goggins – wholeheartedly recommend it!
But I also read a few pages of a book each night before I go to sleep.
The only real rule I have is that I try to avoid reading non-fiction before bed – my wind isn’t wired for remembering real-world data from books the following day i.e. I forget most of what I read.
And that’s it – that’s the whole secret reading system.
Repurposing Your Time
I didn’t need to put aside “reading time” or create some fixed reading schedule.
I just repurposed my time away from social media nonsense and used that same time to educate myself, or catch up on entertaining books I’ve always wanted to read.
Because, let’s face facts, social media adds nothing of value to your life.
It’s an unhealthy addiction that never ends.
A complete time suck that benefits you in no way at all.
I love memes and inspirational animal rescue stories as much as the next guy. I get all choked up reading some of them.
But all that stuff does is appeal to my emotions to keep me scrolling and tapping like an idiot.
I should know because I was one of those idiots who’d spend his evenings arguing with people on social media. Then I’d wake up, play a mobile game for 15 – 20 minutes, and start arguing all over again.
Then I’d follow that with an unknown amount of time on Facebook during the day, including while I was at work. You’ve probably developed a similar pattern – most people have.
But those days are far behind me, and I’ll never go back.
People bitch and moan about their not being enough hours in the day to get everything done. But they’ll happily spend hours each day on social media.
Yet they “…just can’t find the time” to read or listen to a book.
Well, I call bullshit on that because that’s the excuse I used too.
But…but social media..
Does that mean I quit social media completely?
No, but I only use it while on a desktop computer, and once I log off for the evening, I mentally and physically walk away.
Now instead of people getting a reply from me minutes after posting something, it’s at least 12 hours before I’ll even look at my Facebook account.
Sometimes 14 hours.
You know what 14 hours without Facebook feels like?
I’d recommend that you try it for a week or two and see how you feel.
But apart from that, remove all the social media apps from your phone, install the Kindle apps and consider getting an Audible account.
You can thank me at the end of this year when you’ve read 40 books without even trying.