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.
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 finish even a handful of books per year, even though I genuinely 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 – actually 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 ass 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 social networks, 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 – I 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 mind 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” I used to polish off 40 books in a year.
Repurposing Your Time
As you can see, I didn’t need to put aside “reading time” or create some fixed reading schedule.
I just repurposed my time away from social media 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.
People 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 BS on that because that’s the excuse I used too.
So, remove all social media apps from your phone, install the Kindle app 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.