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How Do You Read So Much? 15 Tips From A Dedicated Booknerd

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How Do You Read So Much? 15 Tips From A Dedicated Booknerd

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I do a lot of reading – and am often asked about it. Today’s post shares 15 ways you can bring more reading into your work and life!

I’ll admit it: If I walk by you and your friend and overhear you talking about books, I will probably insert myself into your conversation.

If you’re reading a book across the aisle and five rows ahead of me on an airplane, I will strain awkwardly to see what you’re reading — then likely head up to ask you about it.

I have literally cried upon hearing stories of children without books, book burnings, and the closing of small-town libraries.

Yes, I am a booknerd.

In a typical year, I’ll read 60-80 books — mostly nonfiction, but a pretty eclectic mix overall. I’m often asked, especially when I’m posting books on Facebook and Instagram, “How do you read so much? Where do you find the time?”

I’ve never taken a speed-reading course, though I do think we become faster readers with practice, much like your tenth time running a mile will likely be faster than your first. And while I don’t have any super-sneaky tricks, you might find the following helpful:

1. Strategically plant reading material. Keep books in various places around the house. Keep one in your handbag. Keep magazines or a file of articles in your car. Have readables ready for unexpected free moments.

2. Blend reading with another goal. Sometimes I’ll get an audiobook, then only allow myself to listen when I’m on the treadmill. If the book is engaging enough, I will walk or run a lot longer than usual — win-win!

3. Forego TV. Very little on TV keeps my attention anymore (in fact, I couldn’t even tell you how to turn ours on). You don’t have to give up TV or other entertainment completely, but consciously choose your programs and the time you’ll spend watching.

4. Join or start a book club. At one point, I was actually in four book clubs simultaneously: a neighborhood one, a professional one, a church one, and a parenting one. While sometimes a bit confusing (“Oh, we’re discussing Mindset, not Kristin Hannah’s latest?”), all filled important roles and kept me on top of my reading game.

5. Follow readers on social media. You might think I read a lot, but I’ve got nothing on some of the Instagram accounts I follow. Search hashtags like #bookstagram or #booknerd and you’ll find all kinds of inspiration (not to mention add tremendously to your must-read list!).

6. Take advantage of small gifts of time. I will often sneak in a few pages as I’m stirring the soup I’m cooking for dinner or while waiting for one of my kids to finish sports practice. While I prefer a cozy, dedicated “reading session” (see #15), a few pages here and there add up over time.

7. Go on vacation. I read like a fiend when we recently spent a week on the Florida beach! Bring a few books along or pre-load them on your e-reader and let them become part of your relaxation or adventure plan.

8. Commit to sharing what you read. I write a monthly column on leadership books for our local business journal, and honoring that commitment keeps me reading. Even posting your current read on social media can start up a lively conversation and will often lead to more recommendations.

9. Prioritize reading. Even when my three children were babies, I read every day. Sometimes I only made it through a paragraph before I was snoring, but reading still made an appearance. If you decide something is important enough, you’ll more likely create time for it.

10. Take a digital detox. Whether for a period of days, one day a week, every day after 6pm, or some other schedule, power down all electronics regularly. You might be surprised how much time and energy this frees up.

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11. Let go of random requirements. For some reason, up until just a few years ago, I felt like if I started a book I had to finish it. I’m still not sure where that ‘rule’ came from, but now if a book clearly isn’t for me, I close it up and send it off – no matter how far I’ve read.

12. Support a culture of reading. Since beginning my coaching company thirteen years ago, we’ve consistently donated money to literacy organizations, hosted book drives for local shelters, contributed to Little Free Libraries, and spread the love of reading in many other ways. That saying that love multiplies when shared? True when books are involved, too.

13. Go on book outings. When my kids were younger, we made story time at our local libraries and bookstores part of our weekly routine. You can do this by yourself as an adult, too. There’s something magical about reading while surrounded by books and other readers.

14. Choose to be a reader. I’ve found the path of an adult booknerd usually begins in one of two ways: 1) falling madly in love with a series (how many people got back into reading because of Harry Potter?), or 2) deciding, intentionally, to invite books into your life regularly. Make “reader” part of your personality, and wear the title with pride.

15. Savor the ceremony. Pour a cup of tea, curl up by the fireplace, and treasure the turning of the page. Or grab your book, walk to a coffee shop, order a latte, and enjoy a peaceful hour on a Saturday morning. Or head to the back porch or hammock and let the sun serve as your book light. Relish the reading experience.

I should forewarn you, you might experience some drawbacks to your reading obsession, too. For example, if someone starts talking about the latest episode of basically any popular TV show, you may only be able to nod and smile. You may spend more money on coffee than most, due to late nights with new releases (I credit the brilliant Jodi Picoult for much of my lost sleep!). And sometimes, I’ve learned, people on airplanes just want to read their books in peace.

But the benefits far outweigh any risks. Reading allows you to contribute meaningfully to conversations that can lead to powerful decisions and actions. A thought-provoking book can bring communities together, advance our understanding of others, and provide for growth. Books can change moods, change lives, and change the world.

So whether it’s five minutes a day or five books a week, keep reading! Your fellow booknerds are cheering you on.

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