One of the most commented on aspects of my blog is my reading habit. For the past five years or so, I’ve been setting a goal to read 100 books a year, and handily breaking it each year without pushing myself — usually coming in around 115 or so. (See a look at the “top” 100 I read in 2011.)
In 2012, I decided to make it a real goal, in the sense that I wanted to strive for a number that seemed a bit higher than what would happen naturally.
So I upped the ante to 150, and so far I’m on track, having finished 75 by early June. For a look at why I think I’ve been reading more this year, see this article on how my Kindle has changed my reading habits.
(Note that in 2013 I went further — and I’m now up to 200 books a year!)
In this post, I want to break down the three-step strategy I use to read so much and why I’m able to accomplish what, to many, seems nuts given our busy lives.
1. I break down the big goal into baby steps.
To hit a big goal, you’ve got to baby-step it out. 150 books is just under 3 books a week, or, just under 13 books a month.
To a heavy reader like me, 3 books a week seems manageable. Especially with my Kindle and by listening to books via audiobook. Throw in a 7-book a week vacation or two, and I’ve got a good buffer.
2. I know how long my goal will take.
I know that I read about 200 words a minute, give or take. With business books this can be a bit slower given the highlighting and note-taking, and with fast-paced memoirs or the occasional novel (I don’t read many novels, but do love a good one) this is a bit quicker.
With an average book length of 50,000 words, I can read one book in a little over fours. That means, I need about 12 hours a week of reading to enjoy three books cover to cover.
3. I make the time.
Reading is my passion, and reading is my retreat, and throughout my life I have always looked (and found) time to read in my day. Honestly, I never did the math on how long it took me to read until I became curious about how many hours a week I really spent reading.
When I found out I was spending 12 hours a week reading books (1 hour and 45 minutes each day), I was surprised. It certainly doesn’t seem like that long, as I’m always saying I wish I had more (!) time to read. Moral of the story? If the time flies when you’re doing it, you’ll make the time.
Now, The Why.
Ultimately, I can read so much because I love reading.
Love in a heart-thumping, breath-catching way.
Whatever you love doing, and whatever you would do for free, is the thing that you will find time to do for 12 hours a week. Every week.
What pleasurable activity could you make time for 12 hours a week that would lead to a big year end goal (or momentary fun)? Or 6? Or 3?