I have always enjoyed reading, I have just never been disciplined.
When you attend college you are assigned a lot of reading. To be honest, there is no way someone could read all of that. Much less retain it and store it in their long term memory.
College learning is like learning in a bubble. You are told which books to buy, which chapters to read, and which concepts to learn so you can pass a test.
But once I started my first 9-5 I quickly realized that only a few of those books would help me grow as a person and a professional.
I took a couple years off from reading, and spent that time improving my tacit knowledge of business and life.
But then a funny thing happened
I was told my current knowledge would only get me so far, and in order to really grow and be consider a serious professional, I need to do A LOT more reading.
At first, I took the suggestion as a negative.
My first reaction was, “you’re telling me I am not smart enough?”
But after some self reflection I realized what he was really saying was, there are smart people out there, who have this stuff figured out, take advantage of that. Read their work, make up your opinion and use their frameworks and theories as tools in your tool belt.
Time to start reading again
The first challenged I faced was trying to decide which business and leadership books to read.
My goal was to read the “classics” or the books that are regarded as the best business books that everyone should read.
After some researched I started buying books by John C. Maxwell, Dale Carnegie, and Robert Cialdini. I mixed in a few books from authors who I admire for what they have accomplished. Authors like Peter Thiel, Daniel Pink, and the list goes on.
Side note: you can view all the books I have recently read here.
Unless you are incredibly disciplined, it’s really hard to sit down and just start reading books.
Time to form a new habit
If you go online and look for the best ways to get disciplined and start reading books you will find plenty of listicles with advice.
But that advice isn’t always the best.
In fact, I found it all super lame and unimaginative.
Like really, in order to read more I just need to find time to read. Duh.
I tried, and failed many times to have a simple routine that would force me to read.
But I finally found a winning combination.
Here are some tips to ensure you read every day and are able to get through a book a month
Some helpful tips include:
- Find the best time of day to read, for me it’s the morning when my brain is receptive to new information. Night time reading makes me sleepy.
- Read in the same place every day. Ideally it’s not in front of a computer or T.V. because those are distracting and you probably have the habit of zoning out when you are in front of them.
- Ditch your phone, leave it plugged in somewhere. Or throw it in the middle of the room when you read.
- Set a timer. This works great for me. I use to try and read a certain number of pages, but I would focus too much on which page I was on and get side tracked from the reading. Now I set a 30 minute timer and just read.
- Use your daily apps to keep you going. I have a reminder in my Google Calendar that reminds me to read for 30 minutes every day. This is the first thing I see when I wake up.
- Write notes somewhere as you read. I suck at remembering things the day after I read. Take notes, you will thank yourself later.
- If you aren’t digging the book. Leave it alone, read another one. Come back to it later, or not. Read for pleasure not because you think you need to.
- Read multiple books at once. You’d be surprised how many connections they have.
Hopefully some of those tips help you find a pattern to form a good habit.
It took me about 2 months but after that I was hooked. I loved to read and accomplish a goal.
If you want to check out which books I have read recently and which are on my list, go here.
Do you have a better way of developing a good habit? Let me know. I love hearing how others have growth hacked themselves.