Sometimes I buy books for others to help with self-development efforts, explore new horizons or as a reward. When I check a few weeks later on whether they found the reading useful or interesting, I often hear “I haven’t had time yet”. If I check a month or two later, I’d usually get the same “I haven’t had time yet”.
I find it frustrating; not for me but for them to miss out on those opportunities! I too have a “busy” life – I hate that term – yet I manage to find time for reading books. So how do I do it?
Here are 3 tips to develop your reading skills.
#1: How do I Find Time to Read?
Before you can read more, you’re going to have to start reading! If you aren’t making the time to read, you are not alone: some 80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year, (Source: Jerold Jenkins, ); in the UK, despite increase of book sales in recent years, if you are between16 and 24, government statistics say that 50% haven’t read a single book in the last 12 months.
So how do you make time? Easy; if it’s a priority, you’ve got to schedule it!
- Schedule your reading time: before you do anything else, schedule 30min, 1h or however long you want to read; daily! If you were to review my “schedule”, you’d find some time blocked for reading in the morning and in the evening, daily.
- Maximise your Commuting time: for those of us commuting to work, it is a perfect opportunity, use that time.
- Rewind the ticking clock!: You won’t be able to add time to your “busy” schedule. A far more effective strategy is to cut back where possible to find more time for reading: Turn off the TV! limit yourself to no more than 1hour a day if you must watch TV; When reading a book, simply stop reading it if you don’t like it!
#2: How Can I Read Effectively?
Now you have allocated some time to reading, you’ll need to make the most of it with these few tips!
- Never run out: Running out of reading materials is both frustrating and inefficient!
- Keep a list of what you must read: I always have a long list of books and articles to read. Whenever I come across references to those or authors, I make a note of it so I’m never out of materials to read or left wondering what to buy next. – Find out more about my @Read/Review “context” – If you are short of ideas of what to read, review my Recommended Bedtime reading!
- Make the most of technology: I always used to have a big bag for my daily commute to work and going on a business trip required an even larger one, simply to carry several books. Now we have e-readers and book delivery in less than 60 seconds, I always have a long list of books ready to be read in my pocket or even on my mobile phone!
- Select different formats for maximum efficiency: While some people are advising not to read any newspapers; I’m quite the opposite and prefer to read as many newspaper, blogs and magazines as possible; I find it useful to develop general knowledge, specialist topics and even prepare myself for conversations!By format I also mean making the most of e-readers: having newspaper delivered to your e-reader is both time efficient and helps you focus on reading the relevant articles only.
- Read right content in the right context: Different content requires different attention and focus; so when scheduling your reading time you need to think about that: I find that on the train I can read a book but on the short Underground hops, it is better suited to Newspaper or short articles.
- Focus on your reading: if reading is a priority, like any other priorities, you have to focus on it. Multi-Tasking is for computers, not for humans! So if you want to use those in-ear speakers, instead of listening to music, use them for surrounding noise cancellation so you can better focus on your reading!
#3: How can I Read Faster?
Have you ever thought about how many times a day you read something? It is one of the skill we used the most each day, yet it is one very few people try to improve beyond the age of 6! How much time do you think you’d claim back if you read quicker? How much more knowledge and information would you digest?
If you want to save time and learn more, you’ll first need to learn about speed-reading techniques. Brendan Jarvis did a great summary of the 7 speed reading techniques, give it a try now and over the next 2 or 3 days you’ll most likely double your reading speed!