“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.” -Groucho Marx

You’re already setting goals and deciding what you’re going to accomplish? Great! What better way to start the year…

We all want to be reading more, but it’s hard to find the time.

Reading is one of the main ways we grow and learn.

If you want to get better at something, read about it. But you know that.

The problem is that it’s hard to find the time to actually do it.

Here are the first 6 strategies to read more books this year than most people read in their entire life…

A Quick Note on Speed Reading

Let’s start by addressing the topic of speed reading. Speed reading is real and it’s not magic.

Speed reading is about techniques that you can use to read more books in less time. That’s it. Simple practices that you…practice, and get better at.

Before we continue, here are a few hands-on, practical speed reading tips that has worked well for me:

  1. Use a place marker, such as your finger or a piece of paper. If you always keep your place, you won’t have to spend the time finding it when you get distracted.
  2. Practice reading by reading text slightly faster than you can comprehend. You won’t obtain the knowledge, but you will learn to eliminate sub-vocalization (the act of saying the words in your head as you read them).
  3. Read and keep reading. The best way to get better and faster at reading is to just do it. You will enlarge your vocabulary and you will get more comfotable with the act of reading.

Recommended Book: Speed Reading For Beginners: Learn How To Read 300% Faster in Less Than 24 Hours

If you view speed reading as simple techniques to read more books in less time, then all of these things are speed reading exercises. Now let’s get started…

1. Make it Natural

Reading should be natural. Habitual, actually.

You don’t have to find time to eat or sleep. Reading should be no different.

If you truly believe in the value of reading, make it part of your routine.

Americans watch TV an average of 5 hours everyday. Now that’s habitual.

how to read more books

What’s going to make a difference in your life, reading or watching TV?

2. Prepare to Read

All books are not created equal. Some deserve more time than others.

Always take a few minutes to get a feel for the book your about to dive into.

In the book “How to Read a Book“, Mortimer Adler recommends picking up any new book you want to read and doing the following:

  • Skim through the entire book
  • Read through the table of contents
  • Read the summary on the back of the book

Some books should be read word by word. Others may just require a quick run-through.

Look for chapters than you will quickly look over and others that you will spend more time on.

Some chapters can be skipped entirely.

3. Block Out Time

Plan, plan again and have contingency plans.

Reading must be scheduled into each day or it’s likely not going to happen.

Block out time (preferably the same time each day) to read a certain amount of pages.

Have a plan set in place for when you’re not able to read at your normal time. Even if it’s just five minutes. It’s better than not reading.

Related: How to Create Good Habits (And Stick With Them)

4. Find Your Format

I love the ritual of picking up a book, sitting in my chair with a cup of coffee beside me and peacefully reading.

I also love the convenience of listening to audiobooks while I’m running or driving.

You may love your Kindle or reading books on your computer.

read with kindle

Find what works for you and use all means necessary. Whether you’re reading a physical book, reading on a device or listening, you’re getting the content and that’s what matters.

5. Be a Non-Finisher

This may be the best way to read more books.

Remember what I said about all books not being equal? Some books shouldn’t even be finished.

I’m not just talking about books that suck. I’m also talking about books that you should only read certain parts of.

There are too many books published to think you have to read every page of every book. It won’t happen.

Don’t be O.C.D. about it. If you’ve read all that you cared to read from a book, let it go.

6. Follow a Plan

Reading a lot of books means you will need a long “to-read” list.

Keep a journal, an app or the notes section of your phone with you at all times. There are always new books popping up.

Be prepared before it’s time to pick a new book. You should always know the next book you’re going to read.

Related: 6 Steps to Create Your Self-Development Blueprint

The Next 6 Steps

Don’t miss the next 6 steps, right here in part 2.

Photo Credit: UnSplash, Mohammad, Adam

Statistics: Television Watching