Can I be honest with you? I used to find reading synonymous with studying for the exam. And if you’re like me, you hate exams! In my early 20s, the thought of me sitting still, holding a paperback, interpreting endless lines of text steered me away from developing the so-called number one habit I can develop.
I am in my mid 20s now. And I still find books to be boring, to say the least. That said, I am making reading a bit more fun, accessible and more important, sustainable. I read more books in the past few months than I did in the years that preceded. My goal is to close 100 books by the end of 2019.
Here are the 5 techniques that are putting me on track. And hopefully that helps you a bit.
1. I indulge in audiobooks
Reading a book is just a means to an end. Listening to audiobooks can take you to the same destination through a different road. Who knows in this road, the road less traveled, you might find yourself absorbing wisdom while commuting to your work, hitting the gym or even walking your dog.
I know people cannot effectively multitask. But when we are following routines, we’re effectively putting our brains on auto-pilot, leaving ourselves some rooms for processing power.
2. I connect with the author
It’s interesting when I get to know the author at a deeper level, I find his or her work much more relatable. It’s like I’m putting myself in their shoes and seeing the world through their eyes even before I begin. With this, I always try to look up a short Youtube video of the author as part of my pre-reading ritual.
3. I summarize what I read
Nine out of ten times, I read for knowledge. Like most people, I find retaining information more difficult than absorbing it in the first place. I can speak from my experience that after a few-week time I’m lucky if I retain 10% of the information I absorbed. Luckily, I found some solutions.
Studies suggest if you quiz yourself after learning something, say finished a book or completed a lecture, your chances of retaining information will skyrocket. So try summarizing every book you read, and in the process reflect yourself on the key takeaways and actionable ideas.
4. I develop a reading list
A reading list not only gives you a sense of progress also a set of clear milestones on your journey. Moreover, for your goals to not become fuzzy over time, you need to shape the path in advance and plan for what lies ahead. At times, the list can be pretty daunting (especially when you’re merely starting) but trust me, you’ll stay on track better that way.
5. I listen at 1.2 – 1.5x
Chances are if you can speed read, you can speed listen too. I can attest to this. You don’t have to listen to audiobooks at the normal speed. In fact, you’ll find it rather slow and boring once you get the hang of it. To spice things up and try listening at a faster pace. Of course, try not to go overboard with this, or you’ll start missing the substance. Find the sweet spot, for me it’s around 1.2 – 1.5x, and stick with it.