“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” ― Harry S. Truman
Many conclusions can be drawn from the recent statistics on adults and reading. While many of those facts are important and deserve attention, there’s one particular nugget of truth that stands out.
“While 24% of U.S. adults surveyed in 2018 hadn’t read even part of book in the past year, the Pew Reseach Center investigated which ones were the most and least likely to pick up a book. The richest adults are three times more likely to read than those with a household income lower than $30k.”
Success leaves clues. This clue couldn’t be more visible.
The richest adults are THREE TIMES more likely to read.
Want to get ahead? Read more. Do you think you don’t have the time? You’re wrong. You do.
Here’s how to read a book a week without changing much about your daily routine. All it takes is a little scheduling, a list of publications, some number crunching, and possibly some regular bowels.
1. Keep A List Of Books You Want To Read
Most people spend their day working off a to-do list. Take time to compile a “to read” list and have the books either sitting in a pile near your desk or on your phone for the next time you’re at a bookstore or the library.
The critical word to underline (but don’t highlight it, you’re reading this on a screen for Christ’s sake) is WANT to read. Don’t waste time reading books that do nothing to advance you toward your goal.
You’re never going to finish a book that you don’t care about. This should be evident based on the number of unfinished books in your house that you stopped reading because you just didn’t care.
For example, countless book lists mention A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. It’s a fantastic book. I’m just assuming since I never read it because learning about the universe doesn’t help writing career in any way.
Also, I don’t give a crap about the universe.
In other words, even if Bill Gates names a book his favorite, that doesn’t mean it needs to be on your reading list.
Keep your own personal list. When you’re finished a book, have another ready to go.
Not being prepared will waste time, lead to procrastination, and you might never get back on the reading train.
2. Schedule A Dedicated Time Every Day
The importance of scheduling everything in your day – and not just reading but everything – is a crucial element for squeezing the most out of your time.
There are ways to schedule effectively and finding time for reading is just as important as training for that marathon or meeting a friend for beers.
**IMPORTANT** – Schedule reading time for your peak hours. These are the times of day when you’re the most productive.
If you’re super focused first thing in the morning, read. If you’re up all night, read. If you’re just not sure, check out this Medium article on the most and least productive hours of the day for the typical human.
3. Do The Math
Life is a numbers game.
If you want to get good at anything, the 10,000-hour rule applies, but you don’t need to budget half your day to sitting down to read.
According to reading specialist and memory guru, Jim Kwik, the median number of words per book on Amazon is approximately 64,000 words.
At this point, reading just becomes a numbers game.
Kwik explains on his “Kwik Brain” podcast:
“The average person reads about 200-250 words per minute it should take about 320 minutes to read a book cover-to-cover. If you break that down and divide it by 7 (days in a week) that’s approximately 45 minutes a day. You can finish an average book in a week reading for roughly 45 minutes a day.”
Is 45 minutes a day really too much to handle? It’s not, you’re dumb.
Other Stupidly Simple Ways To Read More
– Stop wasting your lunch hour – The average worker gets an hour lunch. How do you spend that time? Shoving food down your throat for five minutes then staring into your phone in a mall food court? Going to eat with coworkers and wasting time bitching about your boss, the company or the position? Eating at your desk while doing MORE work?
Pack a lunch, find a quiet place, eat slowly and knock out your 45 minutes of reading.
– Reading on the toilet – It sounds disgusting to discuss but name another 10 or 15 minutes of UNINTERRUPTED time in your day. Instead of mindlessly scrolling through your Instagram feed or breaking through to the next level on a game that will get you nowhere in life, read uninterrupted for however long it takes to move your bowels.
If you don’t want to be seen bringing a book into the office bathroom, have a copy handy on your phone.
– Get your lazy ass up earlier – Getting up early is the easiest way to add more hours into your day. Especially for those people who do alarm clock, throw on clothes, out the door. Not giving yourself enough time in the AM is an awful way to start the day.
Here’s a helpful suggestion though, especially if you’re not quite alert in the morning even though your body is up and around. Get everything ready the night before – from your clothes to your breakfast and packed lunch – and get all that out of the way. Do your morning routine as if you’re ready to walk out the door AND THEN sit down and read for 15 minutes or more.
– Create a reading space –This is a place in the house free from distraction. It doesn’t have to be a perfect spot with motivational pillows and massage therapy music piping in through overhead sound systems. The reading space needs to be a place where you’ll be left the hell alone.
I once read that Stephen King’s first writing office was in his home, in the laundry room between the washer and dryer. The point is to find a place and put your ass there during your scheduled time.
– Don’t read in bed – You can read before bed, in your reading spot.
Don’t read in bed. Your mind will wander and focus on how much you want to go to sleep. Beds are for sleeping (and sex if you’re lucky), but they’re not a place to read.
And finally, hold yourself accountable. If that doesn’t work, find someone who’ll hold you responsible.
Once reading becomes a habit, crushing a book a week will be just a part of everyday life.