Bernie Anderson
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Current musings, whatever they may be. 

How To Read More Books In The Next 75 Days

We have 75 days until 2018 blows out of here and 2019 comes in fresh and squeaky clean. But days are long, years are short, as spoken by the poet. This means there is no reason to wait for New Year’s Day to do a new thing. Today is a great day to start something new.

I’m not a fan of resolutions on January 1st. (Although it’s something I’ve done. Posting on this blog on a daily basis for example.) I think it’s great when a new workout pattern starts in August 23rd or a diet begins in April 11th. Every day is a new day. New beginnings. New mercies.

So on this October 18th, 75 days from the beginning of 2019, why not commit to reading more books between now and the end of the year? It’s possible a 75-day habit could change your life.

The theme of self-development has cropped up a lot in my thinking, reading, and writing this week. I don’t know of any better way to grow and develop yourself than by reading long-form material. By this, I mean actual books. Not tweets. Not blog posts. Books that will deepen your thinking, increase your ability to pay attention, and teach you new and life-altering truth.

It’s one thing to make a determination to read more books. It’s another to make a plan and execute on that plan.

Here’s a strategy that works for me.

1. Start with a small, dedicated reading time. Every Day.

The key words here are “every day.” Can you spare 10 minutes a day? I dare say everyone has 10 minutes. If you say you don’t, I challenge it. Set aside 10 minutes to read. The average out-loud reading rate is approximately 200 words per minute. That means in 10 minutes most people can read 2000 words out loud. That’s the average chapter length of many books. In the majority of fiction, that’s a scene. The key isn’t how much, though. The key is consistency. Every day. 10 minutes. No exceptions.

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2. Choose the easy wins

I don’t recommend starting your “read-more-books” adventure with a systematic theology or a novel by Umberto Eco. Go with something small and attainable. A series of short stories. A short how-to that provides helpful information in your field. There is something immensely satisfying about finishing. Start with a book you can easily finish, then move on to the next. You may be ready to tackle something like Eco for 2019.

3. Multi-task with Audio

This may not be for everyone. But, if you can train your brain to listen while driving or working out or doing menial work, I can’t recommend audio books enough. I travel enough that audio books are my contestant driving companion. (Renee’ and I even do Agatha Christie novels when on long trips together). I’ve also listened to the entire Harry Potter series while at the gym, along with countless business and theological books. I know a lot of folks who say they can’t do audio - but it’s a brain-training thing. Give it an honest try. You can get audiobooks from your local library. Or for a small monthly fee, you can do an Audible.com subscription. Audio is a growing platform for book consumption.

4. Fill the gaps.

When I say I don’t have time to do something, that typically means I don’t have several hours of leisure to work on a project. Let’s be real. Few do. I do have a lot of gaps. While I’m not afraid to carry a paperback around with me (I often do), I always have my phone. So, when there are 10 minutes because of a late appointment or 30 minutes before lunch, read. You can get through entire chapters this way. If you use audio, this becomes even more evident. I put on an audiobook for 15-minute grocery runs. I’m always amazed at how much ground I will cover with accumulated short reads.

What is keeping you from reading more books between now and December 31st? Share some of your strategies in the comments. I’d love to hear about them.

You have the time. You have the tools. You have to make the choice.