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How To Read More Efficiently

19 April 2022

With the fast pace of modern life, many people struggle to find the time to slow down and get sucked into a world of reading. Who among us doesn’t have a book that’s been sitting on a shelf, gathering dust under the mantra of “I’ve been meaning to read that”?  

Even when you manage to set aside the time and pick up a book, the constant pinging of notifications can often mean that it becomes hard to fully immerse yourself in the world of your book. A split attention span seems to be an almost unavoidable consequence of living in this day and age, and may make it feel impossible to get into reading as a hobby.

But, like anything, reading is a skill that can be trained and perfected. Here are some tips to help you get started reading and make sure you’re getting the most out of your reading time.

1. Pick books based on your ability

So you’ve decided to start reading. This may not be the ideal time to head to your bookshelf and dust off that tome from Dickens or Dostoevsky you’ve had sitting around for 10 years. If you’re just getting into the swing of reading again, it’s better to opt for something more manageable for your current habits.

It’s often a good idea to start off your journey to reading with an engaging book on a topic you’re already passionate about. If you like romance movies, opt for a romance novel; if you’re a fan of true crime podcasts, read a murder mystery.

The same logic also applies to the length and difficulty of your chosen text. If you’ve only got 20 minutes a day to devote to reading, choosing a massive book of several hundred pages may be biting off a bit more than you can chew. For your first book, consider choosing something short enough that you can realistically finish it - this will show you that it’s possible and give great encouragement to continue!  

2. Set time apart to read

For most of us, picking up a book and getting lost in its world isn’t something that happens naturally. People bemoan the fact that they never get time to read, but in fact, they never make time to read. It’s your duty as a reader to carve out that special time in your day to sit down with your book of choice.

Make your reading time a reward, a special time that is set apart from the hustle and bustle of daily life. When you treat your reading time as sacred and restorative, the act of reading will become a reward in and of itself.

3. Cut out the distractions

One of the major problems most of us face when we go to sit and read a book is the constant distractions of the world around us. Social media notifications, news alerts, the constant slew of emails - it’s almost impossible to get any peace and quiet in this digital age.

Combat that modern reality and turn off your phone, tv, and remove any other distractions that might keep you from becoming fully immersed in your book. There’s something to be said for building a reading corner - a quiet, comfortable space somewhere in your home, free from distractions and with the express purpose of being a place to disconnect and get stuck into a good book.

4. Make reading a habit

In order to really get stuck into reading, you need to make it a habit. Simply picking up a book every now and again is unlikely to see you get to the end of one, and having an irregular reading pattern can make it difficult to keep track of what’s going on in the book.

Beat this irregularity by making your reading time a daily occurrence that happens at a consistent time. No matter whether you can squeeze in 15 minutes or an hour, consistency is what’s key when it comes to making reading a valuable part of your life.

5. Join a book club

If you find that solitary reading makes it hard to stay focused, you might want to consider adding a social element to your reading practices. Check your local area to see if there are any community book clubs, it can be a great way of connecting with your local community. If not, there are many online book clubs that focus on pretty much any niche of reading you can imagine. Approaching your reading alongside others will give you that extra push to power on through, and make it more rewarding to discuss your experience with others.

Making regular reading a part of your life may not come naturally to all of us, but with these simple tips it’ll soon become second nature. So what are you waiting for, pick up a book and enjoy one of life’s simplest pleasures!