When I was younger, I was a voracious reader. I’d read on the bus, I’d read in bed, I’d read on car rides, I’d read in the living room, I’d read during recess. I have such vivid memories of reading Animorphs, Harry Potter, Stephen King, and just a huge assortment of books. Those were the days! There was nothing quite like escaping into a book and becoming immersed in another world. What happened to that kid?
Once I reached high school and eventually college, there was so much assigned reading that reading for fun didn’t seem fun at all. Once I hit the real world, there was really no recreational OR assigned reading! For many years I found that I had simply lost that thirst for books. It was a bummer because it was such a huge part of my formative years.
What exactly happened? Well, I got busy. I got wrapped up in friends, relationships, jobs, video games, Netflix, and my godforsaken phone. Reading just stopped being a priority. I would have little spurts where I tried to get back into reading, but that would often only last for a few days. I’d try to read before bed but would inevitably revert back to Netflix before bed. I’d try to read on my days off but inevitably got distracted. Vacation became the only time I really did any reading!
Does this sound like you? I’m guessing it does. I think this is a shared experience for a lot of people who have become immersed in the digital age. Once upon a time, screens did not have the hold over us that they have today. Once upon a time reading books was what we did when we were bored. I’ve found that this really isn’t the case anymore.
So what’s the solution to this malady? How can we start reading more? Well, over the last 2 weeks I’ve been doing a 30 day challenge that solved all of my non-reading blues. I’ve also discovered some other ways to make it easier to get reading done. Here goes!
How to Read More in the Digital Age
Carve Out Time
This is the ultimate way to re-ignite your passion for reading. 2 weeks ago, I started a “Read for 30 Minutes for 30 Days” challenge. I honestly wasn’t expecting a ton from this challenge, but it has profoundly impacted my life.
Once I started carving out time for reading and forcing myself to read for a set amount of time, I started reading….a lot. I’ve already finished 3 substantial books and it’s only been 2 weeks!
I discovered 2 things through doing this:
- My attention span was shorter than I ever imagined
- 30 minutes is a good chunk of reading time
I would set the timer on my phone for 30 minutes and start reading. I found myself checking that thing at least 20 times before it was up. There is no doubt in my mind that this is a product of the technology I interact with on a daily basis. It’s scary but doing things like this reading challenge are a great way to combat it.
I also just realized that 30 minutes is enough time to get A LOT of reading done. I’ve been trucking through these books faster than I thought. I thought I might read 2 or 3 books for the entire challenge but I’m on pace for 6!
All in all, carving out time and holding myself to reading for that full amount of time has been a revelation.
I’m excited about books again! I look forward to reading again! I find myself getting consumed by books again. It’s a wonderful thing.
I’m sure you were expecting me to say this but it has to be said nonetheless. Use the technology available to help you consume more information! The two that have helped me the most are e-readers and audiobooks. My go-tos are the Kindle for e-book reading and Audible for audiobooks.
The Kindle is great because I don’t have to keep buying books. I moved to California 3 years ago and already have a ridiculous amount of books. I don’t need anymore. The Kindle helps me buy books without turning my bookshelf into a Jenga game, ready to be crushed by its weight at any moment.
Audible is great for “reading” on the go. I love it for my commute to work and really anywhere. I definitely don’t count this toward my 30 minutes of reading, but I love it as an alternative to music.
Read What You Want – Be Picky!
As a bit of a perfectionist, I will sometimes think that I have to finish a book or I’ve failed. Failed what, exactly? I have no idea. One thing that has helped me during this challenge is to stick with books I like and ditch the ones I don’t. I was reading one book on learning and it just was not doing it for me. I didn’t like the author (he was pretty full of himself) and I wasn’t actually learning anything from him. I ditched it and moved on to Charlie LeDuff’s “Sh*tshow! The Country’s Collapsing…But the Ratings Are Great” which is a raw, poignant look at the state of the nation. I absolutely loved this book and couldn’t get enough.
You deserve to read books you like. Don’t chain yourself to something that’s not doing it for you.
All in all, I would highly recommend trying the 30 day reading challenge. It has transformed me back into a slightly less naive version of my younger self. And that’s a beautiful thing.