This helpful list of steps on improving our reading habits was posted last week (April 17, 2015) at “Publishers Weekly.” It is a summary of some things Gretchen Rubin put together while writing a broader self-improvement book, titled Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives (Crown, 2015).
This is her brief explanation of the steps:
Reading is an essential part of my work, it’s an important aspect of my social life, and most importantly, it’s my favorite thing to do….
But reading takes time, and most days, I can’t read as much as I’d like. As I was writing Better Than Before, my book about habit change, I adopted many new habits to help me get more good reading done. Consider whether these habits might work for you:
And here are a few of the ones that I would highlight for you. To find all of them, use the “PW” link above.
2. Skim. Especially when reading newspapers, magazines, and the internet. Certain kinds of materials don’t need to be read carefully. Also, even if you spend many hours a day reading, you may feel as though you don’t have any time to read. The habit of skimming ensures that low-value reading doesn’t crowd out high-value reading.
3. Set aside time to read demanding books. It’s satisfying to stretch. Try setting aside some time each week to read books that are a bit challenging—a dense biography, a religious work written hundreds of years ago, a scientific book with a lot of unfamiliar terminology. I used the habit-formation Strategy of Scheduling to form the habit of doing “Study Reading” each weekend, to ensure that I make time read books that I may not exactly feel like picking up, but that I’m very glad I read.
4. Always have plenty of reading material on hand. Never go anywhere empty-handed—digital devices are a big help in this respect. Nothing is more terrifying to me than the prospect of finding myself on an airplane, with many hours to read and a book that I don’t like. So much great reading time—wasted! I always have several options, each time I board a plane. And in order to have plenty to read…
5. Keep a reading list, and keep it handy. For years, I kept my library list on a little pad at my desk, but I’ve switched the list to my phone. A handwritten list can be left behind, but a cell- phone list is always available. Whenever I hear about a book I want to read, I add it my library list. It currently contains the names of 194 books, and one day, I plan to read them all