Read More Books, Learn Solid Strategies, and Level Up Your Life For Bigger Future Wins
Are you one of those people that used to love reading but you don’t have the time anymore? Looking for the right books but don’t know where to start?
This year was a big year for my reading goals. In total, I read close to 32 books, for a total read of over about 5000 pages. I did this with a full-time job and working full time as a book coach and author, publishing 4 new books in 2017.
So how do I find the time to read?
I know what that feels like. Every day I find a new book I want to read, but with all of the busy-ness that surrounds daily living, how do we carve out the time for reading a 150-200 page book?
When you are pressed for time, you have to make selective choices as to how you spend your time. When you have time, will you read a book or watch TV? Play with your iPhone or learn a new strategy from one of your favorite books?
I believe that reading books…reading the right books for yourself…is key to expanding your mind, developing your thoughts, or building a business. With the right books, anything is possible. For me, a book is like a good mentor. Find the one that speaks to you and learn from it.
Make 2018 the year you read the right books and focus on making your life the best life it can be. I’m all for leveling up the game and setting—what many people would call—unrealistic goals.
Recommended Books for 2018
As I mentioned I read 32 books this year. For that matter I have to share with you the best batch of books I recommend for your reading library. There is a mix of fiction and nonfiction here.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
The Success Principles by Jack Canfield
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body by Michael Matthews
Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through The Storm by Thich Nhat Hanh
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankyl
Do It Scared by Scott Allan [Shameless plug here]
It by Stephen King [Still a great read 30 years since it’s initial release].
Headhunters – John Milton #7 (John Milton Series) by Mark Dawson [I love this series of books featuring John Milton].
Meg by Steve Alten [A great read if you love BIG shark stories].
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green [I really liked this book]
How to Speed Up Your Reading
Like most people you may struggle to find the time for most things. Reading is an activity that you cannot afford to pass by so I will give you three simple steps I used to read over forty books last year.
Read first thing in the morning.
Wake up, drink a glass of water, and open a book. Bypass your email or even looking at the computer until you have put in thirty minutes of reading time.
If you are reading on a device or using the kindle app on your computer or tablet then refrain from checking email or doing anything else. You might have to get up half an hour early to get your reading time in. It is well worth it.
This is a positive investment in your personal development. Just twenty minutes first thing in the morning will have a massive positive impact on the quality of your day.
Set a Reading Goal.
Aim to read a certain number of pages a day. Twenty to thirty pages a day seems like a large chink of time you would have to invest but if you take advantage of those small pockets of time, this is less overwhelming. I read a book a week this way and this is just with commute time and setting a thirty minute reading session every morning. If your time is tight, look at other activities you could steal time from. Maybe watch less TV? Less complaining? Less texting? Most goals can be reached when we chisel down on our resources.
Choose material that is in line with your goals.
There is no point in reading something you do not like. Choose a topic that is in line with your current objectives. For example, I am starting to declutter my house. The book I am focusing on now is Getting Things Done by David Allen. in February my goal is to improve my focus. The book I have lined up for this is
Take Advantage of Small Pockets of Time.
Do you get agitated standing in line for coffee? How about waiting for an appointment? I am never bored when I have to wait for someone else. You can carry a Kindle reader with you. Or, put the Kindle app on your phone or tablet. You have an instant library available for reading anytime when you are caught with 10-15 minutes to kill. There is no such thing as killing time when you have free pockets here and there.
Go to the library.
A library is a quiet place for reading. You’re surrounded by books so it is easy to get focused on your reading. Coffee shops can be noisy and full of distractions. The less noise you are surrounded by, the easier it is to focus on what you are reading. you will retain more of what you read, too.
Read With Music
If you do read in a coffee shop or an environment high in noise level, set up instrumental music and read with your headphones in and music playing. Classical or relaxation music sets the right tone for reading and keeps you focused while blocking out the noise. Check out music by such artists as Enya, Secret Garden or Marconi Union — Weightless. Reading with music can switch off the internal noise in your head, developing the habit for better concentration.
Highlight Your Favorite Parts
This has been a habit of mine for thirty years. It keeps you focused on the material and it is easier to find the best parts of what you read when you are skimming through the book again later. Keep a highlighter with you while reading and highlight the parts of the book that resonate with you. If you are using a eReader or your Kindle app, there is also a highlight feature.
Get Focused and Turn Off Your Distractions
To get started, set up thirty minutes for focused reading a day. This can be in the morning or anytime throughout the day. I struggle with reading at night but it works for many people to read before bed. During this time, turn off your phone and power down all the other devices. You shouldn’t have any interruptions during your reading time. If something interrupts you, it breaks your focus and it’s difficulty to get back into the flow. Decide the best time to read, set a timer, choose your book, and go.
Now, choose your book for week and schedule your reading time in. Make this year the best yet and level up your life with some great books in your personal development library.