5 Steps to Building a Reading Habit

How to read more and read consistently

One of the most common New Year Resolutions people have is to read more. I've been reading consistently and finished over a few hundred books and articles in the past decades. So in this article, I will share five tips I learned along the way on how to read more.

1. Keep a reading list

The first step is to keep a reading list of books or articles. You can use a simple to-do list app, create a database in Notion, or save links to a read-later app.

Eventually, you will have more in your reading list than you can ever finish once you get into the habit of saving things to read later.

2. Set a schedule for reading

Ask yourself:

  • What day in the week will you be reading?
  • What time in the day will you be reading?
  • How long will you read in one sitting?

Reading for 20 to 30 minutes every day works best for me. This way, I get to keep a daily reading streak that motivates me to read more.

Another tip is to find pockets of time, like commuting or waiting in line, and then set reading as the default activity for those periods.

3. Design your reading environment

Having a set reading environment helps develop a reading habit. It could also improve learning and retention. Come up with a few places where you will be reading—be it your home office, the library, or your favorite coffee shop.

Combining the first two steps, you now know what to read, when, and where to read. It was the exact framework I shared in episode 19 to increase work performance and productivity.

4. Learn a few speedreading techniques

While I don't actively encourage people to read as quickly as possible, mastering a few speedreading techniques is useful when your goal is to read more.

Even if you couldn't care less about words per minute (what speedreaders use to measure their reading speed), learning how to process a book before reading and a few eye-travel techniques help improve efficiency and retention.

5. Stop reading if it sucks

A common misconception is that you have to finish the book you started. The truth is, you don't. If you don't enjoy the book or article, stop reading and move on.

The key to reading more is consistency. Knowing why you want to read more motivates you to keep reading. Then, it's all about developing the habit of reading daily or weekly using the five tips I've just shared.


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