What's one enriching habit that successful people like Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey have in common? A love of books and a healthy amount of time dedicated to reading them. Books are unique for their ability to build critical thinking skills, engage the imagination and allow complete immersion in a topic. Reading books is also a truly enjoyable hobby. And yet, it's very common for this incredibly beneficial habit to get crowded out by all our other entertainment options. If you feel that you don't read enough, you're not alone.
March is National Reading Month, which makes this the perfect time to create more time for reading. Follow these sensible tips to add more books to your life.
Always have access to a book
Having books with you allows you to take advantage of those pockets of time throughout the day that might otherwise be wasted. Just think of the possibilities! Waiting in a long line or sitting at the laundromat can become prime reading time. If carrying a physical book is not convenient, download the free Kindle App onto your phone. Audiobooks are another format for making books accessible, especially while driving or doing housework.
Create reading goals
Instead of having the general goal of "read more", have fun challenging yourself to reach a specific target. Warren Buffett's goal is 500 pages a day, but you don't have to be quite so ambitious. Set a goal like a certain number of minutes per day or a certain number of books each month. Track your progress and enjoy the sense of accomplishment from staying on track and creating a consistent reading habit.
Read before bedtime
Get in the habit of reading in bed for 30 minutes before sleeping. Not only will having this consistent routine help you get some decent reading time in, but it's also great for getting a great night's rest. There's a growing consensus that looking at screens before bed is not good for getting high-quality sleep. Reading is more relaxing and much better at helping you wind down.
Make reading more social
Adding a social dimension, like joining a book club, can motivate you to read more. Reading is already enjoyable but being able to share the experience with others can boost your engagement. You can also join Goodreads, a social media site for bookworms. Read reviews, write some of your own and get excited about being part of the general conversations surrounding books.
Spend less time watching TV or using social media
How do successful people nurture their reading habit, despite being so busy? They prioritize reading over many other sources of entertainment. But you don't have to do anything extreme to make more time for reading. Just make a conscious effort to allocate your time thoughtfully. Reading more might be as simple as identifying something to cut back on that's not as valuable to you as making progress on a book.
Read more than one book at a time
By far, the biggest motivation for picking up a book is that you WANT to read it. Try to get two or three books going at once, to ensure there's always one that's genuinely interesting to you. Not in the mood for nonfiction? Pick up the historical novel. The best thing you can do for your reading habit is making sure you always have an enjoyable book to get lost in.
Spend the month of March improving your reading habits, and then extend them throughout the rest of the year. Happy Reading!