I try to read about one book a week. Yes, you saw that right. One every 7 days. That may sound crazy to some, but the rate at which I order books and the time between receiving them and the required review period is so short that I should probably be doubling my average. You see, I only started tackling my reading goals when I began reviewing books and having set times they needed to be posted. That’s my main motivation, but it hasn’t happened overnight. I’ve learned to be creative in creating new habits and making them part of my daily life. I want to share the most effective ones I’ve found with you.
1. One Chapter A Day
This is the hack that will take you further than any other, in my opinion. One chapter a day is simple and easy to follow. On top of that, reading is a good activity to pick up if you want to be soothed. So it’s good to incorporate this into your nightly routine anyway. Most books will have between 15-30 chapters. At one chapter a day, you will finish an entire book between two weeks-a month. A book a month is most peoples goal, so you’re on the perfect track.
2. Set A Goal (and stick to it)
We are creatures of habit. We love to-do lists, schedules, and setting goals. On the flip side, we are also creatures of PROCRASTINATION. And the things we do for enjoyment usually fall into the procrastination category because, you know, responsibilities and adulting come first and all that. But if reading is something you’re serious about, something you value, something you know will better you and add to your life, then make it a priority. Set an attainable goal (I.e, one book a month!) and follow through. You’ll feel accomplished and proud of yourself when you complete it.
3. Rewards System
This may seem obvious, but it’s much harder said than done: stop taking in new books! In my case, I have an amazing list of new books thrown at me every single month to choose from and saying no is not something I DO NOT enjoy doing. I try to stay away from book stores, but I was at the dollar store the other day and Lord have mercy, I bought a book from there! They are EVERYWHERE! Taunting, begging, nagging, and crying for me to adopt them. Instead, use your TBR pile to motivate you. Is there a book you want badly? Well, determine a system. Finish two, reward yourself with a new one. Find a way that works for you and it will motivate and excite you all the more to get through your TBR pile!
4. Just Start
Have you ever had a book that just stared at you for weeks, maybe even months? You know what I’m talking about. It goes with you everywhere. It sits beside you while you sleep. You’ve read the back of it a thousand times. But you just cannot force yourself to BEGIN? I’ve had a few of those. I’m looking at one now. I know I’ll love it, but for some reason, I can’t start reading it. You wanna know the solution? Just start. Once you do, you’ll most likely be pulled in and then wonder why it took you so long to dig into it in the first place.
5. Put It Down
For the love of all that is good and holy, put the book down if you are not enjoying it. This is a LEISURELY activity. But also remember that if you keep reading, it’s likely you’ll begin to like it. So don’t write it off until you’ve given it the proper amount of time to appeal to you.
6. Lend Them Out
One of my favorite things to do is lend out my books to friends. Unpopular opinion: even the ones on the TBR list. If a friend wants to read a book I have, they will come back and let me know about it. If their review is exciting, it will encourage me to read it as well. Seems kind of backwards, but it’s worked for me.
7. Don’t Write Off The In-Between Moments
One of my favorite times to squeeze in a few extra pages or even a chapter is on my 15 minute break at work. This may seem like not much time for reading, but you’d be surprised by how much of a book you can get through just by utilizing that 15 minutes. It adds up. Find those spare times in your day and use them!
8. Switch Shows To Movies (for a bit)
Are you the kind of person who always needs to have a show that you’re watching? Always searching for the next best one to have on your Netflix list? Let me just say this, TV is the enemy of reading. Truly. If you struggle to have self-control, you will end up using all your spare time watching your new favorite show. Then the next. It’s a vicious cycle. It’s easier to numb your mind with picture than engage it in text, especially after a long day. So if you want to tackle this pile, finish your current watch and switch over to watching movies instead. This will mean once you’re done, you’re done. And you can then get on with your TBR list. This is what I do in times where the pile is sky high. Don’t write off tv, just readjust.
9. Get The Audiobook Instead
Though I love the feeling of fresh new pages running through my fingers and the smell of new book, I also love anything audio. You can listen to the book on your commute to work, walking the dog, doing household chores or even showering. It’s an amazing invention, that audiobook. You’ll FLY through your reading list this way. So ditch (donate) the book and get the audiobook instead.
When I first moved out of my parents house, I needed to downsize my bookshelf. When moving across the country (multiple times) your most loved books are all that can come along. So I did one of the hardest things and decided that if I did not love it or was not truly interested in reading it, it was getting donated. When it comes to your TBR pile, it’s likely it has existed for years. Go through it and determine only the ones you truly want to read. The rest of them, get rid of. Here is a great link with an extensive list of up to date places where you can find a good home for your unread books!
No matter what you decide to do to get the pile down, choose to read instead of hoard. It’s better for everyone involved!