Jense Gerrits
Freelance tekstschrijver

How to read more

13 januari 2015

While I am aware that a large number of articles such as this one exist online, none have been written by me yet. The fact that you opened this article tells me one thing: you want to read more, and you want to know how I did it. Two years ago, I wasn’t much of a reader. Last year, I read 30 books. Reading isn’t only fun, it is also a way to improve your brainactivity and expand your vocabulary. And after a while, it becomes even addictive and you will spend more time reading. Five points were essential for me to succeed: setting goals, structuring the habit, measuring progress, buying an ereader and joining a bookclub.

My good friend @LaurensCollee

1. Set goals

It is very tempting to turn on the television or start browsing the internet instead of reading after you get home from work or school. To open a book instead takes some discipline. I believe that by setting goals for yourself, your reading habit will improve significantly. For instance, if you want to read 25 books this year (and given that an average book has 350 pages) you need to read roughly 8.750 pages this year. This means 23,97 pages a day. I use 25. So, 25 pages every day, to get to 25 books. That’s not too bad, is it?

2. Structure your reading habit

Now that you know the ammount of pages every day, you can find a way to fit the reading into your daily routine. How about during the commute to your work or education? How about the last thirty minutes before you go to sleep? This last option, if paired with a smartphone well out of reach, has the added bonus of improving the quality of your sleep. No more staring at the ceiling.

3. Measure it

I am very fond of collecting (personal) data, I like to track a lot of things, so naturally I also measure the amount of pages I read. Whether it’s in a week, a month, a year or since I’ve begun collecting data. By measuring the amount of books and pages you’ve read, you make your reading habit more insightful. You could use online tools like Good Reads, which offers you the possibility to save and share the books you’ve read. I do not like Good Reads very much, because it doesn’t provide me enought data. The social aspect of Good Reads is a lot of fun, though.

Did I already tell about my obsession with data?

The figure above shows the sheet that I use to track my reading habits. I started measuring in May 2013, so this data is the result of roughtly one and a half year reading.

4. Buy an ereader

Ever since I’ve bought an ereader (and carry it with me all the time) I read a lot more than I used to. Of course, an ereader is not the guarantee that you will read more, but it makes it easier to carry around a large number of books, without giving up space in your bag or backpack. I think that when reading becomes easier, you read more. Of course, real books made from paper are a lot prettier than ebooks. My advice: Read books on your ereader, and get the books you really enjoy in physical form. Hardcover, of course.

5. Join a bookclub

Maybe it sounds a bit dull, maybe it sounds like something for your mother (like a knitting-club, which actualy can be pretty cool), but to join (or to start!) a bookclub is a good way to read more and better books. Not only can you motivate each other to read, you get to know books you might have missed otherwise. To be honest, I have never joined a bookclub, but I’m thinking of starting one!

These five points helped me to read more. Of course, everything depends on your discipline, yet you will notice that after a few weeks reading will become more addictive, and it will get harder to put your book down.

And never forget:

“Reading books >>>>>>>> Social Media”