Over the past few years, I have a turned into a monster. What kind of monster you may ask? A monster that starts books and doesn’t end up finishing them.
*distant horrified gasps*
Oh yes, a bookworm’s worst nightmare!
Upon joining the staff here at the Writing and Communication Centre, I was reminded that avid readers still exist. During lunches together, my co-workers will discuss books and exchange recommendations. This lunchroom chatter took me back to the days of when I, too, was keen on reading. I still enjoy the thrill of a good story but somewhere along the road, I lost my willingness to read. Seeing as I'm a present day university student, required course readings and the pull of social media tend to stand in my way of reading for fun.
This year, I have resolved to bring back reading as a pastime. If you’re like me and hope to get back into the lovely world of literature, below are some tips to help you prioritize reading.
1) Set a Manageable Goal
Every year The Savvy Reader and Harper-Collins team up to promote the 50 Book Pledge. The idea behind this campaign is that you pledge to read a certain number of books over the course of the year (it doesn’t have to be 50). Their website is a great tool to keep track of what you’ve read, are currently reading, and plan to read. Fifty books is not a manageable goal for me, so I have decided on eight. This may seem like a low goal, but it’s important to know yourself and your usual workload. Personally, this goal is doable but there is still pressure to get reading, as I have to average 1 book every 90 days.
Bonus: You can earn badges for completing different challenges or milestones.
Image of Edna's 2019 To Read Books
2) Decrease Social Media Exposure
Rather than scrolling through your feed, you can opt to pick up a book when you have time to spare. Social media is endless. It never ceases. A book, however, can be finished. Occasionally, I delete the Instagram app if I notice myself repeatedly falling down the Explore Page rabbit hole. I find that getting rid of such distractions helps with productivity in general, as you don’t end up scrolling mindlessly.
3) Visual Reminders
Leave the book you are reading where you can see it. This way you are more likely to pick it up to read when you come across it. I leave my copy of “Weapons of Math Destruction” by Cathy O’Neil on my bed as a reminder.
4) Try Multi-tasking
The best way to do this? Audiobooks! I find listening to audiobooks helps me get through my list of books faster. Those Game of Thrones books are lengthy, so why not pair that with washing dishes? I like to use Overdrive, as you can borrow audiobooks from your local library free of charge (if they have Overdrive).
Caution: Having said that, I don’t endorse listening to audiobooks while doing work that requires focus. You’ll either miss out on the story, or end up writing about dragons in the middle of your lab report.
5) Schedule Time
This tip is short and sweet. A great way to make time for reading, is to actually schedule it in. I am more likely to get something done when I add it to my Google calendar.
6) Be Held Accountable
My last tip is directly tied to what I’m doing right now. By telling people your goals, you are more likely to follow through with them. It motivates me to keep reading because I have told my team what I am doing. I know they will hold me accountable and ask questions about my progress along the way.
Let me know if reading more is one of your goals for this year! Hopefully these tips help you make progress on your pile of books that are begging to be read.