Monday, January 5, 2009

How to Read More in 2009

I've been faithfully keeping track of the books I've read since 1993. Most years I manage to log two books a week. Some years, I've been able to read three books a week.

How about you? Is reading a book—or just reading more—one of your New Year's Resolutions? As a lifelong and persistent reader, here are my tips on how to get more reading done right now

First, make sure you have books! Support and use your public library. It offers all of us equal access to books. That said, it’s helpful to have a few books of your own for snowstorms and sick days. I encourage clients to develop a small library of must-read professional books and resources and a stack of fun or interesting books. If you don't have a lot of cash to buy books, shop your library's annual book sale. You can get the best bargains on books! If you have a Half-Price Books in your town, check out their large selection of clearance books at $1-$3 each. 

Second, make your books accessible!
• Keep your books in sight—seeing reminds you to read. I try to keep a book in every room.
• Always keep a book in the bathroom.
• Keep a book in the car (or on your person) for the times you end up waiting. This turns the dentist’s waiting room or the time you spend waiting for kids at soccer or ballet into reading time.

Third, find the time to read. 
Here are some tricks that work for me and my clients:
• Get up 30 minutes earlier than your family and use the time for a quiet breakfast and reading.
• Read while you exercise. But be safe! Though I’ve seen others read on treadmills and elliptical gliders (and while walking outside! Yikes!), I only recommend reading on a stationary bicycle.
• Commute to work and read on the bus or train.
• Read during your lunch hour.
• Set aside work time each week to catch up on the reading you do for your profession.
• Replace one hour of email or computer time with reading.
• Tape or TiVo all television shows—and get back 20 minutes per hour show to read!
• Stop watching television a little earlier (or start watching a little later), and take back an hour or more for reading.
• Dedicate one afternoon (or day) per week (or month) as a reading retreat—and head out to a coffee shop, park, or library to read.

Consider the audio option. Audio books make it possible to “read” while running, driving, cleaning the house, crafting, cooking dinner and more.

Give it time. Reading is a habit that takes time to establish—like exercising and eating well. My final bit of advice will help you ease into it: start with a book that rocks your world. Don’t try to devour War and Peace if you haven’t read anything since college. You’ll just get frustrated. Instead, pick up a book that makes you forget the time. You’ll get hooked. I promise!

Need more help?
Buy my favorite new book: Creating Your Best Life: The Ultimate Life List Guide. Full disclosure: this book was written by my longtime friend, colleague, and mastermind partner, Caroline Miller. Although I like most everything Caroline writes, I think this is her best book so far. She combines solid information from her study of positive psychology (she has a Masters of Applied Positive Psychology from Penn) with great coaching tips. Creating Your Best Life is jam-packed with information on on how you can achieve your goals and increase your feelings of happiness, whether you want to read 50 books or run a marathon (or both) this year! If you want more help achieving your 2009 goals, pick up this book right now. You won't be disappointed!

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