Hacks for Reading

In order to read books at a steady rate you need to manage your efforts in the following areas: selecting a book to read, actually reading the book, and picking a couple of ideas/suggestions from the book and incorporating in to your life.

Making time: Since reading a book is a big commitment on your time, make sure you set aside some time everyday to read. Allocate a larger portion of time for reading on weekends and holidays. Where do you find the time? Stop watching TV (or reading the newspaper), listen to an audiobook on your commute (or read on your commute) or carve out short ten minute sessions between various activities of the day. I gave up on TV. Once you have decided on the amount of time you can spend on reading everyday, and when — write that down and add it to your calendar. You can always review and revise that later as you settle into a rhythm.

Getting started: Start small, really small. One sentence, one paragraph a day (or even holding a book everyday for a few seconds everyday). Do this till it builds into a habit.

Selecting a book to read: Maintain a list of books that you want to read. Add to this list by seeking recommendations from friends and people you admire (or follow their reading lists). I use’s Amazon’s wishlist to manage books that I want to read. I keep adding to this list from time to time.

Reducing friction (for reading ebooks): Get comfortable reading on different devices (tablets, smartphones, ereaders) — this will help you read when you suddenly find that you have time on your hands. Make sure you have your favorite reading app reading installed on all your devices. Buying an ebook is as frictionless as it can get. Occasionally you may find that a book is available only in print format. Make sure you download the book/s that you want to read/are reading to all your devices. Try different formatting options (font type, size, margins) to check what works best for you. Keep your preferred reading device so that that it is easily accessible and and in the same place — so that you don’t have to search for it when you want to read. I read before going to bed. Kindle is my favorite reading app (I recently got myself a Paperwhite)

Reading: Since you have done all the work associated with reading (like selecting, buying, downloading) you can focus the time you have set aside everyday — for reading. You do not have to finish every book that you begin to read, with time your selection will improve. If you do not find the book to be valuable enough or has too much fluff — move on to your next book. Spend time reflecting on what author has to say and make notes on how you can try out some ideas presented in the book.

Implement: Try at least one idea from the book, while or immediately after reading the book. Sometimes you may want to follow a thread/idea introduced in the book by reading articles or other books in that area or topic. Review your notes and highlights from your reading a couple of months later.

Do you have any interesting hacks for reading?

Related post: Books I Read in 2014