If you had asked me this time last year if I had time to read 22 books every month, the answer would have been an emphatic no.
And yet, here I am, eight months into 2022, and I have read 22 books each month of this year so far. Honestly, I still find that really hard to believe.
Frequently, I get asked about how I’m finding the time to do all this reading given the many other responsibilities that I have on my plate.
Here are some of the strategies that I’m using to get all this reading done:
- Choosing books in advance. If you have visited my YouTube channel, you know that I pick the 22 books that I want to read for each month in advance. Now, I don’t always stick to that list exactly, but having at least 22 books that I’m interested in reading means that I’m not wasting any time picking out the next book to turn my attention to.
- Reading in multiple formats. By getting books from my library, reading what I have on my Kindle, and strategically acquiring audiobooks on sale, I often find myself reading one book in multiple formats. This allows me to switch back and forth to whatever is convenient at the time that I’m reading.
- Speed reading. I don’t really speed read physical or ebooks, but I use the function on my audiobook reader to increase the speed to between 2.7–3x the normal reading cadence. While I definitely have to focus more to listen at this rate, it allows me to finish books on a much quicker schedule.
- Reading in my free time. I don’t watch a lot of television, so reading is what I typically turn to when I have free time. I also enjoy using reading as a form of my solitude and recovery practice, so I often spend evenings after work or early morning hours reading a novel.
- Reading what I like. Although I do use an “alphabet challenge” each month to choose random books from my Kindle to add to my to-be-read pile (learn more on my YouTube channel), pretty much everything I choose to read is something that I’m genuinely interested in. Reading what I like makes it easy to find time to read more.
- Making reading fun. This year, I’ve really enjoyed documenting what I’m reading, tracking my reading, sharing what I’m reading, and challenging myself to read things that I don’t normally pick up. All of these things have made reading more fun for me to engage in.
- Reading diversely. This is one of my most diverse reading years. In the past, I’ve mostly read mystery novels and nonfiction, but this year I’m branching out into romance, science fiction, fantasy, international fiction, and a range of other genres that are keeping my reading life exciting and varied.
- Tracking my reading. I have a list of the books that I’d like to read each month that I track on Asana. This helps me to check off the books that I’ve read, see how many are left at any given point, and also plan ahead for books that I might want to read in future months. I also make note of the page count of each book on my list and try to ensure I’m making regular progress based on that metric.
- Making reading a priority when I plan my week. Because I’ve set this ambitious goal for myself to read 22 books a month, I think a lot about what I want to read, when I’m going to read, and how much progress I’ve made each week on this goal. By tracking my reading and checking in with my progress regularly, I’ve made achieving this goal a priority in my daily and weekly planning.
- Reading my backlog. There are so many books that I’ve collected over time, but never had a chance to read. When I committed to reading over 250 books this year, I took that as an opportunity to read all the things that I’ve been wanting to, which often means dipping into my personal library, reading classics in different genres, and choosing books that have won awards or have gotten a lot of hype.
- Reading while I do other things. Audiobooks are the perfect thing to partner with tasks that don’t take a lot of brain power. I often listen to them while cleaning, cooking, putting together furniture, talking a walk, when I’m driving by myself, and during a range of other monotonous tasks. It’s amazing how much reading you can get done while you’re working on the minutia of life and reading audiobooks has allowed me to add some really long books to my reading pile this year.
What strategies do you use to make time for the things that are important to you?