I love to read and I’ve worked really hard this year to figure out how to read regularly and make it part of my daily routine. For me, reading is a way to put your phone down and get off of social media, unwind before bed, learn something new, or even let your imagination run wild. I feel that I did a great job this year not only getting back into reading every day but also reading material that has made a difference in my life and made me think.
Adding reading into your everyday routine is a decision that takes conscious effort. It means exchanging your alone time, or an early bedtime, for time with a book.
Here is How to Read Every Day
First things first, you need books of interest.
Get book recommendations from friends
This is a great way to start reading and get ideas for what is popular amongst your peers. In addition, you can see if they will loan you the ones they recommend (a great way to avoid purchasing books that you are unsure if you’ll even like).
Set aside time each day to read
Deciding that you want to figure out how to read regularly doesn’t also mean that you have to read a lot. It just means that you do what you can each day to get through it. Progress is progress, no matter how fast or slow of a reader you are. For me, my preferred reading time is in the 30 minutes to an hour at night before bed. Sometimes if I’m really tired, I can’t even make it that long; in which case, I opt for a quick 10 minute read and then it’s lights off.
If you find it difficult to sit still and get into a book, then I suggest incorporating other elements of your life that you love that you equate with relaxation. For instance, I always make a cup of herbal tea, change into pajamas and curl up in my office with music playing in the background. By doing all these other things, I feel that I signal to my brain that its “downtime”. This equates to sitting and relaxing, and then I consciously choose to pick up a book instead of flipping through Netflix or watching TV shows.
Set goals for what you hope to achieve with reading
I think this is an important part of getting into the “how to read everyday” mindset. For some, a novel is a way to escape reality; for others, its a way to learn something new. Whatever your purpose is, find it, and use it as motivation to get through the books you want.
Always have a list of books to read
Have a list on your phone and keep adding to it. Don’t let that list finish. The best way to continue reading every day is to constantly have a “next book” to pick up. I’ll add to mine by getting recommendations from friends or looking up recommendations online. For instance, Bill Gates puts out a list of great books every year, and there’s a Forbes list that usually goes out as well with best sellers and intriguing reads. Plus, there is the New York Times bestseller list and the Amazon recommendations for popular reads.
Basically, there is no shortage of options and resources out there to help you build your list.
Tell friends what you’re up to
I’m betting that they too are wanting to read, or have started to incorporate books into their routines. In this case, you can borrow from each other! It’s also a great way to have accountability for what you tell everyone. In addition, if you find enough people who are interested, you can start book clubs and read together.
How to read regularly AND stick to your budget
A hurdle when trying anything new is knowing how to pay for it. Incorporating reading into your everyday routine means somehow obtaining books, which aren’t always cheap. The more you read, the more the cost can add up for you.
Here are some resources to help you get started with incorporating reading into your everyday routine and not break the bank.
I have bought used books in bulk through eBay. This was before the time of Amazon of course, but still an effective and viable option, not to mention an efficient way to buy a bunch of books on your list at once!
For anyone who doesn’t know, Amazon got its start selling used books.
Use technology. If you have a Kindle, the Kindle edition of books (ebooks) is generally cheaper than the actual book version. Plus, you can download a sample of the book and read a chapter or two for free. This can give you a sense of how it’s written and if the topic is really engaging. It’s a great way to try before you buy!
In addition, if you’ve ever wondered how to read while traveling without dealing with all the extra weight, then check out a Kindle. This is their new generation version:
More recently, I received an Amazon Fire Tablet. On it you get Kindle capabilities and random other online benefits, such as checking your email and access to Amazon Prime and movies! Another excellent all in one tool for travel.
A colleague of mine told me about this one. I haven’t used it yet, but its a great way to find bestsellers for super affordable prices.
Choose your editions wisely
Instead of purchasing a brand new book each time, look for older editions of books and also paperback versions. These alternatives are generally cheaper than hardcovers and new editions. So, specifically, look for those when shopping.
Borrow from friends
I’m sure someone you know has at least one of the books you’re looking for. Start asking around and see what you can get!
Get a library card
Remember the days when you had to actually go to the library? Either to research school projects or because the Internet hadn’t taken over our lives yet? Remember when everyone used to have a library card, and we all learned how to read by practicing on books we checked out??
The library may not have the newest books, but they’ll definitely have something you want. All. For. Free. Just don’t lose track of your return dates; library fees can add up which would then defeat the purpose of using the library in the first place.
Goodwill and Salvation Army
People donate books all the time and often they are in good condition. Check out your local donation stores and see what they have available. The selection will be limited, but if you’re open to suggestions, this may be a great place to start! This is also, I think, an especially helpful place to go for children’s books if you’re trying to build up a library for them as they learn how to read.
Some TFP Book Recommendations
If you need further inspiration or a starting point, below is a list of the books I’ve read this year. It is short of my goal of reading one per month, however, I still think I did a pretty good job. I highly recommend each and every one of these.
For business know-how, these two were amazing. I read them one after the other and it was a perfect comparison of what to do, and what not to do. I’m sure you can guess which tells you which, but no matter what, make sure you read them both. Fascinating.
If you want to be mind blown on how some people are able to pull off some of history’s biggest hacks, then this next one is for you. Read it and see how one person siphoned money away from a country’s government, Saudi princes and had Hollywood fooled.
These next two I recommend for anyone and everyone practicing in healthcare. I gave these to my fellow to read as well. Both are so important and so relevant. For anyone not in the medical field, there’s still powerful information in both of these books; you can’t go wrong by giving either of them a shot.
Leadership. These books were written decades apart, but both are relevant and so helpful.
These next books give you some perspective on life and teach you powerful lessons. One of the best ways to learn is through the experiences of others. These two do a great job of opening the doors to a different kind of life.
If you want perspective on the human race and how we got to where we are today, then you have to read this next one. So much of history and human behavior is explained. I wish this is how we learned it in school.
To make it easier for you to get started on your journey, below are links to some book lists that I like to check out myself. Hope it helps you get started!
- Bill Gates
- New York Times Best Sellers
- Books recommended by Shark Tank entrepreneurs
- Amazon bestsellers
- Time magazine must read books
How to “read” without a book: Alternatives available
For those of you who really can’t find or make the time, and for those who actually hate reading, there are so many other options out there for you. Reading is one great way to obtain knowledge and submerge yourself in a story, but there are alternatives.
- Listen to books on tape
- Download audio versions of Kindle books
- Listen to/follow podcasts by authors and speakers
- Watch Ted talks (these aren’t based on books, but still a great way to learn!)
I personally don’t like listening to a story, I prefer to read the words; however, I can see how incorporating these alternatives into your lives can be much easier. You can listen to anything when you’re in your car, or listen through headphones while you complete household chores, and watching quick videos can be easier than trying to focus on reading.
For families who are trying to get their kids into reading or learning how to read, then audible technology can further help with pronunciation, phonetics, and fluency. Plus, if they read aloud with the narrator, it can help with improving their vocabulary by learning new words and elevate reading comprehension.
If you do like to read, but just don’t have the attention span or time to devote to a full book, then I think another route is to pick up articles of interest or blogs with topics that you enjoy. Going through one article a day is still a great way to incorporate reading into your everyday routine.
One example of where to look is Medium.com, which hosts articles from a variety of writers on a large selection of topics. Online newspapers and journals is another good starting point.
We are lucky we live in an era with so many options for how to read every day and learn. It’s up to you to figure out what works for you and then actually do it! Good Luck!
What are some of your recommended books to read? Any alternative methods that work for you?
Sanjana is a physician anesthesiologist, avid traveler, and entrepreneur. She founded The Female Professional in order to give women a voice, a community, and provide resources to help them overcome hurdles and achieve success. With her experiences as a physician, as a CEO of a startup, and as a writer, she understands the struggles and frustrations that women face. She also understands what it takes to move past those things and come out on top. Through this platform, Sanjana aims to empower women to be their best, authentic, selves, achieve work/life balance, and live life to the fullest.