Join us all month for 31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010!
Reading is a great way to relax and unwind while sharpening our minds and challenging our perspectives, and it’s worth making it a priority in our lives. When I was in high school and college, I never could have imagined that I’d have to make “read more” a resolution. Back then I’d tear through a book — or two — in a day and immediately pick up the next one. But you all know the drill. I got a job, got married and then became a mother, and it seems like this has been on my resolution list for quite a few years now!
How do you do make reading a priority when you’ve got a job, children, household responsibilities and more vying for your attention? Amy from Mom Advice is sharing how she makes time for reading, and here are my 6 tips for making this the year of the book:
1. Define your goal.
What is your reading goal? Are you trying to get back to reading for pleasure? To increase the amount of thought-provoking material you read? To make reading a regular part of your day? Is your goal to read a certain number of hours a week? To read so many books this year?
Don’t base your goal on what other people are doing, but think about what goal will really motivate you and not discourage you. Setting out to read 52 books in 2010 sounds great, but I know for myself that I would end up discouraged by week 5 or 6 when I slipped behind. I’d wonder how I could ever catch up. (I know because I’ve tried that before.) Without that hanging over my head, I’ll be able to enjoy my reading more without the pressure of trying to keep up. And so my goal is simple: read something every day. It might just be a chapter. Or even half a chapter. But every day I’m going to make a point to read, just to build the habit of picking up a book when I have a few minutes to spare.
2. Join a book club.
Joining a book club is a great way to push yourself to read more. No one wants to be the only person in the group who hasn’t read the book being discussed! And to make it even better, joining a book club allows you to connect with other people as well. If you don’t have a physical book club in your local area, there are online book clubs as well. Tsh from Simple Mom is relaunching her Simple Living Book Club this month with The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen R. Covey. And Life as Mom’s newly launched Book It is an opportunity to discuss the books you’re reading with others — and get recommendations for your reading list — without the restrictions of a formal book selection.
3. Mix it up.
When you’re bored with your reading list and not motivated to pick up a book, try adding some variety. Choose different authors and genres to stay interested in what you’re reading. There’s nothing wrong with heavy, deep reading, but there’s also nothing wrong with lighter fiction. Reading a variety of books will keep you moving through your book list as you explore different topics and perspectives.
4. Buy a Kindle.
Okay, I’m mostly kidding, but I do want to use the Kindle to illustrate a point. I finally got a Kindle Wireless Reading Device this Christmas (after drooling over it since it first came out) because Tara from Deal Seeking Mom has been telling me for months how much more she reads now that she has it. From my limited experience this week, having a library of books with you at all times is a great way to take advantage of extra minutes in your day to read a few pages.
What I really mean, though, is that it’s important to figure out what obstacles are standing in the way of your goal and address them now. For me, the Kindle eliminates all of my obstacles to reading — it makes picking up a book and finding my place easy, reading several books at once convenient and reading while bouncing a baby possible. I’ve already read one complete book, and I’m in the middle of two others. It’s been a very busy week, so that says a lot! Obviously a Kindle isn’t an option for everyone, so you might have to be creative in figuring out other alternatives, but work to address whatever obstacles are keeping you from picking up a book.
5. Keep a running list of books.
For some people, not knowing what to read next is what keeps them from reading. Keep a running list of books you’d like to read and add to it regularly as you see or hear recommendations. I’ve always kept an Amazon wishlist of books that I add to whenever I see a book that intrigues me. Now, with the Kindle, I can download a sample of most books so that they’re waiting for me when I finish my current book.
Maybe finding titles to read isn’t the problem; the cost of books is. Try Paperbackswap.com, which allows you to request books from other members in exchange for mailing books you’ve finished to other members who request them. You can also take full advantage of your library for free reading material. And if you do have a Kindle, there are thousands of free books available — both public domain classics and new books offered as a teaser to get you interested in an author or series.
6. Remember that reading a little is better than not reading at all.
It takes time to develop habits, but you have to keep moving forward, even if it’s only a little bit at a time! Chances are that you’ll still have busy weeks when you don’t read as much as you want to and it feels like you’re never going to get through your current book. Maybe you’ll even go a week or two without reading anything at all. Rather than giving up and declaring your resolution a failure, remember that reading a little is better than not reading at all and keep trying.
What is your reading goal in 2010? What books are on your list to read this year?
The 31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010 series is sponsored by Get Organized Wizard. Find more than 250 lists, schedules, planners and organizers in The Ultimate To-Do List Pack, Home & Family Edition.