How I read fifty-two books a year


One of the goals I set myself in 2018 was to read a book every week for learning and pleasure. I really enjoyed it -I’ve always loved reading but struggled to find the time, and when I succeeded I resolved to do the same thing in 2019. My lovely friend Kirsty (check out her amazing cancer recovery journey Hope.sprints on instagram)asked me a few weeks back how I manage this, and I thought it might be useful to share!

  1. Have a system. No surprises that I use my bullet journal to track this – I note books that I have read but also keep a “to read” list so that I have ready access to things that are already in my book pile and I am waiting to get to, or recommendations from friends and family or (actually an amazing source!) Pinterest. Processed With Darkroom
  2. Read things you’ll enjoy and be willing to give up on a bad book. I forced myself through some really badly written self-help (looking at you,  Jocko Willink) because I felt I’d already put so much of my allotted weekly reading time to the hundred or so turgid pages I’d waded through. Honestly, I hated this goal during the two weeks or so it took me to get through it and it completely wasn’t worth it. I avoided reading time and spent way too long on this. If you don’t like it – put it down and don’t pick it up again.
  3. Use your “dead time”. I have to commute on the London Underground and since I’ve been reading rather than on Instagram the time goes much faster and I feel better when I arrive. I’d really recommend getting the Kindle app for your smartphone if you’re on a crowded train – takes up less space than a paper book and very easy to pull out during other times you’re not doing much, whether that’s heating your lunch up or waiting for your coffee order. If you’re a car, bike or walking commuter, you might really enjoy Audible which allows you to listen via audiobook. Amazon also does a sync up service called Whispersync which allows you to switch between Kindle and Audible and keep your place. 
  4. Have some TV free evenings. This is where so much of our free time goes. I love Netflix too, but every now and again a peaceful evening with a paperback is so enjoyable and relaxing. Make a ritual of it – light candles, make a nice pot of tea (or glass of wine), take your book into the bath with you. 
  5. Make it affordable. Swap books with friends or colleagues, or if you’re more into e-reading, check out Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited service where you can have up to ten books downloaded at one time for a subscription fee that works like a library membership. And also, get a library membership! They are such great and underused community resources. 

I’d love to hear your ideas for reading more – let me know in the comments!


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