Exercising the Mind – How to Read 2 (or more) Books a Month
Just like the body, the mind must also be exercised for growth. Reading, is one of the simplest ways to exercise the mind. We live in a day and age where your access to reading materials have not been easier. Kindle, Nooks, and a plethora of smartphone apps give you instant access to countless books, literally at your fingertips. You no longer have to carry heavy books around if you wanted to read something, although as a self professed bibliophile, I still love the feeling of holding and reading a book.
Despite the ease of access, there are still numerous excuses as to why you cannot read.
“I don’t have the time”
“I am too busy”
“I cannot focus”
“I don’t enjoy reading”
Whatever your excuse may be, there is a solution.
Like many people, I allowed my life to dictate my habits. I went from reading 3-5 books per month, to barely reading a book a year. I convinced myself that I was just “too busy” and that I didn’t have the time. Truth be told, I had the time, and so do you. I just didn’t manage it very well.
Think about the time you spend doing menial tasks, such as checking your social media profiles, watching Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime on the couch or in bed. How often do you find yourself strumming through some online website, watching insanely funny Youtube videos, or getting sucked in a Meme binge? Chances are, the time you are spending on these places adds up. If you devoted just a fraction of the time you spend doing these mindless tasks, you would be reading more than you thought possible.
Did you know that the average American consume or interact with over 11 hours of media per day? 11 hours! They watch roughly 4 hours of live television, and over 2 hours of media via their smartphones or other devices. Let’s say you are not average and consume less, if we round down and say each day you spend 10 hours a day on outside media (a combination of all media sources). If you just utilized 10% of that time to put towards mental growth, you could read far more books that you originally thought you never had time for. What if we took it a step further? What if you only read 10% of a book a day?
10% of a book varies from book to book. How long do you think it would take to read 10% of a 200 page book? The average person reads about 250-300 words per minute, qhich is roughly the average page length. You could potentially read 10% of a 200 page book in 20-30 minutes, given the amount of words per page and your reading speed. Even if you are at the slower end and say took 40 minutes to read 20 pages, you are still able to finish a book in about 10 days and read 2-3 books per month by only focusing on 10% of the book per day. Still think you don’t have the time?
The most successful people on this planet read more books than the average person does per year. Reading is fundamentally, an essential part of knowledge and growth. As someone in a career position that I am in, reading is almost a necessity to ensure that I am constantly improving my craft and staying up to date with latest innovations.
TIME TO TAKE ACTION
Are you ready to step up your reading game? I am challenging you (and myself) to read more this year, averaging 2 books per month. By the end of 2019, you could potentially have read 20+ books! Can you imagine having read more than 2 books in a year, let alone 20?! So let’s get to the game plan.
Step 1: Create a list of books that interest you and that you want to put on your reading list. You can compile this list on a notepad or create a wishlist on Amazon (most of my book lists are done this way). I also like to download books of interest on my Audible account to see if it is something I might be interested in reading. I have purchased many books by listening to them first. I love audio books narrated by the authors themselves. I get a good feel for the author this way too.
Step 2: Set a time to read every day. Perhaps you are a morning person and have a little extra time in the morning to sit and read a portion of the book you chose. Maybe you are a night reader and prefer to relax and settle into a book before bed. Perhaps your optimal time to read is in between the chaos of life? Whatever the best time for you to read is, find it, commit to it, and begin reading. NOTE: Some people may find it easier to break down the 10% into smaller sections throughout they day. Maybe 5% in the morning and 5% in the evening works for your schedule too.
Step 3: Taking notes, especially for personal development books will help you to retain more of the information contained in the books. I cannot even begin to tell you the number of random notebooks with notes jotted down from reading. Note taking is a great idea for those, like myself, that want to retain more information. When you come across a point or idea in a book that resonates, make a note of it to help retain that information. It is a good practice to get into as well. You are, in essence, creating a Cliff Notes version of the book you just ready, tailored specifically to you. Coming back and reading the notes you took can also help to remind you of the important facets that you wanted to remember.
Now that you are ready to begin the challenge, I want to hold you accountable. Join us in my free community group on Facebook, the Brotherhood of Gentlemen, and share with the group which book you are currently reading. Start a discussion about the book, and what you have learned. Knowledge is power, gentlemen, and you have an abundance of knowledge available to you. Seize it.