From the time we’re young, we’re told how important reading is. “Readers are leaders” is what we’re told. If you have children, you’ve likely had it drilled into you how important it is to read to your children. Many women I’ve talked to have told me they wish they had more time to read. Do you wish you read more books?
After nursing school, I didn’t touch a book for years. After all, I’d read (quite literally) thousands of pages about anatomy, pathophysiology, and many more ologies for that matter. Even though I was interested in the subjects I was learning about, I was burned out from reading.
Not to mention, I had my first baby within 2 months from graduating nursing school, and who has time to read with a newborn and a new job on their plate? Certainly not me.
Although I found the time for an occasional book, I found it very difficult to get through anything more than a short personal development book, and I honestly thought fiction was a waste of time at that point too.
Once my baby hit a certain age, I found I was drawn to podcasts. They were a very new thing at that point, but I found myself listening to podcasts throughout the day when I needed some adult conversation and stimulation. Let me share with you how this soon turned into a voracious appetite for reading and now read 10 books (or more) each month.
Keep a List of Books to Read
The most important thing you can do if you want to read more books it to keep a list. I’ve gotten to the point where I actually keep roughly 9 lists of books to read and rotate through them depending on my goals, what I feel like reading, or what I’m struggling with at the time. my lists include:
- Personal Development
- For the kids
A reading subscription such as Scribd will allow you to keep many lists and save books (or audiobooks) that you want to read on these lists. This makes it easy to always find something that you’d like to read and in turn will help you to read more books.
How to Read
I think one reason that I didn’t enjoy reading much in school as a child is because I am a kinesthetic learner, and I have a hard time sitting still, focusing, and actually absorbing what I read.
Then, as a new mom, I also had a hard time sitting for any length of time to get into and focus on a book. I could read a page here and there, but would often have to go back and re-read pages or sections of a book because I just don’t absorb it well.
When audiobooks became a thing, I found that I could “read” often throughout the day. And because my hands were busy (hello kinesthetic learner), I could actually absorb what I was listening to as well.
Often when driving by a certain place, or folding a certain pair of pants, I remember a bit of a book that really had an impact on me. Because my hands were busy when I was listening, it stuck with me.
When I mention audiobooks to other readers, they often say that they can read much faster than an audiobook, but the amazing thing about technology is that audiobooks can be sped up! I usually prefer to listen at 1.5x speed, but some people even listen at 2x speed, which really helps to fly through books as well.
Once in awhile, there will be a narrator that I don’t really care for, but those are few and far between.
And yes, audiobooks completely count for reading. Whenever someone tells me that audiobooks don’t count, I ask how many books they’ve read that month. It’s usually around 2-3 at most. When I tell them I average 10-15 books/month, they are often shocked and back off on that “argument” real quick!
There are also some free services through the library such as Libby or Hoopla that offer digital books and audiobooks. But, I find that I often have to wait quite awhile for books that I’d like to read. I also haven’t found a good way to keep a list like I can in Scribd, but there’s the ability to tag books in there.
When to Read
Some of the times I’ve found to sneak in listening to a chapter or two are:
- Taking the dog for a walk
- At the park or pool while the kids are playing (and I can still keep an eye on them!)
- During daily chores: while washing dishes, cleaning, folding laundry, etc.
- While running errands and grocery shopping
- During a road trip
- While winding down before bed
To listen throughout the day, I use this pair of bone-conduction headphones that my husband splurged on for a Christmas gift (which I would highly recommend)! The microphone and noise canceling is great on them as well. They are popular among runners because your ears are open so you can still hear what’s going on around you – even though sometimes I wish I couldn’t hear my name being called all the time!
I’ve also used this pair of bluetooth earbuds in the past. I prefer to just have one in at a time, again so I can hear what’s going on around me. That also leaves one charged at all times too. Although the call quality is not that great on these, that wasn’t my intent in using them and they’ve held up well for the price.
Even my children have turned into audiobook junkies and will often listen to a book throughout the day or while going to sleep at night too. It seems to calm their hearts and minds as they drift off to the land of nod. We also often listen to an audiobook or Adventures in Odyssey when we’re driving as it seems to help out with the “she’s looking at me” arguments.
Reading more is really just a matter of strategizing, and then figuring out which way you read (and absorb) best. If you aren’t reading any books right now, don’t try to dive in and read 10 this month either. Set out to increase by 1 book per month until you’ve found what works best for you and the pace you’re comfortable going.