Reading More Without Living Less

Reading More Without Living Less: Give Yourself Time

October 17, 2012

We live in a world of hurry, and that can sense of hurry can flow into every aspect of our lives. It’s easy to see many areas of life we wish to improve, and then set about to do so only to find ourselves frustrated and discouraged that we don’t seem to be making progress. Trying to read more is certainly no exception.

If you’re trying to read more, give yourself time. 

1. Give yourself time to get into a book.

Did you pick up a book you thought would be fascinating, but it’s not quite what you hoped for? Give yourself time to get into the book. You don’t have to finish every book you start, but it may turn out that it takes a little longer to become fully engaged with the book. Read a little more, skim over the table of contents and chapter highlights, and consider that it might be worth your time after all.

This happens to me on occasion. Sometimes I start a book without really knowing much about it, and it may take me a couple of chapters to really catch what is going on. Sometimes it happens even with books that I think I know what the entirety of it will be about, but I struggle to maintain interest. I’ve found that if I stick with it a little longer, I usually have a clearer sense as to whether or not I should drop the book altogether, or I find myself wishing the book would never end.

2. Give yourself time to see your reading increase.

You might be tempted to ditch life and try to read as many books as possible all at once. This will likely backfire, and you’ll be quickly overwhelmed — sort of like if you try to sprint the first part of a marathon. Increasing your reading may be a more gradual process than you expected. And that’s okay.

The healthiest way to lose weight/live a healthy lifestyle is to focus on both eating well and exercising properly. But it can be discouraging when you aren’t dropping 5 or 6 pounds per week. But at the end of the month, after working day after day, you’ll probably see progress. What’s most important, of course, is creating a healthy lifestyle, rather than losing as much weight as quickly as possible. Likewise with reading, what is more important than reading as many books as fast as you can to check them off of a list…is that you cultivate a healthy intake of reading and knowledge.

Look at the big picture you’re after, and keep on pressing on a little bit longer.

3. Give yourself time to see the connections.

Cross-pollination with reading will happen once you begin to read broadly, read across genres, and read within a variety of fields. But it might not happen after reading just two more books. Wait for it. Make the connections where you can, and eventually they will start to jump out of books left and right as you read (which will make you want to read more).

4. Give yourself time to reflect on what you’ve read.

While I’ve recommended having another book to begin once finishing another, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take time to reflect and record thoughts upon finishing a book. Depending on what you’ve just read, it may be as simple as writing down a few sentences to summarize the book, or it may be good to not read anything for several days and just let the thoughts sink in.

Take breaks; your brain needs them, too.

What hangups do you find yourself having with reading? Where do you have to remind yourself to “take time?”

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  • Kristen @ Joyfullythriving October 17, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Yes! Once again, you nailed it. Like you said, when you start a book that you don’t know much about, I especially need to give it time. Well said!

    • Keren October 18, 2012 at 9:41 pm

      Yes, that one is big for me!

  • Sheila @ The Deliberate Reader October 20, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    I find that when I’m first starting a book I may need to be more careful about when I’m reading it. What I mean is, if I’m trying to squeeze in a few minutes of reading while being interrupted every other paragraph by small children, it’s probably not the time to try and dive into an unfamiliar book. Once I’m rolling along in a book I seem to be able to manage interruptions to my reading a lot better (obviously not with some types of books).

    I get into trouble when I try and start a book just enough to get established in it, say before traveling or something where I know I’ll have more trouble concentrating, and the book ends up being so compelling I can’t put it down. And then the night before leaving I’ve stayed up until 3 and am exhausted, and have finished one of the books that was supposed to keep me company on my trip.

    Or maybe that’s just me. 🙂

    • Keren October 24, 2012 at 11:26 pm

      Good points.

      Nope, not just you. Just you and me? Probably not that, either. 😉