Every day, the world spins faster. We are showered with information from every direction. The urgent often takes precedence over the important. But even in this relentless cycle, the timeless ritual of reading deserves its due respect. This article explores three tried and tested strategies to increase your daily reading time, allowing you to dive deep into the depths of knowledge that books so generously offer.
Don’t Just Read — Make Reading a Ritual
Many of us are guilty of treating reading as an optional add-on to our day. But if we shift our perspective and treat it as a daily ritual — not unlike eating or sleeping — our approach would transform drastically. Rituals are not just acts; they are sacred customs. They are embedded in our daily lives and carry significance beyond the surface-level action.
Consider the example of Barack Obama, who despite the enormous pressures and demands of being President of the United States, carved out time every night for reading. His routine involved reading for an hour or so late at night after his work was done and his family was asleep. It wasn’t merely an act of reading; it was a ritual — a time to unwind, to gain perspective, and to transport himself into different worlds. This wasn’t just about finishing a certain number of pages or books; it was an integral part of his life.
Start by allocating a specific time in your day dedicated solely to reading. Set a physical space that signifies your reading zone, be it a cozy corner in your room or your favorite spot in a park. Infuse this space with elements that enhance your reading experience — a comfortable chair, soft lighting, or even a calming scent. The sensory elements help to embed the ritual deeper in your psyche.
Leverage Dead Time
No matter how organized we are, there are always fragments of time in our daily lives that seem to slip away — commuting to work, waiting for a doctor’s appointment, or the fifteen minutes before falling asleep. Instead of letting this time evaporate into nothingness, seize it as an opportunity to read.
Always keep a book with you — a physical one, an e-book on your device, or even an audiobook. Each idle moment can be transformed into a chance to delve into another world, learn something new, or broaden your perspective. Whether you’re traveling, waiting for a meeting, or just killing time, that book will serve you far better than scrolling social media.
Dive Deep, Not Wide
In the age of information overload, there’s a tendency to skim-read, to sprint across the surface of knowledge without delving into its depths. Resist this. Instead, read slowly, contemplate, engage with the text. This might seem contradictory to increasing your reading time, but the depth of reading directly impacts your reading desire.
The more intimately you connect with a book, the more you extract from it. And the more you extract, the stronger your hunger to read. And isn’t that the crux of the matter? Not just to increase reading time for the sake of it, but to foster a deeper, more meaningful relationship with the written word.
Make reading a ritual, leverage idle time, dive deeper not wider. Embrace books as companions for idle moments, and tools for lifelong learning.
To explore these ideas further, I highly recommend “Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World” by Cal Newport (Buy on Amazon). It delves into the power of intense focus and how to harness it in our increasingly distracted world. An engaging read, it provides practical strategies to eliminate distractions and dive deep into your work or reading.