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If You Want To Read More Books To Largely Improve Your Life, Learn These 4 Tricks

If You Want To Read More Books To Largely Improve Your Life, Learn These 4 Tricks

Entertaining, informational, and sometimes even funny, books can be the catalyst that changes your life. You can stack them up by your bedside, carry them around in your backpack, but they won’t part their pertinent information until you actually open them and start reading. Some people spend hours engrossed in the pages of a book, while others dread opening one. Your life will not change until you do, and to get that useful information downloaded into your brain, here are 4 tips suggested by Writer, Patrick Allen at Lifehacker[1] to help ease your way through reading.

4 Tips to Help You Read Better and Read More

Not everyone has the luxury of 5 spare hours to dedicate to reading, but the good news is that there are ways around that problem. However, before you invest in a speed reading course, this is not one of them! There’s no magic pill to swallow or formula to make you read faster- in fact, studies[2] show that increased speed reading decreases comprehension, but there are other proven ways that can help you read more and read better.

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1. Read in Intervals

When your book is fun or entertaining, it’s easy to read, but faced with a challenging text on understanding the stock market, the psychology of anything or the science of bees, keeping your focus on your book can prove to be an arduous task and your willpower breaks down fast. The trick is to read in 20-minute intervals and take 5-10 minute breaks between your reading sprints. Don’t sit and rest during these short breaks, but get up and move. It prevents you from falling asleep too if your book isn’t keeping you stimulated enough, and you have to face it, some books are just boring. Set a timer to help you stick to the intervals and be sure to remove all distractions.

Even the slightest distraction will draw you away from the page, so you must eliminate these temptations from the beginning. Turn off the television. Switch your phone to silent. Find a quiet place to read, far from everyone. A little corner of the library, outside under a tree, or a good place with bright lighting. If the noise around you is still too much, wear a pair of noise canceling headphones. But don’t make your little reading nook so comfortable that you are tempted to fall asleep!

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2. Use Audio Books

Yes, audio books are not actual reading, but they still get the information from the page to the inside of your head.  Audio books make the perfect alternative for the busy person who is always on the move. You can listen to them when you are jogging, driving your car, doing yard work or cleaning the house. How does it work? You can download an audio book app to your device, or alternately access audio books through iBooks or Kindle app. Plug some earbuds in and fire it up. Not all books are available in audio format, so double check before you commit your book report if your plan is to exercise your way through the book.

3. Use Your Phone

People naturally scoop up their phones these days. Sometimes it’s the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you touch before going to bed at night. Make this habit work for you by downloading your book onto your phone. And instead of scrolling through your Facebook feed or checking your likes on Instagram, open up your book on your phone and read. You were going to have that phone in your hand anyway!

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The beauty of reading on your phone is that you can adjust the font size and the brightness to better suit your eyes. Sometimes you can even change the font style to one that is easier to read. You can’t do that with a paperback!  However, some books may be difficult to find on your phone, like text books.

A great place to locate free classics is through Project Gutenberg[3], which offers over 53,000 free public domain books, which they have put into ebook format. Another often overlooked place to obtain ebooks from is through your local public library system. All you need is your library card since it’s free!

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4. Don’t Read Word by Word in Your Head

A final note on reading. Now that you’ve gotten the ball rolling, if you find yourself mouthing the words or reading them in your head- stop. Believe it or not, this practice does not benefit you and actually slows down your reading because your brain is concentrating on pronouncing the words, rather than just reading them. How many times have you looked at a word, known exactly what it was, or what it means in context, but when pronouncing it out loud, you get flustered or stumble over the syllables? You can always keep a pen and paper handy and jot down those incomprehensible words to look up later, but save the pronunciation for your next Toastmasters’ speech and concentrate on the gist of the words rather than each word separately.

If you find it too much of a challenge not to mouth the words, give your mouth a job to do. Chew some gum or ice. Eat a snack.

These 4 easy tips to follow will help you tackle your reading list, even if you have to rake the leaves or rush to the store for a gallon of milk. There’s a wealth of information in books just waiting to be discovered. What are you waiting for? Improve your life today.

Featured photo credit: Makunin via pixabay.com

Reference

[1] Lifehacker: How to Read an Entire Book in a Single Day
[2] PsychologicalScience.org: So Much to Read, So Little Time
[3] Project Gutenberg: Free E-Books

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Sally White

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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