In order to read a book every two weeks (and sometimes every week) I have had to make reading a practice that is incorporated throughout my day. Having a single time for reading isn’t enough and it has become a ritual I like to incorporate as many places as I can.
Each day is different, but I know I can count on a handful of repeated situations that allow me to read consistently.
Every morning, I get up at five, grab a shower, and make a hot breakfast for myself. This early breakfast always consists of two eggs fried in a cast iron skillet and a banana. While the skillet is warming up and the eggs are cooking, I read. When they are finished cooking, I read while I eat. This is easily the most reliable time I have for reading. It’s a relaxed, ritualistic, and energizing time that is perfect for creating motivation for the day ahead.
Whether it’s a few extra minutes before a meeting or a quick break between tasks, the transitional periods throughout the day serve as excellent times to grab a book. It may only be a single page, but one page here and there can add up quickly. The beauty of reclaiming these transitional times comes from what it replaces: social media and email checks. Instead of losing 10 minutes to cruising Twitter, I finish a chapter in my book.
I have started taking a book with me whenever I leave the house. I’m early to most meetings and often find myself waiting for others to show up. Having a book with me means I can get a few more pages read instead of perusing blog articles or email on my phone.
At the end of my workday, I go through an End Of Business ritual that helps me unwind and clear my head for spending time with my family. I have tried various tactics during this time, but I have found that learning is the best at hitting the brakes on my mental race car. And what better way to learn than to read? So I’ve made it a habit of reading for about 15 minutes before calling it a day.
The least reliable of my reading times is likely the most consistent for others. I am sporadic at reading before bed, but it is another time that is easy to take advantage of and turn a few pages in a book.
When I reflect on each of these scenarios I notice a recurring theme. In every instance, I have historically focused my eyes on a screen instead of a book. It’s easy to check my phone for a few minutes before bed or while I am eating breakfast. But if I pay attention to how I feel afterwards, I always prefer the feeling of accomplishment after having read a book to the feeling of inadequacy that comes from checking a screen.