How to Read One Book a Week

 

 

I love reading books and devour about 1-2 a week. I’ve been a self-studied, voracious learner my whole life and consider each author a mentor. I read about 60-70 books a year (I wrote about my 10 favorite books here) and want to share how I do it with you because I’m convinced your life will vastly improve if you self-care it up with continuous reading.

Wanna learn how to read 50-60 books a year? It’s really only about 25-40 pages a day (you can totally do that, right?). Here we go.

First, grab a book off your shelf that you Amazon Primed but haven’t gotten around to reading. Oh friend, I know you’ve got some. See this bookshelf?

 

About 25% of the books are waiting to be read. So grab your book, turn to the last page, and find how many pages there are. Let’s say there are 223 pages. At 25 pages a day, how many days will it take you to read this book? 9.

Did I need a calculator for that?

 

 

Now grab some small post-it notes (the tiny ones will work fine) and mark each page, 25 at a time, until you get to the last section of 25.

 

 

All my reading is now marked out for this book. This is how I get through my daily reading goals. If you can visually see the post-it note getting closer as you read, you’ll be less likely to “get bored” or distracted.

Let’s say you’re reading through a HUGE book like Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss. Instead of choosing page-per-day goals, how about reading five interviews at a time? That keeps the messages of the interviews cohesive and it’s a nice achievement to know you’ve read the best thoughts of 5 interesting people that day.

 

 

To make all your post-it edges nice and uniform, hold the post-it off the page by about 1/8″ and then press down with your thumb. I know, I know, this kind of thing makes me feel like I have some kind of control over my life.

 

 

I run into a lot of people who love the *idea* of reading books but have labeled themselves a bad reader. “I just can’t get through books,” they say. “I get distracted and never finish.” That’s because, beautiful brilliant person, your mind is EXTRA noisy. We all have noisy brains that are analyzing, conjecturing, judging, and commentating at all times, 24/7.

This happens when you read too! So there you are, reading along, and your brain is thinking OUT FRICKEN LOUD about everything it’s reading. Your noisy, super smart brain is also trying to “file” what its reading with patterns and experiences from your past. So reading a passage about vineyard keepers in Italy who have to shade the grapes so they don’t overripen reminds you of that time you and Serena went to Napa and THEY SAID THAT. They have to shade the grapes! I would never want to do that job, your minds thinks. Well, I *could* do that job if it was in Spain and it gave me 4 months off a year. I would quit my job in a hot minute.

And before you know it, you’re at the end of the page and you don’t know what you read.

Friend, this is ALL OF US. Don’t label yourself a bad reader. You have a normal condition called “brain chatter” and I have found the best way to settle my brain down and pay attention to the text is to simply acknowledge when my brain is being extra noisy and has lots to “say” about what it’s reading. I literally tell my brain to quiet down and let me read. I want to pay attention to what my mentor (the author) is saying and I look at it as a form of love and respect.

This also pops up when you are under stress or dealing with an emotional situation going on in your personal life. Because your brain is trying so hard to come up with solutions to what is upsetting you it’s talking REAL LOUD. It doesn’t care what your eyes are scanning. So this would be a moment of self-care to say, “Mind, I’m going to give you a 10-minute break from obsessing over this situation and we’re going to get into someone else’s world for a minute.” And then apply your mind to what you’re reading. If it wanders, just gently bring it back.

I also like to underline interesting passages, write notes in the margins, and journal about what I’ve read. Retention baby!

 

 
I have about 250 of those index cards that I shuffle through for inspiration. Lastly, I try to discuss what I’m reading with at least one friend a day. I really love having discussions where many ideas can get bounced around and practical application can rise to the surface. Summed up, here are my tips:
 


 
I hope you enjoyed this post! Setting daily goals for self-care, education, creating art, and making new friends has been a force of healing and growth in my life. If you need help getting your goals organized, I’m happy to help! I offer coaching sessions and an in-person One-Day Intensive. Check them out! xo

 

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Speaking of books…I wrote one!

 

 
If you like reading about love, relationships, and the vagaries of a life adventurously lived, you may enjoy my book, As I Live and Breathe. It’s a collection of my 25 best life lessons and most popular posts. DISCOVER THE BOOK: AS I LIVE AND BREATHE

 

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