How To Read More Books And Take A Digital Detox (+ Download My Reading List!)
As I sit down to write this post, I can't help but think what a funny thing it is for an online blogger to encourage peers and fellow Creatives to ditch their online browsing all in the name of fiction novels and personal development readings.
I mean, as we speak - you're diving into the some hopefully helpful content that's going to try and persuade you to put the phone down and pick up a paperback. So what's really all the harm with a little digital binge session?
In 2018, I made it a goal to read more and be online less. And when I say read more I mean 36 books more and hopefully work my way through the entire Bible. It's not that online reading is a BAD thing. In fact, I have a full list of binge-worthy blogs that I love to keep up with on a regular basis.
It's more a matter of where that blog reading LEADS to.
Investing time in informational and to put it simply "fun and relaxing" blog content is completely harmless. What I fear, is where my time and mind wanders when the blog post is read and I'm still perusing the internet, one quick finger swipe at a time.
How much of our days are we sinking into online browsing rather than into our business or our lives? In 2017, I had to finally admit to myself the embarrassing and harsh reality that my web browsing and Instagram scrolling was REALLY cutting into my productivity.
And now you may be wondering how trading screen time for a novel increases productivity. Well, I don't know about you but for starters, I feel much more productive investing my time into a good novel or an educational book rather than mindlessly scrolling the world wide web. Second, studies have shown that reading (something other than the internet) helps to reduce stress, improve focus, and boost creativity and productivity.
So where to start?
Create A Plan
If there is ONE thing I have learned from setting goals, it's that a goal without a plan is just a wish. Don't spend your days, wishing you would read more as you make your 100th move to check Facebook. Sit down and create a realistic goal for how many books you want to read in a month or a year.
Then, hop on over to Goodreads and browse some top reading material so that you can start out with a book that you enjoy. Goodreads is a great place to start to find recommendations, read reviews and create your wish list of books.
Good leaders read. If you want to know what books are worth investing your time and energy in, simply ask. Ask someone who you look up to if they read and if they have any recommendations to send your way.
These days, I rarely pick up a book UNLESS it was recommended. There are so many books available and I love knowing that I'm investing my time into something worthwhile. On that note, I'm always happy to share a good book with a friend and you can find my Trello 2018 Reading List below!
MY FREE JK READS TRELLO BOARD FOR 2018!
Want to copy the board to your own Trello account? Open the Board > Scroll to the far right > Click Menu > Show More > Copy Board.
Set Aside Time
Simply making out a list of books won't do when you have a big goal like this one. You need to be purposeful in setting aside time to read, and focus on the words before you.
I love to invest 15 minutes into my daily Bible reading first thing in the morning. My Bible App is stored on my Kindle reader, so I grab it first thing as I hop out of bed each morning and pull of my daily reading. I use the app "Bible Study" and am currently following the NLT one-year plan.
I also make a point to put down my phone while I'm eating lunch and instead pick up a book. It's an easy way to sneak in 15-20 minutes of my current personal development book and allows for a little break in my work day. I choose not to read my current fiction novel at this time, because I often have a hard time putting it down!
Finally, each evening I spend anywhere from 30-60 minutes reading in my fiction novel. I plug my phone for the night in our bathroom, out of sight out of mind, and again pick up my Kindle and immerse myself into the current fairytale, mystery, or romance of that week.
Weekends are for personal time, getting things done around the house, visiting with family & friends, and investing time in my own hobbies. But if it's a slow weekend or a work weekend for Zach, I may spend a good portion of nap time catching up on some reading!
Oh and that whole digital detox thing? Every time I find myself reaching for my phone? I pick up my book instead. Five minutes of mindless browsing traded in for a few extra pages of my current book.
Keep It Simple
We often way over complicate our goals and it's the one thing that keeps us from accomplishing them. Reading should be relaxing and enjoyable - not an added stressor to life.
- If I don't like a book, I don't finish it. I have forced myself to the end of way too many books only to finally learn that if I don't love it within the first 100 pages, I'm probably not going to.
- I make my books easily accessible. For the LONGEST time, I swore off of e-readers. I absolutely love having a real, page turning book in my hand and think there's almost something more magical about a book coming to life on the pages of paper. But life, being what it is, I have found that it's easiest for me to start, read, and finish a book if I can read it on an easily accessible medium and have learned to love my e-reader for that sole purpose.
- I keep the costs down. Budgeting $60/month for books can be a challenge. If you don't want to purchase every book you read, visit your local library. Not only will you have easy access to a plethora of books for free, it also keeps you accountable to read and return on time! Another plus of the e-reader, Kindle books are usually about half the cost of paperback.
- I read a variety. Fiction, faith, marriage, personal development - you name it. They are all on the list! I add a large variety of books into my schedule to make it interesting, and diversify my selection!
- I make time even when there isn't any. Last year was the first year that I started listening to Audiobooks and I must admit, I fell in love. I spend a LOT of time editing throughout the Spring and Fall and listening to Audiobooks is the perfect way to add some reading to my day, while still accomplishing my work! Listen to books during your commute, while you wash dishes, fold laundry, etc.
And there you have it! Remember - snag my 2018 reading list and leave me a comment to share your reading goal and any current book faves!