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How to Read More Books in 2019

Staying on top of your reading goals can be tough. With the hustle and bustle of every day, life can sometimes feel too chaotic to sit down and cozy up with a good book. Everyone claims they simply don't have enough time to do so and prefer skimming sentences instead of taking the time to read and digest what's in front of them.

But reading comes with tons of benefits. Studies from Cochrane Library and Fisher Center for Alzheimer's found that reading improves memory; further, for people with Alzheimer's, reading can delay progression of the disease.

Other benefits include stronger analytical and comprehension skills, better writing skills and an extensive vocabulary. These are all skills you need to succeed in the business world and to become a better business owner, and though you may lead a busy life, you should make time for what matters. Seeing things from a new perspective allows you to take the steps necessary to boost conversions and improve business.

If you're making an effort to read more books in 2019, here are three tips to help you reach your goal.

1. Be realistic about your goals

If you're just starting to commit to your reading journey, you have to be realistic about the amount of material you can consume in the beginning. If you've barely read any books for the past few years, it's best not to start a goal with 100 books to complete for the year. You'll feel overwhelmed and defeated before you've even begun, and this will prevent you from reaching any goal, big or small.

Segment your reading time step by step. Start by committing to 30-minute reading blocks each day. Find a time when you know you won't be distracted and stick to it. If you're someone who is constantly on the go, take a book with you everywhere. You'd be surprised at how much those tiny blocks of time interspersed throughout the day add up.

Once you've got a consistent rhythm going, increase your reading time to 45 minutes, then an hour. Once you've got this down, you can commit to a certain number of books per week or per month.

2. Read what interests you

We've all been there: We start reading a book we had high hopes for – perhaps a recommendation from a colleague or a New York Times bestseller – only to feel like we're soldiering through every page because we don't actually enjoy it. We want to but can't.

Rather than continue reading and hating the experience, try another read you think you might enjoy. Gretchen Rubin, writer and contributor to Harvard Business Review, suggests that putting down books you don't enjoy gives you more time to read books you will thoroughly enjoy.

By focusing on reading the content you want to consume, you pave the way for a positive reading experience and thus set yourself up for success to continue your reading journey. You'll no longer see it as a daunting task and, instead, will look forward to it.

3. Read physical books

Using an e-reader may seem more convenient than carrying around several books. However, a survey conducted at San Jose University found that readers don't read or comprehend as well when they use electronic devices as they do when they read a physical book. Readers are more likely to skim sentences on an e-reader or tablet.

We're so accustomed to consuming information electronically – articles, news, social media and more – that when we read a book in the same format, our brains automatically skim the content. But skimming doesn't work so well for books. Books don't always come with headers and subheaders for easy and fast consumption, because that's not how they're meant to be consumed.

With books, it's different. In order to get the whole experience, you need to read word for word and take in every bit of what's happening. Screens deter you from retaining information, so you end up getting less out of it than if you'd read a physical book.

Over to you

Sticking to a reading goal is harder than it sounds, especially if you aren't used to reading on a regular basis or you normally power through books you hate. If you want to be a better business leader, it's crucial you add reading to your everyday routine. It'll improve your brain power, create an enjoyable experience and teach you things you never knew before. How will you read more books in 2019?

McKinsey Insights & Publications
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