Hey! Welcoming Taylor back for another post- this time, she’s talking about how to be a more productive reader. Check out her first post here too.
Our world is full of books, millions upon millions of pages to read. But with all of our responsibilities, whether it be school or work or both, it can be difficult to find time to reduce our TBR (to-be-read) stack. Especially for us readers who are constantly scouting out bookstores and websites for sales, which ends with us juggling several new books. Then our TBR pile is even bigger, but we still can’t quite find the time to read these stories.
After about one and one-half years of reading, I have discovered methods to read my books between the chaos of life. I may not have many years of reading, but I’ve already read 120+ books, with the addition of balancing school and writing a book of my own. Considering my other duties, I would say that’s a fair number. So I’m here to share my techniques of being a productive reader.
- Set the mood.
For me, setting the mood to read is an easy process that involves my speaker rolling out instrumental tunes, a “do not disturb” sign hanging on my doorknob, and possibly a cup of steaming rose petal tea.
If you prefer to read in peace, like me, and you’re having trouble finding a quiet space, try wearing headphones. You could simply use them to tune out the noise or turn on music to fill your head with new sounds. I find instrumental music is not only relaxing, but it helps me focus, especially if the tune matches the genre of the book.
In order to sit down and absorb the story in front of you, it’s important to do whatever it takes to make yourself comfortable and relaxed. Think of the things that put your heart at ease and soothe your mind. Whether it be music or a drink or a certain environment, place yourself there and allow your mind to relax. This brings me to my next point.
- Find a place to read.
Discovering the proper place to read fits into the theme of setting the mood. It can be difficult to delve into the world in your hands if you’re not comfortable. You want to find a spot to be warm and content, where you can really focus on the words in front of you.
I also recommend having a designated place (or places) to read. By doing this, you train your mind that you’re going to sit down and read, which may help alleviate any scattered thoughts. It’s similar to falling asleep, when you fall into bed, your mind tries to prepare itself for sleep.
I have two usual places to read: my futon or my bed. My futon is my number one place to sit down and read. I occasionally watch films and television here as well, but for the most part, it’s my reading haven. I try to only read in bed during the morning, after I just wake up. Otherwise, my mind will try to convince my body that it needs sleep. So you can usually find me curled up with a book on my futon, a blanket on my lap and a cup of tea on my ottoman.
- Read more than one book at a time.
Okay, not that many. But I’ve found that reading multiple books at a time leads to a more enjoyable and quicker experience. I tend to read about two to three books and alternate throughout the day. I find that this keeps me both entertained and more productive. Instead of trying to finish one book at once, I can usually finish about three books around the same time. This is a massive help in chipping away at my stack of 80+ books in my TBR. (It still keeps growing; I need help.)
I know this may sound intimidating, because I used to think the same thing. Before, I believed that reading multiple books at a time would leave me confused and unable to grasp onto all of these stories. Once my TBR pile started growing, I knew something had to change, which is when I started reading two books at once. I found that as long as the books aren’t too similar in genres (like epic-fantasy or science-fiction), it’s not much of a difficult task. Since then, I’ve been reading three books at a time, and some even sit in the same genres.
This is certainly something that is a matter of practice, of being able to immerse yourself in multiple words without tangling them together. But with enough patience and practice, you can learn to read multiple books at a time. If you do this, you’re likely to see a massive increase in the amount of books you read.
Well, these are all of my tips in being a productive reader. What are your tips in being a focused and productive reader? I would love to hear what methods other readers use for themselves. -Taylor
Thanks for sharing, Taylor! Find Taylor on her instagram (@taylormaemarie_).