Reading books is important for numerous reasons. It makes us smarter, helps us to relax, guides us through all sorts of interesting discoveries, and shows us opportunities for personal growth. There’s one problem though: we don’t have time for reading books. Or, do we?
Last edited: April 10, 2015
Despite the enjoyment and knowledge that reading books brings, most of us don’t read as often as we’d like to.
We love to read, but mostly when we have plenty of free time, like on a holiday. And the books that we don’t manage to read on the beach? “Well”, we say, “we’ll get to those once we retire”.
There’s no reason to wait that long though. You can easily create more time for reading, just today.
Consider the following: “I don’t have the time to exercise on Friday evenings, but I do have the time to go drinking sake bombs with my friends.” Does this sound familiar?
Making more time for reading is like making time for anything else, and quite boringly, a matter of setting priorities.
Or, to put it somewhat more interestingly, about not doing something else and reading instead.
The easiest way to make more time for reading books is by stopping to read, watch and breathe crap. This is how you do it.
1. Stop watching cable
Watching television is a waste of time. If you want to see a movie or documentary, go to the cinema or use your computer to do so.
2. Stop following the news (online and offline)
Believe me when I tell you that you won’t miss a thing. Furthermore, if something “really” important happens in the world, it’ll get to you–I promise.
3. Stop reading gossip tabloids
Why do you even even care?
4. Stop using your personal Facebook account
It’s really just a gossip tabloid in disguise.
While we’re at it, stop using all other social media channels to maintain close personal relationships too. All you’re doing is checking up on people.
Keep in touch with your family and few important friends through WhatsApp, Viber or Skype.
And be sure to know that if anything funny or important happens in the lives of the people you care about, it’ll get to you whether you’re on Instagram or not.
Let’s be honest now: finding more time for reading is easy. You didn’t need to read any of this to know that. So, why then do we still struggle to make time to read a book?
Well, when you read a book, you can’t do anything else. You can’t even wiggle your toes without getting distracted. Reading requires you to be focused.
However, watching a couple of episodes of “House of Cards”; browsing through your status updates; handing out a few likes on Instagram and letting the world know what you’re up to in less than 140 characters, doesn’t require that much of concentration at all.
Actually, you can do all of those things, more or less, simultaneously—and wiggle your toes. But in order to read a book, you need to stop doing everything else and be present.
So, you see, it’s not so much about not having enough time to read nor is it about not knowing how to create more time for reading.
It’s that delving into nonsense from the web requires less focus, and thus less effort, than reading a book does. And, we naturally pick less effort over more effort.
However, from all the activities mentioned, only reading quality material (no, not even drinking sake bombs) will get you to self-reflect (in the right away), to be more present, to truly relax and to learn something valuable along the way.
By cutting myself off from a constant flow of (useless) information, I’ve been able to swap worthless noise for inspiring books in a heartbeat. (Related reading: What Mirha Masala Reads and Some)
It’s been almost ten years now since I threw out my television and stopped reading newspapers. More than a year ago, I stopped using my personal Facebook account.
Nowadays, I only use my social accounts for business purposes and to follow interesting individuals and companies. And, I rarely browse the net without a clear goal.
Making these changes has had an impact on my life as a whole. Not only am I getting smarter with each book that I read, I now also make more conscious decisions about what I spend my time on, and as a result of this, my mind is calmer and clearer.
Cutting down on your daily nonsense-information intake is like following a minimalistic lifestyle for the mind. Somewhat strange in the beginning, but after a while, you’ll wonder how you ever managed to live with all that crap in your life.
Tell me what you think. Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (links match discussion pages for this post) and let me know: How much do you read on daily or weekly basis? Do you have a trick for creating more time to read?
It was after reading “Chapter 6: The Low-Information Diet – Cultivating Selective Ignorance” in Timothy Ferriss’ bestseller “The 4-Hour Workweek” that I felt reassured about my decision to not follow the news–even when I was studying European Studies (think, lots of politics) at university.