All of us are locked down for the next 21 days. Most of the things we usually do have been taken away. It includes going to the gym, your workplace, educational institution etc. With that not part of your daily routine, you’re left with a whole lot of idle time that you maybe had the last time you experienced a long summer vacation in school.
A lot of your daily routine may be still functional, such as online classes or doing your work from your home, there still is a lot of time available. While it is enticing to spend that time lazing around, sleeping or sitting in front of Netflix, 21 days is a long time. Maybe it’s a perfect time or you to learn something that you’ve always wanted but never had the time for? A hobby, a skill, a language? If ever you could do that, it’s right now.
One of the most common resolutions out there is the one to read more. However, just like most new habits, it can become difficult to keep up with being a regular reader. So let’s look at what all you need to develop a reading habit
Set Time To Practice Your Reading Habit
If you’re looking to build a reading habit, the schedule is everything. If reading is something that’s not in your daily routine, you’ll always find yourself favouring something else over it. The first thing that you need to do to inculcate a reading habit is to set a time. For starters, set a target that you know you can easily follow. For example, you can decide that you’ll read for 10 minutes at a stretch. Then create mental associations in your daily routine where you can read. This could range from reading for the stipulated time in the morning with your coffee, at night before your bed or even each time you go to the washroom! By doing this, you’ll make sure that you have multiple small reading sessions throughout the day without much effort.
Reduce Your Screen Time
We all know that the most loyal partner these days is our screen. Whether that’s your phone screen, your laptop or even your home TV, the amount of time we spend in front of a screen is truly mind-boggling. A study recently found out that 87% of children spend too much time on screens, and frankly that’s true for most adults as well. One way to read more is to substitute that habit with your existing screen time. Set a healthy target screen time, and substitute the rest with reading. For example, if you watch 2 episodes of your favourite show on Netflix daily, cut that down to one and use the remaining time to read. Do this effectively and this could practically create hours of book reading time you never knew you had!
Begin With Topics That Interest You!
Many people take up reading to gain knowledge about things they don’t usually know. This could range from science, history to politics etc. However, a rookie mistake most people make is that they pick something entirely out of their comfort zone when they begin to read. This makes it even difficult to develop a reading habit, as you’re overburdening your brain with new activity as well as giving it the information it’s not used to receiving. As a result, many new readers get bored with the book in the first week and then never go back to reading it. So if you’re thinking of picking a reading habit while in lockdown, begin with reading material you’re already aware of and interests you. IT could be as simple as a sports article, or a movie review in an entertainment magazine. Once you’ve developed the habit, move onto other genres at your own pace to ensure you don’t leave them midway.
Get a Reading Partner
One of the best ways to do something effectively and consistently is to have accountability for your actions. Making sure there is someone to check up on your progress. Join a book club or read the same book with a partner. Book clubs generally meet weekly to discuss the suggested read. This actually may make you read that book instead of procrastinating about it. Similarly, the thought of meeting your friend and discussing the new book may be just the push you need to develop a reading habit
Read With A Pencil To Develop a Reading Habit
This may be a left-field way to make you read, but it’s known to work. Remember how you were taught to read in your childhood you were used to reading each line aloud and trace it with your hand? Well, this is somewhat similar to that, except we’ll be using a pencil for now. So pick up a pencil and use it to make notes, underline the things that you like, the paragraphs that you find interesting etc. draw a box on a paragraph that you find interesting or mark out quotes that inspire you. While this certainly seems like a tedious task and may give you the perception that you’re studying for an exam it’s really not that. It will lead you to be more engaged with the material that you’re reading while at the same time building a better long term memory. All this contributes to a more satisfying experience of reading, which may lead you to follow through on that reading habit.
Practising these tips and incorporating them in your daily routine may actually lead you to finally develop that reading habit. If you have any other tips as well, let us know in the comments section below!