How to Read If You Hate Reading (or Can't Sit Down for 5 Minutes)
Hey, what’s up you all, this is Juan Cruz from Inerize and in this article we are going to explore how to read when you hate reading or can sit down for 5 minutes straight.
We have to be honest, reading in this day and age is hard. Books have to compete for our attention against videogames, Netflix and social media, and that’s an almost impossible task. Digital media offers constant stimuli, ever-changing environments, and real-time socializing while books… well… they don’t.
Reading is for the most part a lonely activity, there are no notifications or surprises, and it’s only you and a hundred black pages with thousands of words written on it. It doesn’t sound like much fun, right?
Ironically, there is where we can find the whole of human thought that has been developing for thousands of years. We can learn from everyone, from ancient Greek philosophers like Plato to modern financial gurus like Robert Kiyosaki. There’s so much life-changing knowledge about literally everything contained in them that it is impossible to comprehend unless we give it a try.
So, the question is, how to get going with one of the most important habits you can implement although it almost impossible for most of us mortals.
Let me give you a few tips…
Tip #1: Start Small
If you are, like me, a pretty anxious and impatient person, you probably want to go all in, devouring a book a week, an hour a day, non-stop. But this, and I can tell from personal experience, would be a huge mistake.
Just like any other habit, reading takes time and effort to develop. Going all in from the beginning will likely make you quit after a few days or weeks since your brain is not ready for an hour-long session.
Instead, start small – as small as you want. It can be 1 page or 5 pages a day. The idea is to get the ball rolling and make it impossible for you to miss a day. If you feel like reading more than that in a particular day, definitely go for it.
With time, your brain will start to get used to it and you’ll be able to read for longer without getting distracted.
Tip #2: Choose Easy to Read Books
In the beginning of your reading journey, choose books that are easy to read. Trying to start with complicated and long books like Meditations from Marcus Aurelius or Sapiens, a book summarizing the history of humankind, might be the wrong choice. Although they are very useful and entertaining, they can tire you and not help if you are only a few days into the habit.
Comics, manga, and short fiction stories are a great way to start since they are quick to read, captivating, and tend to avoid overly-complicated vocabulary. I personally love manga since drawings make it very enjoyable and the stories are well developed. My favorites are Naruto, One Piece, My Hero Academia, and, of course, Attack on Titan.
If you are more into fiction, a great way to choose books you’ll for sure like is to check if any of your favorite movies were based on books and explore what the author has to offer. This has worked very well for me in the past, so I definitely recommend it.
Tip #3: Read in the Morning
Concentration and self-discipline, two very important factors in the development of the habit of reading, behave just like an electric battery. They are charged when you sleep and by the time you wake up, they are in their highest level. As the day goes by and you work or study, your reservoir of focus and self-control slowly depletes until you go to sleep and the cycle starts again.
That’s the reason why it’s easier to stick to a diet in the morning than in the afternoon, and it’s the same reason why it’s easier to read in the morning than later in the day.
By implementing reading as one of the first things you do after waking up, your focus will be on point and you will be less likely to wander off or choose to watch TV instead.
As a side note, also avoid using your phone before reading. Internet will literally rewire your brain and make you addicted to stimulus, which in turn will diminish your capacity to concentrate for long periods of time and, therefore, read.
Tip #4: Follow Your Interests (and Needs)
Don’t pay attention to YouTubers like this guy that tell you what you should read. At the end of the day, it’s your life and your time. Read whatever you want and that catches your attention. If you want to learn more about Artificial Intelligence, or economy, or math, or philosophy or history, go for it. A quick search in Amazon, YouTube, or Google should give you the best books available in the topic.
Also, follow your needs. If you want to be financially free, look for financial advice books. If you want to be a better speaker, go for books on the topic.
Books are the best way to learn since they are extremely cheap considering the amount of knowledge they offer.
Tip #5: Stick with it
The final piece of advice I want to give is to just stick with it. There will be days that are going to be hard. You will not want to sit down and will prefer to watch tv and play videogames. And that’s completely natural. But still, try reading for at least 5 minutes, 1 page only. Build that self-discipline muscle and it will pay big time in the future.
Even if you quit for a few days, weeks or months, remember to come back. Reading is one of the most important things you can do to improve your life and learning is the most entertaining activity you’ll ever experience once you taste it for the first time.
After a dozen books, you will want to learn about everything and the snowball will get bigger and bigger with time.
So, that’s it. Those were my 4 tips on how to start reading when you hate it or just can’t sit down. To summarize:
- Start small and with easy books
- Read in the morning
- Follow your interests and needs
- Stick with it
If you follow these steps, I can assure you, in a few months you’ll be easily reading 30 minutes every day or more. Obviously, it takes time for your brain to rewire and strengthen your concentration muscle, but if you stick with it, it will eventually happen.
See you soon!
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