The secret is a small steps approach to achieving your goal—commit to reading 15 minutes per day and in one year you will have read approximately 15 books. Maybe more. The average person reads 250-300 words per minute. At that speed you can read an average page in one and a half minutes and ten pages in 15 minutes. If the average book is around 200 pages you will complete a book every 20 days. Break it down into small steps like that and it’s 15 books in 15 minutes.
First, why would you want to read 15 books? Why not watch TV, interact on Facebook or Twitter, or go to the movies? There’s nothing wrong with those activities but they are no substitute for reading. Reading is one way to become an expert on a given topic. Reading allows you to stand on the shoulders of the giants in a given field and learn from their knowledge. It’s a way to discover new interests or get motivated about a cause in which you want to participate. It’s a means of stimulating your brain with new information to enable you to come up with more creative ideas. So start your clock and start reading.
Start with a plan. What do you like to read? What do you want to learn? Maybe you want to learn new skills for your career or expand your knowledge on your favorite hobby. There could be challenges you face and need insights in how to overcome those challenges. Take a trip to the bookstore, browse Amazon.com or visit the library. Create a list of the top 15 books you want to read. You’ll probably find many more than 15 but if you’ve only read 2 in the last year, 15 is a good place to start.
Set a time when you will read. The morning is a good time to read because it fuels your thinking for the day. Give your mind some new information to chew on and you create the conditions to produce new ideas. Some people don’t wake up until mid-morning so this might not be a good time for you. Reading at night can be a means to calm down after a hectic day. As you fall asleep thinking about what you just read the information settles into your subconscious and simmers through the night.
If either the morning or evening doesn’t appeal to you for a reading time, look at your schedule to see where you can carve out 15 minutes in a day. You may protest that you are just too busy but I would suggest that you can always find the time if you look hard enough or make some simple sacrifices. Do you really need to spend two to four hours per night watching TV? During your lunch hour, break away from your friends for 15 minutes to read. You don’t even have to read at the same time everyday. When you take your son or daughter to soccer practice take a book along while you wait. While in the waiting room at the doctor’s or dentist office, take your own book rather than thumb through a four month old copy of Good Housekeeping. Finding 15 minutes in your day is not that difficult and it’s certainly worth it.
Create a positive reading environment. There should be good lighting so it’s not a strain on your eyes. Minimize the distractions so you can get the full benefit from what you are reading. Barking dogs, screaming children, noisy lawnmowers and a TV in the background make it difficult to concentrate. A quiet place with a comfortable chair—not so comfortable that you will fall asleep—will make the reading experience much more pleasurable.
Keep a record of what you read. It’s very encouraging to go back and review all the books you have read. It will give you a sense of accomplishment and encouragement that you set a goal and stuck with it.
If you stick to this plan you will be one of the few in America who reads more that 2-3 books in a year. Take the challenge. You’ll feel so smart!