Updated: Feb 15
In 2019 I decided to try again, and finished the challenge total of 52 in just 37 weeks. As various people along the way have said to me, how do you make time to read more?
Are there any secrets to it? There is a bit of background to this as there always is, but I'll keep these brief
1) Read first thing in the morning
To enable you to do this leave your phone out of the bedroom, and do not check your phone until you have read at least 1 chapter of your book. Sound harsh? There is some science to this as well.
It has been shown that viewing social media first thing in the morning can make you feel bad, overwhelmed & unhappy before you have even begun. Many productivity experts also believe that by diving into social media, or our own email inboxes first thing, we are allowing others to set our priorities for the day.
So unless there is a good reason not to do it, create an agenda that involves putting reading first in the morning, & then dive into your day feeling calmer & fortified with good mental energy.
2) Use a book the same way you would use your phone
I appreciate I sound somewhat anti social media which is odd for someone who works in Marketing, and Im not I promise. But think about how many times you pick up your phone in a day and just stare at it mindlessly. Now replace your phone with the book you are trying to read and you suddenly get through a whole lot more pages in a day. It does help if you are not reading a huge 600 pager of a book, maybe keep it to slim 200 pagers for the mobile reader :)
3) Read more than one book at a time
One way I have definitely read more is by having 2 or 3 books on the go at any one time. My logic is that you don't just watch one type of tv programme do you, if you were only allowed to watch soaps, or documentaries or the news you would soon feel really fed up and bored. So why do this with books? By keeping various books on the go, I definitely read more because I always had something I was in the mood for.
4) Go to the library regularly
I cant speak for you but the libraries I have access to are awesome, incredible places. I can often pick up brand new books within weeks of their publication dates. And they also have lots of great audio books too so if reading books is not your thing, then you can listen to them instead. Also by going to the library you will get into the rhythm of reading and returning, replenishing and reading again. Plus you will constantly be seeing new things that take your fancy and thus, yes you guessed it, you read more.
5) Talk about books with others
Whether you join a real life book club, or just join in hashtags that put you in touch with people who are reading on social media, talking about books with like minded people will inspire you and help you stay motivated.
I've saved the biggest till last and maybe 6 is a crappy number to finish on but oh well
6) Have a time of night that you put your phone out of sight and don't allow yourself back on it.
This has been a god send for me personally. Now I have another device in the lounge and if I want to listen to a podcast or look something up I don't have my social media accounts on it so no looking up a word and then finding myself dazed and confused after a 20 minute scroll for no good reason.
I hope this list helps you to read more personally! And finally if of interest here is a list of my 52 for 2019. I went on to read 103 in the end! Final round up here
My 52 books
1. The Travelling Bag - Susan Hill
2. Calm the F Down - Sarah Knight
3. The Chimp Paradox - Professor Steve Peters
4. How to Twitter for Business Success - Nicky Kriel
5. How to be a Productivity Ninja - Graham Allcott
6. In Praise of Wasting Time - Alan Lightman
7. This is going to hurt - Adam Kay
8. Elenor Oliphant is totally fine - Gaily Honeyman
9. Crushing It - Gary Vaynerchuk
10. The Power of Small - Linda Kaplan and Robin Koval
11. Talk Like TED - Carmine Gallo
12. Bloody Brilliant Women - Cathy Newman
13. Women and Power - Mary Beard
14. Getting to Yes - Roger Fisher and William Ury
15. Yes we can - A Biography of Barak Obama by Garen Thomas
16. Linchpin - Seth Godin
17. Talk Lean - Alan H Palmer
18. Becoming - Michelle Obama
19. Drive - Daniel H Pink
20. Winging It - Alex Jones
21. Braving the Wilderness - Brene Brown
22. Dad Life - Simon Hooper
23. The Self Discipline Handbook - Natalie Wise
24. Still Me -JoJo Moyes
25. Tribe of Mentors - Tim Ferris
26. Deep Work - Cal Newport
27. A Good Time to be A Girl - Helena Morrissey
28. The Freelance Mum - Annie Ridout
29. When - Daniel H Pink
30. Un*ck your Finances - Melissa Browne
31. How to Break up with Your Phone - Catherine Price
32. Big Ideas - Jonne Ceserani
33. Good to Great - Jim Collins
34. Stuffocation - James Wallman
35. Option B - Sheryl Sandburg & Adam Grant
36. Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell
37. Jog On - Bella Mackie
38. You are a Badass at Making Money - Jen Sincero
39. You, Your Child & School - Sir Ken Robinson
40. Notes on a Nervous Planet - Matt Haig
41. We are Displaced - Malala Yousafza
42. Shattered, Modern Motherhood & the Illusion of Equality - Rebecca Asher
43. Everything is F*cked - Mark Manson
44. Doctor Sleep - Stephen King
45. What Happened - Hilary Clinton
46. An Inconvenient Truth - Al Gore
47. No One is Too Small to Make a Difference - Greta Thunberg
48. How to Stop Brexit - Nick Clegg
49. Slay in Your Lane - Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebine
50. Tools of Titans
51.Whats your Excuse for Not Succeeding as an Artist - Debs Henry-Pollard
52. Of Women - Shami Chakrabarti
Audio Books listened to ( not counted in total)
Tony Blair - A Journey
Cal Newport - Digital Minimalism
Max McKeown - #Now: The Surprising Truth about the Power of Now
Would you like more help with your marketing? My new book is out now
If you would like a book of 100 Marketing Tips written just for small business owners then do have a look here. I wrote this book to be easy to read cover to cover or to be kept as a reference to dip in and out of!
Shona Chambers Marketing is a Marketing Agency based in SE London.
Specialising in helping Small Business Owners and Freelancers with their Marketing.