No Time to Read
Continuing my series on the Miracle Morning SAVERS (the things that get me out of bed in the morning and help me start my day in the best way) I'm going to touch on the R in SAVERS today. The R stands for one of my favorite activities: READING.
Now if you're groaning and rolling your eyes right now, telling me you'd rather wait for the movie, I will admit I can't make you love reading if you don't want to. But I think I can make a case for why you may want to make time for it. I don't really need to cite research to prove that reading is good for us as that has been well established. (Right? I mean who's arguing about that? No one. Except maybe my 16 yr old who told me today that it's probably my fault he hates to read, because he has a suspicion I did not do the required 15 minutes of reading aloud with him during his elementary school days. Here's ten bucks toward future therapy sessions, son.) But seriously, I've never heard anyone say reading makes them dumber.
But from those I know who don't read much, I hear things like, "I wish I had time to read." Or, "I read too slow." Or, "I try to read before bed but I always fall asleep." So whether your lack of reading is a time issue, a speed issue, or a time-of-day issue, I just wanted to offer a suggestion as to how you can make reading a more regular part of your day, week & year.
I've always made time to read fiction at night because that is my entertainment. I'd rather read a good novel than watch a good TV show on most days (except when I'm sick..then it's Netflix Binge Time). But non-fiction—while I love to learn new things and read inspiring stories—I've traditionally had at least five (okay, ten) non-fiction books going at a time, all in various states of unfinished. I found it really hard to make time for a non-fiction book unless I REALLY loved it. Like the few authors who manage to combine serious, interesting subjects with pee-your-pants humor and a healthy dose of, "I hear ya" head-nodding (Jen Hatmaker and Jon Acuff, I'm looking at you)—those I can finish off in a day or two. But anything else? It found its way to the dusty pile of half-read books by my bedside.
I'm using past tense there because I've finally figured out how to get through that dusty book graveyard. I use my alarm clock. (Revolutionary, I know.) Just getting up a little earlier allows me time to set aside twenty minutes a day for non-fiction reading. That might not sound like much but it adds up. If you did that five days a week for 50 weeks a year, you'd have over 80 hours of reading time. The average reading time of a non-fiction book is around 3 hours (yes I did some research to come up with that number but I'm not going to bore you with it. Just trust me, k?) but lets say you read slowly so it takes you four hours per book. That's still 20 books a year!
Why would you want to read 20 books per year? You might not. But even just reading one non-fiction book per month will change your life. I know that sounds over the top. I don't think it is. Reading non-fiction is inspiring, motivating, educational and practical. Depending on the books you choose, you can learn new skills or be motivated to start a new business. You can learn from like-minded people or be stretched by a new point of view. You can be encouraged to find out you're not alone or you can be inspired to make a leap of faith. So much can start within the pages of a good book.
Because reading is such a huge part of my life, I'm going to start writing short reviews on some of my favorite books and putting those in the Library section of my website. For now, I'm just listing titles and links; descriptions are forthcoming. But here I'll just mention two books by the authors I mentioned above: Jen Hatmaker's Of Mess & Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of this Wild and Glorious Life and Jon Acuff's Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done, are two of my recent favs.
I'm also going to do a count up of non-fiction books I read throughout this year. I'm a fast reader so I'm shooting for twenty. But I'd like to put out an official challenge to read ten non-fiction books this year. That's just a little over one per month for the rest of the year. How about it? Wanna join me? Let me know in the comments how many non-fiction books you're going to read this year. I'll do a follow up at the end of the year and if you take the challenge, I'll interview you for that post.
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